We talk with Corina Muir, founder of Aboriginal-led ethical fashion label, Amber Days.
With Amber Days, Corina Muir is not just providing conscious consumers with ethically-made, GOTS certified garments, but she is also breaking down barriers, supporting marginalised women, and advocating for a more environmentally and socially responsible fashion industry.
With Australian-based ethical fashion label Amber Days, Corina Muir is not just providing conscious consumers with ethically-made, GOTS certified garments, but she is also breaking down barriers, supporting marginalised women, and advocating for a more environmentally and socially responsible fashion industry.
What made you start Amber Days?
One of my biggest motivations in starting Amber Days was to create business for good – to break down the barriers that young women of colour face, and shift the narrative around Aboriginal women in business. I believe supporting women is so important in creating a fairer and more just society, and changing the systems that continue to oppress women is essential in achieving this. Having previously worked in the areas of family violence, child protection and community organising, I understand the challenges many women of colour face, and want to use my business as a vehicle for change.
Do you have a morning routine? If so what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
When I wake up, I like to use my awakening blend of Hanuko essential oils to ground myself for the day. Our mornings can often be quite chaotic as I have an energetic 4 year old and very energetic kelpie so we try to get out for a walk in the sun when we can. Otherwise its getting Sapphire my daughter off to kinder and then sitting down with a large strong coffee to plan out my day.
What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?
There are a few large barriers I’ve faced as a socially conscious business. Firstly, the upfront costs investment costs to start are a lot and often challenging to resource when you first start a small business. Ensuring social and environmental justice in your business means timelines for designing and producing collections are often longer than fast fashion to ensure every level of the supply chain is accounted for. It’s also very hard to compete against other small businesses that don’t have a focus on being socially conscious and have mass produced products.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of Amber Days, who made your garments? Can you tell us a bit about them?
We work with a small family owned manufacturer in India which is Fairtrade certified and uses GOTS organic materials and dyes. The employees are paid a living wage and provided with training to develop their skills and expertise.
Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with?
I have always been passionate about the environment and people, so when falling pregnant with my daughter, finding clothes that didn’t use harmful chemicals in their processes was really important to me.
I wanted to have minimal environmental impact but also to create positive change in the fashion industry by supporting ethical manufacturers and fabric suppliers.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Just because you’ve tried to do something one way and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you have to change the goal – just find a different pathway to make it work.
What’s next for you and Amber Days?
We have just launched our first women’s collection, and in the next 5 years we will be focussing on building our internal capacity by hiring staff to help us scale nationally and internationally. Our dream is to open our own brick and mortar store in Australia.
One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?
When I was a young teenager my mum gave me a book called Girlosophy: A Soul Survival Kit, about women taking charge of their own future. I recommend every young girl to find a book like this that they will be able to look back upon in challenging times and find strength and inspiration within themselves.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
Jame from Earth Jiinda is doing incredible work right now in decolonising the birthing space for Aboriginal women and producing beautiful essential oil blends mixing aromatherapy with traditional knowledge passed down through generations.
Trading Blak, a collective of Aboriginal business owners who are creating a platform to reframe the First Nations business space by First Nations people.
Fierce Tidda Club, a public health initiative focussing on erasing period poverty in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities whilst producing some really cute merchandise!