THAT GYPSY SOUL
WORDS: LAUREN SARAH PURCELL
PHOTOGRAPHS: GYPSY TRADER
So I'm back to the velvet underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was
To the gypsy that I was– Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac
When I used to think of the word “gypsy” I was always transported to the Fleetwood Mac song of the same name. These days my thoughts land on Perth’s latest ethical fashion enterprise “Gypsy Trader”.
Whilst there are many stores that focus on either circular, sustainable or ethical fashion, rarely do I encounter a combination of all three. Gypsy Trader has not only nailed the brief with a number of niche labels but also incorporated vintage with Harley Davidson® pieces never before seen in Perth.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Hayley Andrews, Founder and Creative Director of Gypsy Trader to find out more about the amazing work she is doing.
Lauren Purcell: How did Gypsy Trader start?
Hayley Andrews: In late 2017, I had a strong feeling that I should start an online clothing store. Having come from the services industry I never thought that clothing and fashion was a way to have an impact on the world. I was so very wrong. The company has been a work in progress since then and has been live since September 2018.
LP: How did you come up with the name of your company?
HA: We started off as Gypsy and the Sea: a beautiful, feminine, flowing name that reflects a love for travel and the ocean. Since launching, we’ve participated in local pop-up stores and lot of guys were coming into the stall looking at our vintage Harley Davidson® Tees. We decided we would also love to stock men’s clothing in the future. Gypsy and the Sea was no longer going to work for our business model. Gypsy Trader was much more fitting.
LP: What inspired you to start a sustainable fashion company?
HA: It started off as an online clothing shop. I didn’t even know what sustainable fashion was! The thought actually came to me in a meditation. I spent many hours researching sustainability and what the fast fashion industry was doing to the earth after which, there was no way Gypsy Trader was going to be anything but sustainable.
LP: What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
HA: To me, sustainable fashion means a future where our Earth is able to thrive. So much harm is inflicted on the planet by making clothes out of synthetic fibres and toxic chemicals. Water usage is poorly managed and chemicals are not only being absorbed into our skin but leaking into our waterways polluting our oceans. Sustainable fashion is the only way in the future.
Our mission is to encourage slow sustainable fashion and to educate humanity on WHY sustainable fashion is the only way of the future. We are here to support women through our free workshops and give back to the earth and humanity with 5% of sales going to beautiful charities in our community. Most importantly we are here to take a stand and to be leaders in this Fashion Revolution– Hayley, Gypsy Trader
LP: What is something you wish people knew about sustainable fashion?
HA: Sustainability means EVERYTHING is taken into consideration during the creation process: the earth, humanity, future generations. Sustainable clothing may be more of an investment upfront but it is made to last! Sustainable fashion isn’t based on a need for fast consumption. It is made with love, by someone who is getting paid well and treated fairly in safe working conditions. Garments are made out of organic fibres and dyed with natural, plant-based dyes so they don't harm the environment. Water consumption is carefully monitored throughout the entire process. Sustainable fashion must be the way of the future!
The biggest challenge is just getting the word out and helping people see why fast fashion has no place in our consciously evolving world
LP: What sustainable fashion brands do you like and more importantly, why have you chosen to stock certain brands at Gypsy Trader?
HA: There are so many incredible sustainable labels out there! My 5 favourite labels are Opia Designs, Lukka the Label, Arthur, Salte Designs and Golden Brown the Label. They have beautiful designs which feel incredible to wear and most importantly are made to last.
LP: What other businesses in Perth inspire you?
HA: The Hemp Temple inspires me massively! They have an incredible message and they aren’t afraid to express it. Check them out!
LP: Can you think of any vintage pieces you regret selling?
HA: Not really. I know someone else is now receiving joy from something that also gave me immense joy. Plus, letting go makes room for something else just as special.
LP: Where do you source your vintage pieces?
HA: Some items are handpicked. We also have wholesalers in America who have INCREDIBLE vintage at their fingertips. Vintage Harley Davidson® Tees and vintage cut-off Levis® denim shorts are our best sellers. We have a trip to the States planned this year to find some treasures ourselves!
LP: What is a typical day like for you at Gypsy Trader?
HA: Lots of writing, educating, planning, ordering, conversing, collaborating and researching. My days aren’t too structured. I have a list and I work my way through it. Some days I’m up at 5am and to bed at midnight having been on my computer all day. Other days I’ll be in my meditation room with a cup of cacao and a journal, birthing whatever comes through to be created
I personally love the website www.goodonyou.eco. All you have to do is type in a company and they provide you with SO much information - environmental impact, labour conditions, animal welfare: and then their verdict on the information combined. They also have an app called “Good On You” which you can download on your phone. It’s pretty awesome as they rate brands and also help you find ethical labels all at the click of a button. There is absolutely no excuse not to buy sustainable with incredible information like this so readily available.
LP: What have been some of your turning points?
HA: My journey is forever evolving. I feel like every day I learn something new that impacts the future of the business. Our biggest turning point would be making Gypsy Trader an exclusively slow, sustainable business. It can be tough educating consumers on why to support us rather than fast fashion when it is so affordable to everyone. Unconscious consumerism has unfortunately become the way of our world. What people may not realise is that while slow sustainable fashion may be more expensive, you are paying for exceptional quality and timeless designs that will far outlast something cheap and poorly made. Purchasing sustainably costs us more as a business. If we were just here to make a quick buck we could have bought a lot of poorly made, cheap items. But we’re not. We are here to make a stand. We are here to be leaders in the Slow Fashion Revolution. It’s not an easy ride. But for Gypsy Trader, it is the only ride!
So there you have it.
My guess is you are already one step ahead of me and already on the Gypsy Trader website. If not head to https://www.gypsytrader.com.au/ - or check out some of their amazing fashion and shoots on Instagram @gypsytrader.
Gypsy Trader gives 5% of their profits to charity. Furthermore, they host FREE workshops for women to build community and to provide a safe space where women can come for support, to learn and to grow. These events are found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/gypsytradershop/