Samia Fisher’s experience as an interior designer sourcing fabrics for her clients led her to start her own slow textiles business. Samia was uncomfortable because it was difficult to source materials when she didn't know how and where they were made, or whether they were made ethically.
But it took a visit to Jamaica for her to set up shop with Weft Textiles. The Jamaican trip opened her eyes to the potential of natural plant-based dyes and ethically sourced fabrics. She explained that her vision was to create perfect products where everything was hand dyed, organically certified and made in Australia.
She started out by applying native botanical dyes to ax linen, hand-spun and woven organic cotton and 100 percent silks for a range of homewares – bed linen, tea towels, throws and cushions – using a soft yet sophisticated palette. Next came fashion in the form of loungewear, following which, in late 2016, she opened a retail store in the Adelaide CBD.
Going it alone was a stressful experience, especially since the intensive process of having her products hand-dyed and made meant their price-point was above what the market was willing to pay; also using botanical dyes meant she couldn’t work on larger commercial products as they didn’t comply with the strict standards required.
Samia tweaked her business model, shifting to eco-certified dyes, and moving into a new retail and creative space in mid-2017 with three friends – a shoemaker, a hemp clothing designer and a plant stylist.
Describing the new space as ‘super supportive’ with her friends on hand to bounce ideas off, she says her workspace is no longer isolating.
Samia not only sells directly to customers, but also works with architects and interior designers on high-end residential projects to supply fabric for bedding, curtains and upholstery. Making the leap into fashion, she designed her first piece – a kimono-inspired short robe, which remains the most popular till date in her collection.
The fashion range also includes sleepwear such as pyjama pants, a slip and sleep shorts, with plans to add underwear soon. Yet sourcing something as simple as elastic or a clasp that meets her ethical standards slows down product development.
Samia Fisher: “There’s a lot of time and thought – a lot of intention – behind every product and trying to create something that has longevity and quality and is aesthetically pleasing is a huge process. That’s what you’re buying – that care and attention.”