Tracy Wright is the owner of Raw Fibre, a unique label manufacturing garments using beautiful natural fibres. Tracy’s garments are designed and handmade locally. The Armidale Business Chamber had the pleasure of sitting down with Mrs Wright for a chat.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the Armidale region?
'I grew up on a property near Narrabri, and came to Armidale to go to Uni where I completed a Bachelor of Science and a Grad Diploma of Education. After several years of teaching Science I met my now husband, who grew up near Armidale, when we were living in Wee Waa. We moved back to Armidale in 2000. We have 2 teenage daughters and live on a property between Guyra and Ebor.'
You once were a science teacher, but now you make beautiful garments for a living. How do you follow a part time passion and turn it into a full time business?
'Whilst Science teaching seems worlds apart from what I do now, sewing is something I have always done. I have sewn since I was a small child, it has always been my passion. When we first moved to Armidale I was sewing a lot and ended up teaching Textiles at a local school for 8 years. During this time, I still sewed for people and often thought about how I could turn my passion for design and garment creation into a full-time career. At the end of 2016 I left my job and created my brand label Raw Fibre, a unique label which, as the name suggests focuses on designing and manufacturing garments using beautiful natural fibres.'
Why have you chosen to design and manufacture using the slow fashion philosophy? How do you maintain this ethical approach in a globalised economy?
'People are becoming increasingly frustrated with the unethical way in which global manufacturers are pushing ‘fast fashion’ onto consumers. They bring out new products weekly which are considered ‘on trend’. However, they are out of fashion almost as quickly as they appear. The ‘slow fashion’ movement is looking at a more functional and ethical approach to fashion where we are not as concerned with what is considered to be fashionable at the time, rather to provide our customers with a quality product that is ethically made and will last more than one season. I am aiming to produce quality garments in beautiful natural fibres which are classic, but have points of unique difference from other brands. I now make most of the garments here in Armidale which is a huge distinction that people are starting to appreciate, because what they are buying is truly local.'
What is the one piece of business advice you would give your past self?
'Plan everything! And never be afraid to seek guidance from a variety of people.'
You recently joined the Armidale Business Chamber, what is it that made you decide to join and what are you hoping to get out of the Chamber?
'I joined the Chamber to meet other local business people, and to establish a network to share ideas and draw experiences from. I was also keen to be involved in and learn from the many events that the Chamber offers in the way of speakers, workshops and other forums.'
What does the future hold for Tracy Wright and Raw Fibre?
'I hope that Raw Fibre continues to grow and evolve with the changing needs of my clients. I am also keen to distribute my label Raw Fibre to a selected number of small boutiques throughout Australia. We have a few exciting developments in the pipeline and I am looking forward to seeing these come to fruition in the coming months.'