Sophie Bird has many years in the fashion industry behind her, and is now owner of Wrecked Vintage in Coffs Harbour as well as designing her own line, Wrecked Boheme, and being mother to her young daughter. We spoke to her about past projects, her passion for fashion, and juggling business and family life.
Hi Sophie. What brought you to the Coffs Coast?
Hello! Business, love, and empty beaches. In that order! I saw an opportunity for my dream business in Coffs, I’d met a beautiful boy, and I could swim almost undisturbed at Moonee Beach; I was sold!
You have a long history in the fashion industry, which started at a very young age. Where did it all begin, and what sparked your interest in the fashion world?
So young that I don’t remember a time I wasn’t obsessed. I re-designed my high school’s uniform at 15, because I thought it wasn’t good enough, ha ha! I would spend every cent I made being a dishy on clothing. I’d draw designs after school, read fashion books, salivate over magazines and any fashion coverage; there was a whole channel dedicated to fashion on Foxtel when I was a teenager! I’ve always been obsessed.
What made you first consider fashion as a career path?
My parents always thought I’d go to uni – so did I, to be honest – but they had always said whatever makes you happy, do that. Then my beautiful dad had a serious accident, resulting in a brain injury, when I was 18, and any flutter of indecisiveness left me. I didn’t accept my uni offer to do social work, and I dug deep into doing whatever made me happy – which had always been clothes!
At 19 you had your own swimwear line. Why did you choose swimwear, and what were some of the hurdles you had to overcome getting it started?
My best friend and I just wanted to start something; we had met modelling and bonded over swim and design, so we just did! It was hard to be taken seriously being so young; also, working with overseas production fleeced us of plenty of money. After we brought production on shore, we had so much more control! We only stopped on a small technicality out of our control; it was such a beautiful time.
Where does the inspiration come from when designing a new range?
#1 Never trend based. I’m a Vintage LOVER, so I draw so much inspiration from eras that ignite my soul, the ’70s and ’90s do that for me. Also, as a woman, I want to design for women like me! A good outfit can change your whole outlook on life; I mean that seriously. There’s so much fast fashion designed for mass consumption by such a small percentage of body types; I design for real people. If I can see my best friends, my mumma, my best customers in a design, I’ll make it. If I trip up and can’t see them in it, it doesn’t make the final cut.
You have worked in numerous areas within the industry. What were some of the different ranges and types of apparel you worked on?
I’ve done it all! I’ve been in small fashion, huge fast fashion, writing for blogs, modelling, managing, designing, photography, styling, curating, marketing … everything!
I wanted to place myself broadly to reach the goal of owning my own company one day. Traditional education isn’t fast enough for me; I like to make decisions (and mistakes) and learn on the fly. I intentionally worked and lived my education to get to Wrecked Vintage.
You have a new line coming out in the coming months. Can you tell us a little about this?
I just launched Wrecked Boheme, a small, sustainably produced line inspired by the ’70s, freedom and versatility. Our second instalment of that is quickly approaching. Our first drop was received beautifully; I doubled the style options this time, from three to six. I will always keep quantities super limited; I run a sustainably focused business, so waste minimisation and conscious practices are hugely important to me. Wrecked Boheme pieces are made for the conscious consumer to pass on to the next generation; they’re designed to be timeless, and worn again, and again and again!
How do you find managing your time between running Wrecked Vintage, being a mum and starting up a label?
I try not to take it all too seriously. My partner, Sammy is great at reminding me to chill. The first two years were hard and hectic! I’d moved from Byron Bay, already pregnant (surprise!) to a fresh boyfriend, and a fresh business. So, I white knuckled it for the first bit! I managed through a huge amount of sickness in my pregnancy, strapped my baby girl, Tallow on my front after four weeks off and just took her to work with me. We formed a beautiful bond in that time. Now things have settled a bit, with the business heading into its third year; I get to be 110% present at work, and at home. It’s a nice balance; Sammy and Tallow keep me grounded. I’m a workaholic – without them I’d be a maniac, ha ha!
On my days off they keep me where I need to be, in the ocean, in the sun, in nature, with them. It’s a beautiful life.