Considered and luxurious pieces - made in Australia

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More and more, shoppers are becoming aware of their environmental impact and taking steps to support locally produced products. Whether it’s no longer buying plastic water bottles, becoming great at recycling, investing in second-hand… the list goes on. Another steady shift is the attention we are now startign to pay to where our clothes are being made.

Model - Steinunn Agnarsdóttir | Photographer - Ella Jane
Model - Steinunn Agnarsdóttir | Photographer - Ella Jane

The growing concern about the fashion industry and its unsustainable practices have seen a range of boutique brands pop-up and create timeless pieces, and one of those is Newcastle-based brand; SAINT. The creator behind the new brand is Newcastle born and bred Laura Howard, a local fashion designer who has creativity flowing through her veins.

“My mum taught me how to sew when I was little, and her mum taught her how to sew. My dad also did fine timber pieces. I was always surrounded by creativity and it was definitely encouraged. My mum was always inspiring me to get crafty and go to art classes. My dad is an absolute perfectionist, so I think a bit of both rubbed off on me,” Laura explained.

Launching SAINT in late April 2020, following years of dreams to pursue her own brand. From studying at TAFE and managing the production at Hunter St Mall favourite, The Lair – it wasn’t until working on the NEIS program – a government-funded course for individuals interested in starting and running a small business – that SAINT really started to come to life.

“It’s what I’ve wanted to do forever, then just after working at The Lair for those four years I think I learned as much as I could from that sort of environment. The goal for me was to always have my own brand. Then doing the NEIS program, you’re creating your own business, and the whole time I was working on the backend of it. I got this studio in February this year, then from there I made all of the samples and it all happened really quickly.”

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SAINT’s first release, includes six designs;

The Classic Silk Shirt – in rich chocolate brown made in a lightweight 100% silk, a slightly oversized cut with exaggerated short sleeves, and finished with French seams.

Perfect Button-Up Shirt in Organic Cotton – slightly oversized fit, exaggerated cuff, handmade in 100% Organic Cotton and finished with French seams.

Everyday Trench Coat – cut to slightly oversized in lightweight waxed cotton and complete with a removable waist tie to cinch in at the waist.

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Leather Toteclassic leather tote bag made in 100% kangaroo leather. Kangaroo leather is renowned for its strength and longevity and wears beautifully with age.

Evening Skirt in Silk – Long silk satin skirt in black, cut in a slight A-line silhouette, and finished with French seams.

Dress Pants in Silk – Black medium weight 100% silk crepe, high waisted cut skimming over the hips and bottom to a wider straight leg, and finished with French seams and dark chocolate brown tortoiseshell button.

“My vision for SAINT is pieces that are incredibly well made from natural fabrics, and that idea of less. When I was younger I was frequently buying new clothes. But now I’ve gone full circle and invest in really beautiful quality pieces that I find myself wearing again and again – anti-trend, seasonless and timeless.”

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The materials used have been hand-selected by Laura for their natural fibres and ethical manufacturing. Including organic cotton, deadstock silks, waxed cotton, and locally veg-tanned kangaroo leather.

The organic cotton labels have even been locally embroidered using organic cotton thread throughout all production which meets GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification. Laura also utilises the greenest zips on the planet, YKK Greenwise Zips, and is currently using vintage buttons but with plans to use corozo buttons; made of fruit in Panama.

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Putting all of this effort into each and every piece means that no matter where they all end up in 10, 20, 30+ years; they will decompose and leave no trace.

“If someone buys this shirt, it’s brilliant if they have it for ten years. But even if they eventually give it to an op-shop that next person who buys it will eventually put it somewhere and it will end up somewhere. The idea of everything being natural is that you can literally compost it and it will decompose.”

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When it came to deciding on a brand name that represented all of which Laura wanted to create, it was important for it to reflect strong women.

“My mum came up with the name actually, after mentioning I wanted the brand to represent strong women, she suggested Joan of Ark. It wasn’t subtle at all, so we did some research and found out that she was sainted. Then we said what about SAINT, and it just sort of stuck. We were playing Bananagrams and we had all the tiles laid out, and I said I really liked how it looked in all caps.”

With big plans for the future, Laura intends to collaborate with some of the country’s leading creatives including photographers and models to bring her brand to life.

Model - Steinunn Agnarsdóttir | Photographer - Ella Jane
Model - Steinunn Agnarsdóttir | Photographer - Ella Jane

“Creating a brand has been an incredible platform to work with other creatives at the top of their field. The model featured in my campaign Steinunn, recently featured in RUSSH Magazine and Harpers Bazaar and the photographer Ella Jane works freelance for Christopher Esber, one of my favourite Australian designers.”

SAINT is Laura’s personal evolution of clothing. Celebrating minimalism has led her to find pieces in classic shapes and high-quality fabrics. SAINT, at its core, sticks by these principles and is sustainable in every form.