Earth First Fashion - style journal
Australian Online store owner Tiaki Chaplin sat down with us to answer a few questions about her new sustainable fashion venture.
A little bit about you: where do you live? what's your background (upbringing /study /work) things that paint a little picture about you.
Ooo where do I start… Well… My name is Tiaki! My journey began roughly 25 years ago in the small sleepy beach town of Dicky Beach on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I have lived a very laid back, coastal life that I thank my beach-addicted parents for. I spent my younger years walking to school along the beach, collecting hermit crabs as pets and making jewellery from shells, coral or anything I could find on the beach with a hole in it.
After graduating high school I spent a few years on the pursuit of happiness, travelling the world, starting and ceasing a few bachelor degrees, looking for ways to integrate creativity into my everyday life. Since leaving school I’ve studied various subjects and worked in various industries but have always really just wanted to be able to share my love of the world, my appreciation of life and my hopeless, undying love of bohemian style, natural fabric and just slow fashion in general.
What brought you to branch into a fashion store?
If I’m being completely honest, I think I have inherited a pretty extreme addiction to clothing. My mother’s wardrobe collection would rival David Jones and my grandmother’s handbag collection would give Coco Chanel a run for her money… But I guess I just love the feeling you get when you buy a new dress or a new pair of pants or shoes or a new set of earrings and you try them on and they fit so well that you feel like a million dollars. So I just want to be able to provide that feeling to people everywhere, I want to be a part of something that makes people feel good…
Your "Earth First" concept is awesome, as a slow fashion company we get excited when people put value in ethical fashion. What made you want to support this direction in your fashion store?
Thank you so much! I think so too. Well, it’s hard to have just 1 reason why I wanted to support this direction but I guess the ethics is where it all started… as mentioned I have always loved clothing and material and I remember I used to shop with my mum and my nan at spotlight for fabric and one day I asked the person behind the counter who made all the fabric they had in store and she told me “clever people from all over the world” and that stuck with me… whether it was true or not I started to realise that no cloth is ever just cloth… Somebody has spent hours creating it and I just felt like knowing that and appreciating it was really important and so eventually I put together the concept of Earth First.
I just value life in general, and not just my own but everybody’s and I don’t really understand how there are so many people out there that don’t. The environmental aspect comes into it because I have been such a little Earth girl since I took my first breath. My greatest friends growing up have been flowers, trees, the ocean, and creatures great and small so why wouldn’t I be passionate about protecting those things.
Another reason is that I haven’t forgotten that the health of our Earth also determines the health of who inhabit it, so every effort to make better, environmentally friendly choices literally influence the quality of our own lives. I’d love to elaborate more on this but I think I’ll write a much more in-depth blog to really unpack the Earth First concept or this is could very quickly turn into a 5000 word essay haha.
What's your "go to look" for summer?
Ooo this is a hard question… It gets so hot here that it’s hard to even fathom wearing clothes half the time… but for the sake of not scaring the neighbours…
I’ll be all about the white colours this Summer… To accentuate the tan, lighten the mood and it’s the coolest colour when worn in the sun. I definitely need myself a couple of linen pinafore dress type styles this Summer with some white tops to pair. And I’m not going to lie, I am a serial offender of living my life through Summer in the most simple linen/hemp shirts and denim shorts throughout Summer. This year I might try to find myself a pair of crochet shorts/skirt to mix things up a little!
Do you have a secret style tip that could make a busy person's life easier?
Yeah and it’s super simple… Don’t be afraid to wear the same thing over and over again but don’t get stuck in the trap of believing that every time you wear it, it has to look the same because there are so many ways to wear everything these days. Simply Google 10 ways to wear 1 top and you will probably wonder why you hadn’t thought of about 6 of the options it gives you… The other 4 options you will just wish that you never saw haha!
What key tips can help a customer online shop?
If you love online shopping like I do then I would say… Step 1: head to the shop and get yourself a measuring tape (not the bunnings kind) to ensure your measurements measure up with the measurements on a website… it is so much less frustrating when you receive your item and it 100% fits you because you have already accurately taken the measurements before checking out!
Step 2: if the measurements aren’t on the online store for some reason, email and ask for their size guide. Step 3: ask about the production line of a product… a shirt at the cost of a person or the planet doesn’t deserve your attention. Step 4: buy it and if you don’t like it… return it!
Your store offers free shipping and free returns (how amazing!) but what about size exchanges?
YES! It’s really exciting to be able to work with sustainable alternatives when it comes to postage. At the moment we’re working with The Better Packaging Co to offer compostable postage bag alternatives and in terms of the “Free Express Postage” offer… Who doesn’t love free stuff? So we thought we would just go the whole 9 yards and offer free postage and returns. To answer your question, yes we definitely do size exchanges.
One of our gorgeous customers the other day actually ordered the wrong size from us and we organised for her to post back her wrong sized item and as soon as we saw it was lodged with Australia Post we posted her the correct size and she received the new size before we even received the returned size. We’re all about convenience for our customers.
Thanks for chatting to me Tiaki!
Thank you so much Verity! I feel so privileged to be working with brands like yours (Dreamers & Drifters) that are doing amazing things for the world we live in and can’t wait to share many new projects and milestones with you as we progress throughout the next few months/years! Thanks again!