Island Vibes - Bali
Fumie and I talk to each other most every day for inspiration, conscious gossip and general style talk, but we are always trying to carve time out in our calendars to visit new places together that spark creativity and inspire our nomad style.
I had always wanted to go to Bali and knew it would be magical to travel there with Fumie. As well as immerse ourselves in island life, we wanted inspiration for our capsule collection and I had a couple photo shoot ideas in mind. I was excited to work with Mika again; she was the first model we ever shot in Goa and she has now settled in Bali with her family.
Fumie had been to Bali many years ago but it was a distant memory and so we wanted to discover it again together and see how the island vibe could be infused into our next conscious collection of slow fashion.
Bali is mystical – it’s a place of lush nature, sacred temples, water and fire – from the magical Pura Gunung Kawi temple in the jungle to the imposing volcano. Our clothes are always inspired by the colours of the natural world around us - tourmaline and smokey grey – indigo and olive. In Bali, there was so much green it was intoxicating. We finalised the colour palette for our SS20 collection while we were there. I loved the intricate craftsmanship of the carved temples and even my carved four-poster bed – it evokes Bohemian dreams!
Our ethos has always been adventure - so we need to keep going off road to keep the vibe alive. We headed to a tree house hideaway in the middle of nowhere. I think we both really like to get off the beaten track and go back to our travellers lifestyle roots – essentially we met on the road as nomads and this inspired our nomadic collection of clothes. It took us 3 hours by motorbike to get to our jungle hideaway through rice fields and up steep mountain slopes - I loved the journey as much as the destination. And it was quite hilarious riding back down the mountain in a huge rain storm as we had to go catch our flight, so our style! And it was a luxury tree house obviously – the very beautiful Haromy Tree House at Alassari Plantation, Selemadeg – it had stunning views of the forest canopy and was only accessible from a 50m suspension bridge! I love wearing a silk dress and walking bare foot amidst the trees!
Slow Fashion – Conscious Food
For us, cake is also quite important! When we are together we basically can’t start work without the best tea and cake! Our favourite raw vegan cake fix on this trip came from Sayuri in Ubud - every cake they served or plate of food came with edible flowers. I also loved the Balinese sweets served up with amazing coffee at Café Seniman.
In Ubud, we stayed in a place where we had our own super sweet pagoda in the back yard – this was our little studio where Fumie spent time sketching. You’ll see in some of our pictures here, Fumie sketching snakes - this is for a new capsule collection we are doing for SS20; it will be our first print series for garments and is inspired by our popular Serpent silk scarf. We wanted to bring a print that was subtle, sleek and sophisticated. We love the images we’ve curated for our silk scarf designs and we’re excited to start taking those prints into our silk dress collection. You can also see a sneak peak of a new kaftan that we are adding to the collection that Fumie is wearing in some of the pagoda photos.
We did several photo shoots around Bali. I wanted to capture our island vibe clothes on sun-kissed limbs and we are really lucky to know a nomadic band of photographers and travelling models – kindred spirits all inspired by travel and the world around us. We met up with Mika again in Ubud – who was the very first model we ever worked with in Goa – a little serendipity. We wandered the streets of Ubud with her amidst the exotic flowers, red stone temples and lush greenery. We literally just stepped out of our hotel and walked – it mirrored the shoot we did with her many years ago on the streets of Goa.
We headed to the stunning boutique resort Bambu Indah which seems to rise up out of the land with stunning sustainable structures like the Moon House camouflaged by the jungle canopy. It was a beautiful backdrop for our shoot with the enigmatic Anna Semak – we captured an iconic shot of her in our masala tie-dye in a spiral swing chair.
You never quite know where you are going to end up – and we went to meet the beautiful Nahal (who we had wanted to shoot for a long time) at an abandoned hotel for a very different island vibe shoot.
Morocco is the next place on our wish list – again for the colour and the architechture – the arches and curves. We want to get lost in the souks and be inspired by textures and hues. But I’d also like to to return to Bali with my children - my little boy Max loves volcanoes. I’m lucky as I spend a lot of time in Goa; Fumie spends a lot of time in London and it is important for her to get out of the mindset of a London designer and tune into art, nature and sustainability. The pace of life in Bali inspires our slow fashion ethic and our sketchbooks soon filled up with sketches of silk dresses and Bohemian separates mixed up with temple buildings and wildlife drawings. Bali ignited the creative spark.
Bali is the perfect place to wear FARA’s bohemian style and sexy silk dresses because you can wear everything in the collection. The Balinese people are relaxed and being bare on the shoulders or back was never an issue. The LANA JUMPSUIT was my go to on the trip because we were riding bikes so that was great for hoping on and off. The ZEN MAXI SHADOW TIE DYE was super cool to wear and I wore that in the evenings sometimes layered with the RAW SILK MIDI KIMONO.