The divinity of the female form has long been an influence in fashion design- creatives have paid homage to the beauty of women for centuries. This devotion to the feminine is perfectly embodied in Australian fashion designer Ebony Eagles’ luxe bohemè creations. Thirty-four-year-old Eagles is the Head Designer and Creative Director for Byron Bay-based fashion label- Auguste.
Under the sun-laced skies of Byron Bay - the most easterly point of Australia – a melting pot of creative talent is emerging onto the fashion landscape. A new wave of conscious-minded designers are expressing their love for fashion, which is synonymous with their love for the colour-drenched environment that they live in. Ebony Eagles’ vibrant designs for Auguste are an illustration of this fusion of creativity with environmental beauty. In its third year of life, Auguste is already creating an international stir.
Growing up surrounded by the exquisite natural beauty of Byron Bay, Eagles is the epitome of a creative manifestation of her environment. “I grew up in Byron and self-expression through fashion has always been such a prevalent theme here. For me there has always been a strong lifestyle element, inspired by what I’m currently immersed in… I love designing pieces for special moments.”
Born in Melbourne, Eagles made the transition north with her family to the small coastal town of Byron Bay when she was six years old. “Byron has such a creative community which constantly inspires me. Growing up here has definitely influenced my designs, we were encouraged to be free spirits and that we were!”
The gypsy spirit and bohemian soul that Byron Bay embodies is clearly alive in Ebony’s designs. Auguste’s ultra-feminine pieces possess fresh florals, statement prints and floaty silhouettes inspired by the fashion of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The laid-back and effortless style of 70’s muses such as Stevie Nicks, Bridgette Bardot and Joni Mitchel echo through Eagles’ designs. “There was something about their attitudes that allowed them to wear quite intense outfits but they never seemed too deliberate or overdressed.” Auguste is boho-chic at its finest, with a carefree attitude that fuses sophistication with cool, romantic glamour and a bohemian heart.
Eagles' passion for clothing design began in her childhood. She produced her first piece of clothing, a skirt, at eight years old. “My late grandmother would spend hours teaching me how to stitch and use a sewing machine. It wasn’t long before I was making my own clothes.”
Completely self-taught, Eagles plunged into the fashion industry at the age of twenty-two with the birth of her first label, Ebony Eve, in 2005. “I made and learnt from all of the mistakes in the book… school of life.” Ebony Eve saw success within Australia and internationally, though eventually the designer’s style began to evolve and Auguste was launched in 2014. “I came to the point where I had naturally started designing pieces with a more relaxed and bohemian feel to them- and I realised I had created an entirely different label. From there Auguste was born and it has been an amazing adventure so far!”
Auguste launched their concept store and first branded space in Byron Bay this year. With the philosophy of “wear what makes you feel beautiful,” Auguste brings a collection of dreamy day dresses, bohemian blouses, bright ensembles, stunning wrap-dresses and skirts designed for “the best times in our lives”. Think balmy tropical nights, salty days by the sea, summer festivals and trips down long open roads. Auguste’s latest collections encapsulate this philosophy. “With each collection I have had a better feel for who the Auguste Girl is and what she feels best in. Our most recent collections focus heavily on the marriage of silhouette and those small design details which make a piece feel really special.”
Growing up in Byron Bay gave Eagles an appreciation for the natural environment and the importance of sustainable production. In a world where sustainability is becoming a prominent theme, Byron-based Auguste HQ promotes eco-friendly practices with the use of all-natural cleaning products, recycled paper, composting and encouraging staff to cycle to and from work. Auguste strives to ensure that as little waste as possible is created from their production process- with the use of primarily seaweed based dyes and the recycling of all off-cuts to make kids' clothes. “Our HQ has gone plastic-free and we’re currently planning some pretty exciting eco initiatives and a very special partnership- so watch this space!”
As well as promoting eco-friendly work practices, Auguste is in the midst of designing a tote bag with 100% of all proceeds going to the charity, International Animal Rescue. The organisation rescues suffering animals from around the globe. Their work includes freeing and rehabilitating dancing bears from India and rescuing primates from captivity in Indonesia. “Having lived in Bali for nearly a decade, helping these sorts of animals is something I am really passionate about. Animals are home to me and within my lifetime I hope to make a difference for as many suffering creatures as possible.”
Mother to daughters Frankie and Coco, Eagles is part of the long list of successful women who are juggling their career with motherhood. The designer’s biggest challenge has been managing her global office from Bali, before making the move back to Byron Bay this year.
With exciting new endeavors in the pipeline and Auguste Swim dropping, the world and the salty haven of Byron Bay really are Eagles' oyster. Auguste continues to create pieces for "the girl with the moon on her mind and the salt water in her soul". The ultra-chic label is paving the way for the wild-hearted. In the words of Fleetwood Mac, “to a room with some lace and paper flowers, back to the gypsy that I was".