The story of how the beautiful brand Wunderlang came about is a wonderful one. Andrea is so mindful and so respectful towards everything life has to offer. The simplicity she seeks in her surroundings, the way she loves the outdoors, the loving manner in which she speaks of her family… The respectfulness with which she treats preloved fabrics and garments, which are no longer useable because of tears or flaws — deconstructing them and giving the fabrics a second life as beautiful children’s clothing. Read her humbling answers to our questions below, and get inspired!
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and about your family.
I live with my husband Mike, 3 year old Rudy and dog Jackson in an old converted barn in the countryside in the north of England. Not far from the northwest coast and close to where I grew up. We both work from home, I have a studio and Mike has a separate workshop for his leather business Lang Made. We are lucky to live on a big plot of land and grow a lot of fruit, apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberry and tomatoes. Jam making and baking are my other favourite pastimes.
Mike and I met in London, 14 years ago (which sounds much longer than it feels). I was working as a Fashion Designer, a job which has allowed us to travel a lot. We have lived in London, New York, then Italy, in a little town called Modena where they make balsamic vinegar (for which I will forever be addicted to).
After the birth of our son Rudy we really started looking for a slower pace of life, we considered settling in Austria in the Tirolean mountains where Mike is from. However, I longed to be closer to my family especially during the early years of raising my own, so we moved here and set up our businesses.
2. Tell us a little bit about your brand and how you came to create your label.
Working in the fashion industry for many years, sadly you see first hand the wastefulness of the business, and the exploitation of people. Having a child sent my eco consciousness into overdrive. We wear mainly vintage clothes but it was difficult for me to source these pieces at a high quality and fast enough for our growing child.
So I made it my mission to source garments made from natural fibers, which were no longer wearable due to tears or flaws. I set about deconstructing them and making them into children’s clothes. Effectively saving them from the landfill. It was a solution to a problem for me. Of course it is much more time consuming process, but it is very rewarding knowing we are helping not hindering the planet with what we make. Plus our kid looks pretty cool in the process. Fabric takes on such a beautiful quality if it has already been used. Softened, sunbleached, loved. All the qualities we adore.
Like many small businesses, I run the day to day aspects, emails, ordering, website updates, social media (which drives me bananas), plus the garment making. I have a lady who helps me sewing and a lady who knits for me. I would be lost without them. It is not that I am adverse to working with factories… But I feel, unless I am actually on the premises, how can I be 100% confident there is no exploitation of workers? Mike helps me out with the product photography for the website as well as making the hats too. He is a highly skilled carpenter which lends itself to being useful when you need a hat block carving once in a while.
3. What is important to you when designing your products?
I use my creativity to think of alternative ways to create the products, designed to maximum the use of the fabric in each garment and avoid waste. Fabric and colour are of upmost importance. Comfort and function are really all that matters for the child. So these are the things which are most important to the design process. True to our heritage, our styling is an eclectic mix of English and Austrian. Focus is on timeless pieces, which can be worn year round. Many of our Wunderlang garments are adjustable to add to the length of wear. You should be confident when you buy something from us that it is an investment and we hope you keep it in your family for future generations.
4. Where do you look for design inspiration?
We spend a lot of time outdoors, so I suppose the seasons effect my approach on colour and choice of fabrics to work with in that moment. For example as we head into autumn, I feel for warmer, rich tones of conker and rust, soft baby cord and cosy organic merino wool. Where as in the summer, shades of neutral silk feel more relevant.
5. What is your current favourite product in your collection?
My favourite piece is the Heritage Cardigan, a style which we launched a year ago, which we have just released in a yarn made from recycled jeans. I love everything about it the concept through to the end result. It is the epitomy of our brand.
Wunderlang is a much valued member of our shopping portal — you can find their profile page here!
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