We met Ashleigh through one of our good friends in Newcastle. It was clear she was an extremely creative and passionate person. We are so happy to share her new label 'A light by which to dance' launched in Melbourne and a bit of her background with you. All photography is by Nicky Akehurst, Colleen Hoad, Anne Marie De Boni and Jared Campbell. Hair and makeup by Helena Smythe and Sarah Bacon. We also provide links to view and purchase her amazing garments through her Facebook page and her Etsy shop.
ROAR: When we first met you in Newcastle it was evident how creative and passionate you were about design. Tell us about how this love for creativity was instilled in you?
Ashleigh: I have floated around a bit in the past 8 years, between Newcastle, Byron Bay, overseas and now Melbourne. The people that I have met in this time, the artists, the travellers, the gypsies, the story tellers were all wonderful inspiration. The guidance and encouragement that we share with one another fed my desire for creating and designing.
The process of dressing myself in the morning involved putting on a layer of clothing, if I didn't like it I would cut it to make it work with my next layer. I found myself doing this on almost a daily basis and my off cuts and half pieces of clothing began to grow larger and larger. At that time my ability to sew was not one of my strong points, after attaining my first sewing machine, my urge to learn about sewing and the construction process became an aspiration of mine.
ROAR: Can you give us a little background into what it takes to start your own clothing label and what courses you have undertaken to help you along the way?
Ashleigh: After finishing my Diploma of Fashion Design and Technology in 2012 I continued to design, pattern make and create. I had a few bucks in my pocket from making coffee which enabled me to carefully source fabrics to begin creating my first collection. I built myself a studio at home and purchased my first industrial sewing machine. "A light by which to dance" began to form with a lot of hard work and dedication. I do everything myself, no outsourcing, so patience and dedication are my much needed friends. A finished garment in a shop can appear just as sewn together fabric and thread that smitten the eye. The end result requires a list of additional aesthetics and information which need a lot of attention to detail. This includes swing tags, sizing labels, care labels, and now living in the 21st century an online presence is paramount. Creating online shops such as Etsy and social media sites are just the beginning. When everything flows and begins to come together it is extremely rewarding.
ROAR: A light by which to dance is your new fashion label launched in Melbourne. It symbolises the connection between nature and the magical movements of the creative spirit when did the idea of starting this creative brand come to you and what are the influences from nature and the spirit that makes it so special?
Ashleigh: This beautiful planet that we live on provides us with endless amounts of visual stimulation, texture, rough edges and asymmetrical formations. It moves and flows and flourishes, I see the creative spirit as just this. Unique with beautiful imperfections. I keep this in mind when I design and create. After hanging out with my sewing machine and learning techniques and the intricate processes of creating each garment, the time came to share it with the people and the way I am sharing it is through " A light by which to dance"
ROAR: Tell us about a few of your favourite garments so far and what you like about them?
Ashleigh: I have recently constructed bustles, each is unique with different layers and textures. I came across these incredible delicate, copper wire fairy lights which I have sewn into the bustles.They are dark with splashes of earthy colours and the fabrics that I used are recycled offcuts that I have collected along the way. When they are worn you instantly feel the urge to spin, dance and shake your booty. My other favourite garment is my hooded vests. I used ethically sourced cotton, using black, greens, mustard and hessian like, silk fabrics. These vests are quite structured and the large hood creates your own little shelter that you can nestle into. There is a greater sense of reward sourcing these fabrics in an ethical manner.
ROAR: What type of person do you see wearing your fashion line and why?
Ashleigh: Anyone and everyone. The individual who connects with and appreciates the earth we walk on. Those who love my clothes and want to wear them because; they look good in them, feel good in them and reflect the love and expression that I have put into them.
You can view and purchase all of Ashleigh's clothing through the links below and follow her exciting adventure.