JSA: Arnsdorf is a womenswear label based in Melbourne, Australia. Our mission is to create modern archetypal clothing for women of both style and purpose, while continually driving transparency across all levels of the fashion industry. We focus on sustainable fabrics and ethical manufacturing, reveal all costs associated with producing each garment, including the origin of all fabrics used, as well as the people who had a hand in bringing the garment to life, with the intention of leading the way for a new generation of well informed customers. Arnsdorf is a certified B Corporation as well as having an accreditation by Ethical Clothing Australia.
OJ: Who do you design for? Who is the Arnsdorf woman?
JSA: The Arnsdorf woman is one of style and purpose. She values both a garment’s aesthetics and style and equally important to her is the way the garment makes her feel. It needs to be aligned with her values, taking into consideration her own, the planet’s and everyone involved in the supply chain’s health and wellbeing. The Arnsdorf woman resides throughout the world, our clients are based mainly in Australia, North America and Europe.
OJ: I understand that you put the label on hold in 2012. Why was this? What changed to inspire a re-launch?
JSA: In 2012 I was questioning whether I wanted to be part of the fashion industry anymore. I had been operating in the traditional manner that a young designer usually travels, wholesaling to boutiques around the world and outsourcing manufacturing. I had relocated a few years prior to New York but still had an office in Melbourne and showed regularly at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney. We were producing the collection in New York, Australia and China and it was difficult to have total transparency over the conditions the machinists worked under. These unknown conditions, and being exposed to all of the waste produced as a result of the industry, was really beginning to take its toll on me. It didn’t make sense to me that collections would be delivered to stores at an inflated margin only to be marked down and reduced in 3 months time and lose their value and desirability.
I had recently become a mother and was reevaluating everything in my life and choosing where I placed my time and energies. I took some time off to raise my children and pursue other creative avenues like furniture design and photography that seemed at that time to have more longevity in the pieces. Eventually my love for clothing was reignighted when I was approached by New York label, Apiece Apart to consult on the introduction of their denim range. I was also working at a tech startup in NY that worked with artists and designers to produce a luxury subscription service for men. We were pushing the boundaries of customer service and were surrounded by our friends successful startups that had rewritten the rule book on how they could operate.