Inspired by the modern woman, Amber Koeman’s designs for her label amber chloe have captured the imagination of fashion lovers around the globe. Koeman noticed women were struggling to find beautiful and unique garments that weren’t mass produced, and so amber chloe was born. Proudly made in Australia, Koeman’s design take on a distinctly international feel, no doubt an influence from all of Koeman’s travels.
We caught up with this emerging designer to learn more about her label and find out where she gets her inspiration from.
Congratulations on the launch of your new collection for amber chloe! What inspired this latest range?
Thank you so much! I’m very excited to share it. France and especially Paris played a large role in my creative process for the new collection. I drew from the chic, effortless and classic style that, to me, is the essence of Parisian fashion and mentality. Many of my thoughts of France are associated with a family home south of Paris in the Loire Valley. This is a special and beautiful place. It carries a lot of history and strong sentimental values.
Shooting this collection at my family home was a really raw, emotional process for me. I created each piece with this backdrop in mind and it was such a gift to see both place and piece come together so seamlessly. This collection comes from my heart and is inspired by my fondest memories there, and my love affair with French lifestyle and Parisian culture.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced starting your own label?
I naturally trust and rely on people. Although I’ve often considered this a gift, since starting my own business this has definitely brought it’s challenges. Slowly, I am learning how to better prepare for it. It seems to be working.
Another challenge is finding the ideal balance between the creative and the business side of things. You need it to be right in order to become successful.
With the right perspective, every challenge is a lesson.
Your pieces range from luxe leather dresses, to bohemian inspired designs. How would you describe your label’s aesthetic and where do you look for inspiration when designing?
Our aesthetic has always been classic with a glimmer of edge. I am all about the idea that a woman should never show too much. I want to create timeless pieces that my customers feel confident and beautiful in.
Moments of inspiration ignite while I’m leafing through layers of fabrics and textures, while I’m thinking of something specific that I’d love to wear, or in that moment right before I fall asleep – when my mind is racing.
Travelling always sparks my creativity. Timeless architecture and the open-minded attitude towards fashion in cities like Paris and London have always captivated me.
What’s the process you undertake when taking a garment and collection from a concept to the final product hanging on the rack?
It usually starts with a fabric or a certain woman that sparks my imagination. Then I start to sketch. Once I’ve perfected the design on paper, I sit with my production team and go through the process with them. It’s always exciting when the first sample is made and I can see my vision brought to life.
How has social media helped to promote your label?
Social media has been great at getting our name out there. It gives the brand a personality and allows followers to connect with us in a way they wouldn’t be able to by just shopping through our website.
A lot of our sales come through our social media channels. I think it’s also nice for customers to see our dresses on other people and in different settings to give them more ideas on how it can be worn and where.
You were born in Taiwan but grew up in Indonesia, Hong Kong, England, America, France, Japan and Australia. How have your experiences in all these countries impact the design of your collections?
I think about women globally with each collection. I’ve taken away inspiration from every city I’ve lived in and everyone I’ve met along the way, so I like to believe there’s a little part of them in each piece I create.
What does a typical day entail for you?
Nothing gets done until I have my morning coffee…. or two. Then it’s usually a mixture of emails, fabric sourcing, checking on production, bespoke fittings and posting orders. I really try to switch off after work and take my dog for a walk and have dinner without phones or laptops nearby (I try).
How did your background in Advertising/Marketing and Web Management help you start your label?
I think you can have a great product or a great idea, but if you don’t know how to market it properly, it rarely succeeds.
I do a lot of the marketing/PR and Advertising myself, as well as manage the website on a daily basis. Everything you can do yourself and don’t have to outsource definitely helps in a relatively new business.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Treat others how you would like to be treated.
Take risks. There is no reward without risk.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Your thoughts create your world. – Lao Tzu
What exciting things do you have planned for 2015?
We are very excited that amber chloe will be stocked in a few hand picked Melbourne boutiques this year! That’s all I’m giving away for the moment – watch this space.