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A Sit Down With Ash - The Founder & Designer of Original Weekend

Ashley Founder of Original Weekend Menswear at Four Mile Beach Port Douglas

Ash has answered 10 top questions she’s been asked through her time with OW.

Get to know a bit about this creative powerhouse behind the brand Original Weekend.

Why did you start Original Weekend?

I worked as a menswear and graphic designer for around ten years and hit a crossroads in my career. To stay the course and continue designing for other people or take the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted, to own a small brand where I can create truly original pieces with a sustainable mindset. The really big kick was that the sustainable conversation was being held in the women’s fashion realm, and I wanted to bring that conversation to Australian men.
 

What challenges you about owning and operating a small business?

Or what keeps me up at night? Marketing, I’m a designer, not necessarily a marketer, but hey, there’s a lot of hats to wear when running a small business. It is thrilling to see how far Original Weekend has come since we launched in 2018 and gives me confidence to see how my skills have developed across all facets of the brand.
 

Where do you get your ideas for new ranges?

It’s important to me that the brand lives true to its name and core pillar “Original”. All pieces are created in capsule collections with different underlying themes and colour palettes. This season has been all about going back to primary colours, a throwback to 90’s fashion, but with a modern aesthetic and quality. The range comes to me in bits and pieces, I’ll take photographs of textures I find interesting, or colours that pique my interest and muse on them until the next range development begins. I investigate trends here and there, but design in a way that transcends them, because style is timeless and fast fashion is trash.   
 

Why did you choose menswear?

Ever since completing my degree at RMIT I’ve always been drawn to menswear. I like the emphasis on quality and that is so important in this space. Fabrics are key and fit is everything. Guys tend to hold onto their clothing longer, so creating sustainable menswear that fits this brief has always been more exciting to me.
I regularly get asked to include a women’s capsule range, so let’s see what the future brings. But in saying that, there’s no reason women can’t enjoy this range too, I live in the Organic Cotton T-Shirts.
 

Why is sustainability important to you and how do you implement that in Original Weekend?

Sustainability is important to me because it is a lifestyle choice and an attitude that I align with. I think that we often find ourselves in a wasteful society and believe that as an individual there are steps I can take to minimise my impact, from composting and RedCycling, through to creating Original  Weekend’s vision and offering a sustainable option for menswear. I’m trying to cut through the throwaway culture noise and create timeless pieces that can be worn for seasons to come. We apply a sustainable mindset across all facets of Original Weekend. We’re not perfect, but always looking for ways to improve our sustainability journey.
 

How is it running a business with your partner, Rob?

Oh yeah, partner in life, in crime and in business. We butt heads at times, we can both have stubborn personalities, but we also make a really great team. Both of us bring different strengths and perspective to Original Weekend. Rob can aways pick a winner before the range launches… it’s usually the ones he’s flagged for himself. He’s also really good at considering all options before taking action, gives me a pause of reflection, as I’m a bit the opposite at times. But he’s a super supportive partner and we have enjoyed taking this journey together.
 

If you had a week off – where are you headed?

Somewhere warm, preferably tropical. If there’s good food, a pina colada accessible at some point in the afternoon, and places to explore I am a happy gal. We recently went to Port Douglas where we would spend hours walking along the beach, hiking Mossman Gorge and snorkelling. If I can fill my days this way, that is my holiday perfection. A good scoop of gelato won’t go astray either…
 

What is you down-time go-to?

My boy, Rolo. Our German Spitz floof is my downtime – and he demands that I take time out for him on the regular. I have always had animals in my home and thrive being around them. I look forward to getting home of an evening and taking Rolo for a long walk with Rob and debriefing on the day’s events.
 

What do you love about Australian fashion?

The colour! The vibrancy! Australians know how to wear colour, we appreciate unique and creative designs. Jenny Kee is a perfect example of how we as a culture embrace it, the best.
 

If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?

It would have to be something creative. Although I always joke, I should’ve been a doctor with cold hands and atrocious handwriting. My grandparents were artists and I spent my childhood with a pencil in one hand a paintbrush in the other, dog at my feet. Original Weekend gives me a way to be an artist that young me wanted.