BEYOND THE BRAND: HANNAH MATERNE FROM FROMFOUND

FromFound is the label I spoke about the other day that is making a huge difference in the world of those who have arrived in Australia in the form of asylum seekers and refugees. FromFound is a not-for-profit whose aim is to provide employment for those who have been displaced and to help them create a future for themselves.

They take the notion of everyone is different through to the clothing they produce. All their clothing pieces are as different as we are from one another. That’s because their fabric is sourced from ‘found’ materials -recycled, reclaimed or recovered. You can check out the full extent of what they do through my write up here.

As with all brands that I find now that I think are doing epic things and I’d personally invest my money into I want to go one layer further -I want to know the person beyond the brand. I want to fully grasp why the individual started the brand off, their challenges they’ve had, who made the clothes along with some basic questions that help to really get to know the person beyond the brand.

Today’s interview with Hannah takes you well and truly beyond the brand. I hope you enjoy!

1. WHAT MADE YOU START FROMFOUND?

Through Lauren’s work in community development she saw the challenges and barriers women from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds faced in trying to enter the workforce. She recognized the possibility of combining the women’s strengths in sewing and creativity with the opportunity to build up transferable skills and experiences for further work or study. From here the idea developed to create a fashion label that ethically employed these women as machinists in Adelaide and used recovered, recycled and up cycled textiles- ‘found’ fabrics. The idea is to make people aware of the issues they are buying into with fast fashion and know that clothing can still encompass style, creativity and quality while remaining ethical and sustainable.

From Found is the creation of three women – Lauren, Annie (who are sisters) and myself. Although we knew each other for years, it was the idea for the label that brought us together. I came from a back ground in fashion, marketing and digital strategy. Lauren is a passionate social worker, while Annie’s expertise lies in human resources and business management. Our experiences and areas of knowledge are very different, much like our individual styles, however our shared values and complementing skills sets have allowed us to form a beautiful and supportive ideal team.

2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING THING YOU HAVE UNCOVERED SINCE BEGINNING?
Registering to be a not-for-profit has been a huge learning curve for all of us. We have put a lot of time and effort into learning all the rules, regulations and legal jargon that goes with registration. Crowd funding for our start-up capital was also a challenge, however very rewarding. Once again there was a lot of jargon to understand but we also had to create an effective marketing strategy that would allow us to connect with our community and potential investors. There have been many times From Found has taken us outside of our comfort zones and caused a lot of stress but overall the whole experience has been incredibly rewarding and exciting.

3. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
There are a number of things we have learnt along the way that would have been useful to know from the beginning, however this is a natural part of starting an organisation. In particular, we would have benefited from having a better understanding of pattern making. Although, I come from a background in fashion, this is an area where my skills need further development. However, we have been very fortunate to have the support of two wonderful pattern makers to make our designs come to life.

4. BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Be the change you wish to see in the world – Gandhi.

5. ONE BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ? WHY?
I am Malala. It’s a beautiful book that shares the incredible story of Malala Yousafzai, who is an inspiring and amazing young woman. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for education.

6. WHERE DO YOU ENVISION FROMFOUND IN THE FUTURE?
In the future, we would all love to From Found as an organisation that is made up and run by thriving women from refugee backgrounds. Through working at From Found, we hope to see them strengthen their skills and take up roles within wider areas of the organisation: leadership marketing, design and management.

7. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DO ON A DAILY BASIS?
We are all inspired by the idea that From Found can one day be a strong community of women working and growing together from a whole range of diverse backgrounds. We have already grown and learnt so much each other and the amazing people who have been involved in getting From Found off the ground. I cannot wait to continue that learning process alongside our employees. My passion for sustainable fashion further inspires and motivates me every day as I know we are providing a fashionable alternative that won’t destroy the earth.

8. DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE? IF SO WHAT IS IT YOU DO TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE DAY AHEAD?
My morning routine can be quite extensive but allows to get into a beautiful mindset for the day. After I wake up, I go straight to my yoga mat. I begin my practice with a couple sun salutations and then move into the poses and stretches my body is calling for. After this, I follow a guided meditation and spend some time focusing on my vision board. This allows me to tap into my intentions and goals. I will then journal on any feelings, thoughts and ideas that have come to me through my mourning practice. I finish off with repeating some affirmations before getting ready for my day. This generally involves body brushing, oil pulling and having a shower with lemongrass essential oil – very energising. From here, I get dressed and make a yummy nourishing breakfast. It may sound like a lot but I find it a wonderful way to start my day.

9. ARE THERE ANY OTHER MOVERS & SHAKERS OUT THERE IN YOUR WORLD THAT YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
When I think about the movers and shakers, I see the amazing women in our lives that are incredible, strong and talented in their own unique ways. These women are the movers and shakers of our personal worlds. It’s always important for people to remember those individuals around you who inspire you with their strength and character. Personally, I am extremely blessed to have the most inspiring mother, mentors and group of friends, who are each making their own beautiful and positive mark on this world.

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