This week we interviewed Ianna Sunwu, Creative Director of Haus of Song, an Australian luxury ethical womenswear label. They've just recently showcased at the prestigious New York Fashion Week (NYFW) and since their launch in 2016, have quickly garnered attention from prominent influencers such as Antoinette Marie, Tash Seftron, and Elle Ferguson.
A bit about Ianna Sunwu
Do you have a favourite book?
Not really, I like everything.
What music are you into?
I'm quite a diverse person, so I'd listen to anything from Liszt to Adele, Linkin Park to Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill to Rihanna. It depends on my mood!
Who is your fashion/design idol?
Yves Saint Lauren and Alexander McQueen.
What does happiness look like for you?
Waking up to a new day, feeling refreshed and just have a positive day. Just being simple you know, and to have that inner peace.
What is your spirit animal and why?
I've never looked into spirit animals, so I'm not too certain about this. I'd like to think my spirit animal is a bull or a rooster, because I was born a Taurus in the year of the Rooster.
It may also be a snake. Based on my quick google research, apparently, your spirit animal will frequently appear in your dreams and in life. I've had traumatising dreams about snakes...or maybe it's just that since we live in Australia, snakes are very common.
About Haus of Song
Why and when did Haus of Song start?
I've always had a strong interest in fashion from a very young age and as I become more involved in the industry, I've realised that there is a demand for high-end quality, well-crafted, unique wearable designs that are also sustainable and ethically focused. I've been contemplating starting my own business for years and I thought, I'll never get anywhere by just thinking about it, so HAUS OF SONG was born. The label was established in November 2015 and our first two collections officially (the HS Collection & Class Rebellious) dropped on 30th June 2016.
Where do you get your design inspiration or philosophy from?
Majority of the time my designs are based on my personal experiences. From the places I've visited to the cultures I've encountered, people that I've met, to interesting stories I've heard of, dreams I've dreamed, to the life that I'm going through. Sometimes it might be a piece of art, a song, or even a quote. You just never know what will trigger your creativity, it happens anytime and anywhere.
Sourcing a manufacturer is daunting for a designer, let alone finding one that's fair trade. How do you go about finding the right manufacturing partner?
Yes it is. I'd say it's the most difficult part of the business and unfortunately, there is no easy way around this.
My advice is to always do your homework on the manufacturer and supplier. Never take them by their face-value. Always visit and inspect their operational site(s) in person and see for yourself. Ask them any questions that you have in mind, especially about contract and IP-related questions. You must learn how to protect your business and your designs. Request to see their business registration certificates and if they have any accredited credentials. You could also double check these with relevant organisations just to be safe.
Why should more designer labels look into being more sustainable from a business point-of-view?
I take being sustainability as an inevitable responsibility for any fashion labels. Aside from the fact that it will increase your costs, there are so many more positives and long-term benefits that you'll get from being a more sustainable label.
Just like what you would choose to feed your children for example. You'd want to provide them with fresh food that is nutritious and beneficial for their health and growth, not some processed junk food. A good business would take care of its people, its customers, and commit to its social responsibilities.
By being more sustainable, you are providing the people, even those with the smallest contribution to making your business work, with a healthier working environment with security who no longer are exposed to harmful chemicals. Your customers will notice and appreciate your hard work and commitment from the positive changes to your product's quality, strengthening the product lifecycle.
Your actions will also help establish a better relationship between you and your customers by helping raise awareness and educate about the importance of sustainable fashion and the global textile waste crisis. Being sustainable will mean more recycling and fewer textiles waste in landfills. All this information will impact on your customer's purchasing habits and they will shop for the better.
Where do you see the fashion industry heading in the foreseeable future?
It will be very interesting. Considering the current state of the global economy is feeding the continuing growth of fast fashion, and the fact that more and more people have become aware of climate change, global waste crisis, and resource shortages - there will be a crash in ideology. Sustainable and ethical fashion will become the hot topics of our era.
We can already see big companies and prestigious fashion houses leading the way by changing the ways of doing things for the better, such as having a much more transparent supply-chain and choosing vegan materials.
What’s next for Haus of Song?
We're working on getting more and more women know us on a global scale. Focusing on both domestic and international expansion as we've been receiving a lot of interest prior and after our NYFW showcase, we could definitely see the strong potential for our brand to flourish. We are looking into opening our very first flagship store in Sydney within the next year also. Just taking one step at a time. We just can't wait to see more and more women wearing our sustainable and ethical label and feeling empowered in it.
Haus of Song embodies the People and Your Local values. Shop Haus of Song here on Ethi.