We were introduced to our friend Anita Ghise through our sister Luciana - the two met at a New Year's party back in 2014 and were inseparable from the minute they met! Anita has been our muse for many years, you would see a million photos of her wandering the Byron markets in Spell on Pinterest, noticed her beautiful back tattoo, seen her when she was a store Angel at our store in Byron, and of course she's one of our festival posse always styling up our pieces so beautifully (she even wore a wedding dress to Bluesfest one year!).
At every step along the way we discovered how deep and passionate Anita’s drive is for making a difference in the fashion space and we’ve been cheering along from the sidelines as she made the next leap into creating her own sustainably focussed fashion label - ANDEAN COLLECTIVE with her friend and business partner Ursula Yraola, a slow fashion label that celebrates the techniques of makers in Peru with embroidered details, beautiful organic yarns and more.
Anita has shared her experiences of starting her own fashion label in her own words and we’re so thankful that she’s shared this journey for our Spell community so she can continue to inspire our Spell community.
Read on below x
Our story began in Byron Bay with a dream: to create pieces inspired by nature, that combined the two beautiful cultures of Australia and Peru into sustainable designs to be loved for seasons to come. ANDEAN COLLECTIVE is a small, ethical brand creating contemporary luxury pieces that can stand alone or be mixed and matched with the rest of your wardrobe.
Born from a common respect for the environment and the people who inhabit it, Andean works towards creating high-quality products using nature's finest materials while ensuring we replenish the resources we use. Through integrity and transparency, Andean seeks to create a future in which fashion supports a thriving planet. Through Andean Collective we hope to set an example in the fashion industry, by designing pieces that align ethics and aesthetics, encouraging a more conscious lifestyle. All of our pieces are handmade with love in Peru, highlighting how our unique, timeless garments can outshine industrially, mass-produced products. We aim to combine traditional embroidery that has been practised in the Peruvian culture for decades with modern designs to bring you your forever favourites.
We work predominantly with strong women, from our local team here in Byron Bay to our beautiful Artisans in Peru. We are very proud to be able to encourage them in their creative endeavours, supporting their families and working towards their goals. Our pieces are an ode to the strong women who inspire us every day, from the creators to those who wear our creations.
We hope that you feel empowered by wearing our garments and that they will remain a much-loved part of your wardrobe forever.
Fabrics & Fibres:
We believe that in order to be an ethical brand aspiring towards sustainability, it all starts with the fabrics and fibres we use and how they are sourced. As a slow fashion brand, we are dedicated to creating high-quality, low-impact, long-lasting designs that will be cherished for seasons to come. We use beautifully textured raw materials to create effortless, chic clothing for everyday wear. Our fabrics are of the highest quality and are sourced sustainably. We source our alpaca wool and organic cotton from the Peruvian Andes. Alpaca wool is softer, lighter, warmer and more breathable than most other wools. It is considered to be a renewable and eco-friendly fibre and is believed to be one of the greenest fibres on the planet.
*No animals are ever harmed in our production processes.
Meet Ursula Yraola, our amazing Peruvian born business manager and co-founder. Ursula spent most of her life in Peru, living between the cities of Cusco and Lima before relocating to Byron Bay on the beautiful east coast of Australia. Ursula has a great understanding of both places, their traditions and values and works to integrate these two incredible cultures into all aspects of our business.
Coming from a background in Architecture and running her own studio in Lima straight out of University, Ursula's in-depth business knowledge and amazing eye for detail is the backbone behind Andean Collective. Her love of art, design and the environment is what inspired her to create a sustainable brand that transcends trends whilst still acknowledging them.
Meet Anita Ghise, our beautiful designer, creative director and co-founder. Anita spent most of her childhood growing up in Germany as a refugee after fleeing communist dictatorship in Romania with her parents. As a refugee, Anita didn’t have the money to buy clothes so she designed her own pieces which her Aunts and Grandmother would then sew for her. She rummaged through flea markets, altering pieces herself on her little sewing machine. Straight out of school Anita began her career in fashion, from modelling to working as a seamstress and as fashion buyer, Anita quickly became a regular on the fashion scene.
Anita completed a fashion design degree in Buenos Aires, Argentina alongside a diploma in shoemaking. While working for several international fashion brands, Anita has continued to further her studies in marketing, business and project management. She has always been a passionate advocate for the environment and conscious living, combined with her love of fashion is what inspired her to create Andean Collective alongside Ursula and Lucia.
Meet Lucia Mercon, our gorgeous partner and co-founder. Based in Lima, Lucia works alongside our Peruvian artisans supporting them from start to finish. She has run multiple businesses in Cusco and Lima for many years which has given her a deep understanding and love for the people, the culture and the traditions which enables her to communicate the ideas of our business respectfully.
Lucia seeks to create a better future for Peru by supporting the creation of good jobs, skilled workers and positive work environments for artisans. We work predominantly with female artisans as we seek to create financial independence and empowerment for women in Peru.
Our Bangalow Store:
We would love to meet you! Please come and visit us at our Bangalow Studio, we are there every day from 10 am-3 pm, just opposite the Woods Cafe. Here, we offer inhouse alterations and customisations of our pieces to ensure they fit you perfectly and will remain the most treasured items in your wardrobe for years to come.
As each of our designs are handmade, we only offer a limited stock of each design. Popular styles do sell out quickly, please bear with us if your size is not available online. We are always working to restock as fast as possible however, we are a small brand with a strong focus on creating sustainable, high-quality designs which can take time. We currently offer sizes XS - L and a made-to-order option on our woven fabrics and hand-knitted pieces. We are working towards providing more inclusive sizing because Andean is for every woman.
With love to Anita, Ursula and Lucia of ANDEAN COLLECTIVE
Photography in Peru by Gihan Tubbeh @gihantubbeh
Photography in Bangalow store by Tom Paterson @tompaterson_nz
Campaign photography by Alisha Tinsley @alishatinsley