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October 29, 2015

Career Path: Amy Roberts, life after Paris

In September of this year, Amy Roberts, director of ethically certified local fashion label, Vege Threads, successfully crowdfunded her way to Paris. She’s back now, so CityMag caught up with her to see what comes next.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Michelle Gan

It was only a few months ago that Amy Roberts of Vege Threads and Anny Duff (owner of B GOODS LABEL), were invited to exhibit at the Who’s Next Trade show, where the duo planned to take Australian-made ethical fashion to the world.

With only three weeks between their invitation to exhibit and the trade show, the pair rustled up $10,000 in donations (through a Pozible campaign), 50 newly made sample garments, countless sales packs, four plane tickets, and one freshly established swimwear line called Eco Swimwear by B GOODS & Vege Threads.

For Amy, it was a natural move – Paris is where her love affair with ethical fashion began.


‘The True Cost’ will screen at the Palace Nova Cinemas on November 2nd,  followed by a panel discussion by Amy Roberts, Dave Courts and Bindy Taylor.

Tickets available from the website.

Holidaying in Paris five years ago, a friend helped her set up an interview with a Parisian ethical fashion label.

They asked if she wanted to stay in Paris and work for them, and she did, returning to Adelaide 10 months later to work for a local commercial fashion house.

“It wasn’t my cup of tea at all. It wasn’t something that I was passionate about,” Amy explains.

And so Vege Threads was born.

Fast forward five or so years, and here Amy is: just returned from Paris again, and ready to tackle life with newfound knowledge and life experience.

Though it was quite an effort to get herself there the second time, she crammed in 6 months worth of work into those three weeks prepping between the invitation and her departure.

“We managed to re-shoot a new collection, made new samples, and then all of the selling side of everything. There were a lot of long nights,” Amy says.

Though Vege Threads didn’t exactly sell like hot cakes in Paris, the designer says that wasn’t her goal for the trip.

“Because it was our first time, it does take being there a couple of times for buyers to get familiar with you. In terms of getting orders there, that wasn’t really the main focus,” said Amy.

“It was more about engaging with stores and following that up.”

Though the trade show was quite a deal bigger than expected and was occupied by much less ethically conscious brands than she had assumed, Amy says it was an invaluable experience that allowed her the opportunity to stand back and appreciate the business that she has built in Australia.

“Though it wasn’t really the purpose of going, I ended up having a lot of realisations and feelings, like ‘bigger’ isn’t always necessarily the biggest success that you need.

“The way that I structure my business and my ethos means that selling 90 percent in Australia and having a few stores overseas is actually enough for me. I don’t need a global scale – I don’t necessarily know if that aligns with Vege Threads.”

It was a trip that afforded her invaluable introspect, and that’s something that she’s taken home with her and applied to her business and life.

With her feet firmly planted back on local soil, Amy is already building from the experience and is making her next move.

“I am going to be working a lot more with collaborating with other people,” Amy says, “I have quite a few projects in the pipeline that are not necessarily to do with fashion at all.”


One project that does include fashion is the panel that she will be speaking on this Monday night following the screening of ‘The True Cost’ documentary at Palace Nova, organised by Beneath The Seams.

The panel will discuss where the ethical movement sits in the Adelaide community, how people can be a part of that community, and why it is possible to have ethical clothing labels in Adelaide.

Amy says education about ethical clothing is really important, and that it is something that she has been passionate about for a long time, especially in face-to-face settings.

“Connecting people in the real world is really important. Social media is so great, there’s an amazing community that’s building, but we’ve got to kind of pull people out of that sometimes and remind them that real life is really important,” Amy explains.

And that’s the aim of the screening – to bring the community together.


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