As part of our founder interview series, we speak with Asmuss founders Clare and Fiona about the inspiration behind their collection.
Asmuss is the creation of two sisters, Clare and Fiona. What inspired you to team up and create Asmuss together?
We were inspired to start Asmuss because we wanted to do it all when we travelled. We wanted to hike in the Torres del Paine, walk the Inca trail, visit art galleries, dine at the best restaurants, drink the local wine and do everything in between.
While organising ourselves for our six-month adventure around Latin America and Europe we found it difficult to find clothing that also did it all.
Although it’s easy to find functional adventure clothing, clothing that is functional, has technical benefits, is well-designed specifically for women, and, stylish, and ethically produced is not.
Conveniently we also have quite complementary skills. Clare has the design & textile science skills and Fiona has the commercial skills & travel industry experience.
What were you doing before you launched Asmuss?
Before launching Asmuss Clare worked as designer in London, mostly menswear, and Fiona had been working & consulting on frequent flyer programmes in New Zealand.
Why is it important to you that sustainability is at the core of Asmuss?
Sustainability is at the core of Asmuss because we believe it is an important way to respect the places we visit and the people we meet. Looking after our planet and people is something we can all do if we just think a bit more about what and why we buy.
What makes the fabrics and materials you use special?
We have spent a lot of time and effort sourcing our fabrics. Our fabrics are fabrics that provide benefits to the wearer, such as being temperature regulating or helping reduce odour, as well as looking and feeling great when they are worn.
One of our fabrics uses 37.5® Technology that helps regulate body temperature through the use of activated carbon from volcanic sand and coconut shells. Another fabric EVO™ is made from castor bean oil.
We think that having the combination of technical and sustainable fabrics is pretty special too.
Asmuss is meant to provide functional, yet fashionable adventure clothing. Where do you get your style inspiration, and who do you envision wearing your brand?
Asmuss is made for women with a spirit of adventure. Strong, independent women who like to get outdoors, explore new cities, countries and landscapes and experience everything the world has to offer. They want a travel wardrobe that will do it all and still look stylish.
All our pieces have to be functional enough to use for multiple situations when traveling and also be interestingly designed. So, Clare loves looking to places she’s travelled to, the experiences she had while there, and the countries cultural heritage. She then blends in the functional aspects we want in the garments. The garments contain interesting pattern cutting details and a twist to the design. The fit and style has to make the women feel great when wearing our pieces so that they can enjoy their travel experiences even more.
What is your favourite outfit to wear, and where will we find you wearing it?
Clare: My favourite outfit changes depending on the weather, but I really do love our Pleated Culottes and Boxy Tee. I love that I have felt fabulous wearing them to art gallery openings and also hiked through the NZ bush in them.
Fiona: The Asymmetric Pleated Dress is my favourite. You can truly wear it anywhere, I’ve even worn it to board meetings with men all in their suit and ties! I love it in both fabric options but I especially like how the Pine Green version made in the Tencel/Recycled Polyester blend moves so beautifully.
“Ethical fashion” is an extremely broad topic. What does ‘ethical fashion’ mean to you?
To us ‘ethical fashion’ means that everyone involved in the process from conception through making and final end customer are treated with respect.
To us it seems that a lot of people forget that there are actual human beings that make their clothes, or at least don’t think about what it means to the people making their inexpensive clothing.
What do you look for in other clothing brands that you support?
We look for brands that are able to demonstrate that they are taking sustainability and ethics seriously even if they are just starting the journey.
We know, from our own experience, that being sustainable and ethical is not an easy journey but a necessary one and we are happy to support any brand that is working towards becoming more sustainable.
How do you try and live more sustainably in your own personal life?
We try to avoid buying things in plastic, recycle as much as possible and compost as much as possible (this is a little easier in NZ where I have a small fruit & vegetable garden), and wash clothes in cold water.
From a purely fashion perspective we are trying to wear sustainable brands as much of possible and also wear “vintage” that is handed down from our mother who has a fabulous style that doesn’t date.
Lastly, how would you like to see Asmuss expand in the future?
We would like to see Asmuss help even more women to experience all the wonders that are out there. We also intend to keep moving on our sustainability journey.