Following two decades lending her creative vision to some of Australia’s most loved labels, designer and creative director Amelia Mather founded Boteh—a conscious resortwear line. We chat with Amelia about her journey into launching her own brand, the advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs and what operating a sustainable, ethical business means to her.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Boteh—how did it all begin?
For most of my career in the fashion industry, I had no desire to have my own brand. I loved the people I worked with and time went so quickly. Some 60 collections later I had my second baby girl and somewhere between delirium from lack of sleep and the creative pause I decided I needed to do it my way. From there it all fell into place rather effortlessly. The name Boteh just came to me one day down at my favourite ocean baths, ‘Wylie’s’ in Coogee. I had even told my best friend that I was going there for a swim and some sun and was hoping the name would just come to me—and it did!
Having built your career working with some of Australia’s most loved brands, how has this experience contributed to your decision to launch your own brand, and to ensure that sustainability is a core value of the brand?
I’ve experienced so much and seen a lot in this industry so one of the best aspects of creating my own brand was that I had the ability to build Boteh from the ground up from the beginning, exactly in the way I had always wished I could.
While sustainability and ethical fashion have become household terms, they are core pillars of the Boteh brand. What does operating a sustainable and ethical business mean to you?
I’m the sole owner of Boteh so I get to make all the decisions without any real constraints. I’ve been able to create a new standard, deciding what’s most important to the brand from a quality, and ethical standpoint. I was certain I needed the most premium and responsible options available and I spared no cost when sourcing raw materials, makers, mills and and all the logistical components. There are some things that are non-negotiable for Boteh and that is an exceptionally high quality standard for our designs and our ethics in the way we do business.
“There are some things that are non-negotiable for Boteh and that is an exceptionally high quality standard for our designs and our ethics in the way we do business.”
The Boteh brand embodies a sense of bohemian wanderlust and adventure. Can you tell us a bit more about the tie between the brand and travel, and how your own personal experiences with travel have influenced the brand?
I was so adventurous in my 20’s and 30’s and was fortunate to travel a lot both with work and personally with my now husband. I always chose the furthest away destinations; it became my thing to pick something completely out of my comfort zone and research it well before heading off to explore, absorb and experience everything the destination has to offer. We are a bit more cautious now with two toddlers but we still have some adventures planned for the near future.
As the founder of the brand, what does a typical day look like for you?
If you asked me pre-kids it would have begun with a warm lemon tea, my daily yoga practice or ocean swim before a peaceful drive to the design studio followed by pizza and wine at my favourite pizzeria ‘Vacanza’ in Surry Hills… But the reality is far from this for now. It’s hectic getting the girls off to school but I wouldn’t change a thing. I know one day I will get back to a more zen space but for now I’m relishing the chaos.
Describe your go-to / everyday uniform.
I’m forever in my Re-done denim shorts and one of my blouses, either a La Ponche shirt or patchwork printed smock blouse. When dressing up I love print on print, in which case I love the Calla & Lazuli short with the matching blouse. Typically worn with Isabel Marant leather sandals and a straw Loewe bag.
Who and what inspires you creatively?
I love a good market. My favourite is Ibiza’s Hippy Market in Es Canar every Wednesday. Cannot wait to get back there.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow.
I mostly follow antique dealers and I like to keep them secret! Haha.
Go-to Spotify playlist(s) when you need to get into a creative flow (link to playlist / album if possible)
I stream ‘Ibiza global radio’ daily; I particularly love ‘Morning Sounds’. It comes on around 6pm here in Australia, just in time for a dance-off in the kitchen with my three and five year old girls, and my husband Tommy.
“I have always been inspired by culture and try to spend my money with the locals wherever I visit. I like to research well so I understand who owns what and how it all works, especially in underdeveloped countries.”
Where are you dreaming of traveling as Australian borders open and the world opens up again?
Being forced to hit pause and reflect over the past year and a half has given us all the time to consider our impact on the planet and our environmental footprint. Moving forward, how will you make an effort to travel in a way that is more conscious of the environment?
I have always been inspired by culture and try to spend my money with the locals wherever I visit. I like to research well so I understand who owns what and how it all works, especially in underdeveloped countries. I used to fly all over the world several times a year and I think the relationships I have established virtually have shown me that we can really do business anywhere and with less impact.
What advice would you give to young women trying to build a purpose-driven, conscious brand from the ground up?
Learn as much as you can! Try to work for the best in the industry in order to gain what you need to build your brand in an efficient way. The more informed you are in terms of choice of materials, factories, operations—down to how much stock you order—the better. I adore this industry I have devoted my entire 20 year career to, but know we need to do much better.
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