We've been a proud stockist of Sophie Robertson's diaphanous silk chiffon scarves for a good couple of years now. Uniquely Australian, the threatened Great Barrier Reef and its marine life inspired her brand's genesis. A summer essential, her sheer silk scarves seamlessly translate from street to shore. Join us for a quick Q&A with Sophie, and shop the range here
You’re originally from the U.K. and studied at St. Martins. How did you end up in Australia and what’s kept you here?
Yes, that’s right. I grew up in Bournemouth – a seaside town - and I studied Fashion Photography at Central St Martins. It was the best education I could imagine, and not because I was taught how to take a photo, but the complete opposite – it was the sense of freedom and exploration that I enjoyed...
Why did I move to Australia?! Well honestly, I followed my heart ten years ago! That didn’t work out but I fell in love with Australia along the way - I think it mixes the two places I grew up - the seaside life and all of its activities of the South coast, and the lively city-life of London. I love the lifestyle in Sydney and the endless opportunities this country has given me; I am an official Australian now, and I feel blessed to call it home.
Tell me about your interest in diving and the marine world. Has it been a lifelong hobby, or something you discovered more recently?
I grew up by the sea and I feel happy and calm when I am by the water. I seemed to always incorporate water into my work throughout my studies and had begun experimenting with using disposable underwater cameras for photo shoots in various swimming pools in London... I learnt how to scuba dive with underwater photography as a specialty and was offered a job to work on a live-on-board boat in Cairns and jumped at the chance. This is when I took the photos for the first collection. I haven’t been diving as much since being in Sydney – which is probably why the collections have been more ‘land based’ of late...!
And what inspired you to turn your underwater photography into scarves, and how did you go about it?
It seemed like a natural continuation - I had all of these photos and I wanted to use the images to create something beautiful yet accessible, and to me, scarves were the solution. I was excited to start a fashion business and had plenty of friends who were also starting similar brands and small companies. After having done plenty of research and seen many many samples I decided that digitally printing onto silk best suited the images, and it has since developed into a larger range including chiffon scarves and sarongs.
Running your own small business can certainly be difficult. What are some of the more challenging aspects and experiences you’ve come up against?
Most definitely! I have had a lot of challenges over the last few years. Doing my accounts is definitely my least favourite aspect of running the business, but this is balanced out by the parts I enjoy, such as the social and creative elements.
If you could dress any woman in one of your scarves, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Blondie, I really like her - she is the perfect mix of sophisticated, interesting and unexpected. I would love Lucy Turnbull to wear my scarves in Australia also.
Any exciting projects on the horizon? I’m looking forward to seeing your botanical range!
Thanks Brad. Botanica is based on photos I took of The Royal Botanical Gardens - one of my favourite spots in the city. I am enjoying taking on collaborations – for example I am working on custom scarves for the new convention centre in Sydney, which will be inspired by its architecture, and am also working on a collection based on White Island in New Zealand.