Urban Rustle is a small Sydney based brand that works with the best natural materials to produce their range of handcrafted accessories and art. We chatted to founder Anna Sutherland about ethics, sustainability and managing a business single handedly.
You work with sustainably sourced wood, leather and organic cotton. Are these easy to find materials in Sydney or do you have to work really hard to find suppliers that support your ethos?
It’s definitely a challenge trying to source such materials. I’ve been fortunate enough to find some of the finest suppliers right here in Sydney, regional New South Wales, and Melbourne. Australia used to make things a lot more only a decade or two ago. It’s sad but the reality is many manufacturers have closed due to offshore production.
I always insist on physically visiting my suppliers because it gives me the opportunity to see the materials I may potentially work with, and more importantly, allows me the chance to ask endless questions about its origins, properties etc. If I’m not working in my studio, you’re most likely to find me lugging a small suitcase across Sydney’s industrial areas in the search of more raw materials. No, really, I don’t drive!
Where do you make your products?
I make all my products in my Sydney studio. Some components, such as my American-made ear wires are sourced from overseas, but the final product is made by hand in Australia. A strong morning coffee and a jazzy playlist usually gets me in my creative zone.
We second that! Where do you find inspiration? There seems to be a few dog related products and we can’t help but think there may be a special four legged friend in the picture?
It sounds cliche but I really do find my inspiration from the beauty of the everyday. Breathtaking sunsets awash with pink and orange. The earthy scent that follows summer rain. When I feel like I’ve been stuck in the studio all day, I usually head out to the beach with my dog Penny. She’s a rescue dog. I guess you could say my dog themed art prints are in memory of all the doggies that don’t find a forever home. Man’s best friend isn’t always treated kindly by humans.
Why is sustainability important to you?
In the years prior to establishing my own brand, I had become increasingly frustrated at the unethical practices of the fashion industry. Did you know it is the second most polluting industry on earth? It’s quite sad that people think throwing out clothes after a season or two is normal. What happened to well made pieces that people keep for years and years?
It’s great that we are talking more about sustainable fashion and #whomademyclothes has been trending on social media, but there’s still so much we need to do. To put it bluntly, the future of our planet depends on it.
Do you have any future plans for Urban Rustle?
At the moment I’m currently in charge of almost all aspects of the business including sourcing, making, shipping, marketing, and accounting. I’m hoping that with time, I’ll be able to focus on just the sourcing and making! I’ve been approached by various retailers in Australia, and overseas to be stockists of my products. Currently, about half of my online customers hail from the US. It’s all pretty exciting! The aim is to grow Urban Rustle, but never lose sight of our commitment to sustainable sourcing and production.
To see more of Urban Rustle click here.