Aura Studios makes clothes inspired by the Bauhaus movement

Words by Indah Dwyer

And sources buttons from seeds.

The fashion world has been busy over the years, dealing with a reckoning in the industry and trying to transition into a slower model.

Designer Hannah Culshaw has also been busy: Re-establishing the loss of connection we have to our clothing from her home studio in Sydney.

Hannah created label AURA studios in August of this year. It is an extension of her Honours project, which means she has already put in the hard yards when it comes to defining the ethos of her brand.

This understanding of AURA is evident when she speaks about it.

“My design ethos is driven by my interests and executed by my values. I want to change people’s relationship to clothes,” Hannah explains.

For some, graduating university symbolises a blissful concoction of laziness and parties and figuring it out. But for Hannah, the end of her time as UTS design school symbolised the beginning of her career.

“It was a natural progression for me,” she says. “I always wanted to have a business, so I saw this as an opportunity to use all of the research I have done in my Honours collection and apply it to the new research I learnt in the industry.”

The resulting synthesis of these learning experiences is Aura Studios.

It is clear when talking to her that she views the world she inhabits through a unique lens. A quality that is essential yet natural to her as a designer.

She sees shape, design and value everywhere.

“This perspective would be a gesture towards my interests in the Bauhaus movement,” she muses.

The Bauhaus movement, formed in the 1920s, focused on a new look at art in Germany after the seismic geopolitical and social shifts of the First World War. Like Hannah, this movement is concerned with functionality and simplicity of form.

“I have looked at the Bauhaus methodology throughout my process. Looking at how it translates onto fashion as something powerful to hold longevity,” Hannah explains.

She notes this as an important way in which she can contribute to lowering her environmental impact of the industry.

“I think it is important just looking at the current situation of our environment. Everyone has an action they can take,” Hannah explains.

“For buttons I use seeds from the earth, they look like normal buttons but are biodegradable. I also use biodegradable elastic.”

And those classic block colours on AURA designs are all created from deadstock and natural fabrics, while the dye is plant-based and hand dyed.

Another important aspect of ethical fashion for Hannah is the sustainable wardrobe.

She advises us to look a more closely at our wardrobe, pull stuff out and inspect it. If it is broken, turn to friends that could help you fix it. Create time and conversations around practising longevity.

“Creating your sustainable wardrobe is all about looking at longevity through quality. Investing in a product is knowledge. If you know about a garment there is so much more knowledge there and that is value.”

All of what Hannah speaks towards is an example of how slow fashion is becoming a design revolution. Something – finally –  that is an alternative to our obsession with speed.

Like the Bauhaus method redefining how design can influence a society and transcend generations, Hannah is fashioning the future by challenging the way it’s been done before.

“Being able is utilise waste is really powerful, I think it is so simple. If it is already in our world, why not use it?”


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