Founded by Sydney-born sisters Peta Heinsen and Ilona Hamer, the siblings’ emphasis on fewer, better things makes sustainability seem irresistibly chic. We had the pleasure of interviewing the duo who shared some honest and insights and inspiring learnings about their path to sustainability.
What’s the best / worst part about working in a family business?
There’s really no worst part, its actually really great to work with family and I can’t imagine being in business with anyone else. We have our moments where we don’t agree, of course. But, being sisters, we can have a huge argument and then move on five minutes later and not give it a second thought and we definitely don’t overthink things. It feels like the purest and easiest form of partnership.
What roles do each of you have in the business?
Ilona is our Creative Director and I am Managing Director – that’s the simplest way to explain it. However, we both work closely through the design process with our design team.
How does sustainability impact the way you create your collections?
We are committed to doing everything in our power to discover and learn as much as we can to make the best decisions we can for the earth, for our customers and our business when creating our collections. We are committed to our social and environmental responsibility throughout our business operations. These standards are fundamental to our values as a business and we strive to ensure we work with partners who share this commitment.
We endeavour to produce everything we can in Australia and we are committed to supporting the Australian textile industry, engaging with our community of stakeholders and sharing our learnings and progress for the benefit of all. All of our swimwear and apparel is made in Australia, except for our knitwear styles which are made in China. For production techniques where there is no industry in Australia, such as our knitwear, we are forced to source these products off shore. In this instance, we will always seek partners that share our vision and are committed to their social and environmental responsibilities.
Our path to sustainability is a journey of learning and discovery and we understand that this is our corporate responsibility. We don’t claim to have all the answers or capabilities to tick every box, but we are doing everything in our power to make the most sustainable decisions we can; to not over-produce, select the most sustainable fibres fit for purpose, understand our risk areas, begin to offset our carbon emissions, understand our supply chain and trace our materials back to source.
Two women who inspire you?
Our mum is our original Matteau Muse and will always be the most inspiring woman in our lives. But we look to women of style when designing collections - Lauren Hutton, Jackie Kennedy and the like.
I will never be too old for…(IIona)
Simple pleasures in life that bring so much joy! Jumping off rocks into the ocean, bike riding, eating ice creams after a day at the beach…
People often think I’m…, when I’m actually.... (Peta)
People often think I’m stand-off-ish, when I’m actually quite shy in new situations or with people I don’t know.
I’m most creative when…(Ilona)
I’m relaxed and in an environment that inspires me.
When things get awkward, I usually…(Peta)
When things get awkward I will usually address the issue upfront, where it warrants my energy.
Why did you decide to partner with WFG?
We have been looking at several different ‘for good’ partners that we can work with where we have out of season stock, that can be donated to benefit others. When WFG approached us, we were more than happy to provide support to this initiative. We are also involved with other programs with the aim of managing fashion excess for a good cause.