Dreamers & Drifters was created out of a colorful mishmash of bohemian dreams, whirlwind romance, crazy experiences, and the genuine beauty of Byron Bay’s people and culture. It was motivated by a love of beach culture, sustainability, and slow fashion.
Dreamers & Drifters was formed on the ideas that sustainability and ethical practices ought to be commonplace in all businesses, not just those in the fashion sector. Every item is lovingly made by hand with the finest 100% natural fibers that are easy to wear and created with the future in mind. We sat down with the founder of the vintage and coastal fashion brand, Verity, to learn about the story and inspiration behind Dreamers & Drifters.
Hi Verity! Could you tell us more about how you got started in fashion, and what inspired you to start your own fashion brand?
Verity: Growing up in South Africa my mom was always sewing and I would collect pieces of her off-cut fabrics to make beds and dresses for my dolls. I was also very lucky to do textile design as a subject at school so I think my passion for prints and fashion was a part of my formative years, and it was just a part of me, it was an easy decision to study fashion.
After working as a designer for 7 years I felt burnt out and decided to sell everything and go traveling for 2 years. I met my Australian partner while backpacking in Nicaragua, and eventually relocated to Byron Bay, Australia together. Byron Bay is a pretty special place which seems to attract an interesting mix of people, so there’s definitely a creative vibe, there are loads of weekend markets and that’s where I started selling my designs in the beginning, working out of my home garage. Because I’d worked for large fashion brands I had a good idea about sustainability standards and incorporated these choices from the start. As the label grew I started stocking stores and then opened my own boutique at 7 months pregnant (which was a bit crazy!) Having my baby with me while working in the shop & studio also influenced my sustainability choices because as cliché as it sounds, our children will inherit the earth.
As the Founder and sole designer of Dreamers & Drifters, what does your day-to-day at work look like for you?
Verity: I now have my 2nd bub with me, so it’s a bit of a juggle at the moment to get things done while he naps. I do a huge amount of communication over Whatsapp with my sewing team, approving new prints and samples on the go in between changing nappies and making bottles! Being a mother has made me be more efficient with my time, which is great because I’ll draw up a design and make it happen quickly rather than over think it, these are usually the best designs, when I have too much time I’ll start doubting myself and then put it aside to come to (which hardly happens!)
How do you keep Dreamers & Drifters on the right track towards reshaping the future of fashion in sustainability?
Verity: I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed when starting one’s sustainability journey, and easy to give up because it feels like one person won’t make a difference – but this is just not true as our choices together will make an impact and that’s why I’m so passionate about using natural fabrics, only producing small production runs and choosing to use compostable mailer bags.
Give us a sneak peek into your typical design process as you start a new collection!
Verity: I am a bit of a Pinterest addict, so it’ll usually start there, I do however still love the feel of magazines and having a physical moodboard up on my wall is a wonderful way to keep the collection on track (Pinterest leads me down a rabbit hole!) and I have a sketch book that I’m constantly adding ideas to, so that’s a good starting point. I try to choose about 3 hero colours for the range and work on tying back embroideries, prints and even website graphics back so everything is talking the same language. Sampling can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, sometimes I’ll work so hard on a design and remake it a few times which will change it completely and I’ll be like ah! That’s what I was dreaming of! It’s a satisfying feeling when you put your sample on the mannequin and you know its ready for production.
Who are your personal style muses when you design for Dreamers & Drifters? Where else do you draw fashion/style inspiration from?
Verity: I’ll aways be heavily influenced by Africa, the bold prints and attention to craftmanship is a constant inspiration. Mixed with the surf culture and hippie aesthetic of Byron Bay, I have my hands full of inspiration!
If you could describe the aesthetic of Dreamers & Drifters’ pieces with 3 words, what would they be?
Verity: Vintage inspired, Coastal fashion
What is one piece in your collections that you hold closest to your heart? Is there a story behind it?
Verity: The Black Linen Viola Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress is a personal favourite because I wore it all through my pregnancy (so comfortable with space for a bump) and then after baby arrived as it’s a super forgiving shape plus breastfeeding friendly. It’s a dress that makes me feel beautiful even when I haven’t slept.
We’re proud to partner with Dreamers & Drifters through our Sustainability Alliance. What does this partnership mean to you and your brand?
Verity: I am overjoyed to partner with Style Theory! Circular fashion has always been a passion of mine (I cannot count the hours of vintage shopping my mom and I have spent in every country we have visited together) and I often wash & re-sell D&D on our vintage rack in our boutique so I feel this is such a positive step to spreading more joy and increasing a garments lifetime (rather than sending to landfill). Thank you for the opportunity!
Rent Dreamers & Drifters styles with a Style Theory Membership! With the Style Theory Apparel Rental Membership, you get to rent from a collection of 40,000+ apparel pieces, with plans starting from S$79/month. Isabella Oliver collection is currently only available for our Singapore subscribers. Download the app and create a free account to explore the Infinite Wardrobe now.