Systerly is a business collaboration between sisters Meli Axford and Angie Finn that connects women who want to buy equitable and sustainable fashion with a network of local makers.
Axford is a digital product designer with 15 years experience in startups and Angie is a fashion designer with 30 years experience in her field. Systerly does not outsource their production to factories. Instead, when orders are placed, they fill them with garments hand made by one of their many makers in Australia. These makers earn a living working at home with their families, producing quality clothes and being fairly paid.
When asked what inspired the collections, Finn said, “When I first started thinking about sustainable fashion I was focused on a model that found a balance between great jobs that people want, that are satisfying and pay well, alongside practices and materials that minimise harm to the environment.” Axford added, “It’s the amazing dresses I’ve had in the past and simply can’t buy again as fashion has moved on! It’s so annoying. These pieces are like jeans – you need to be able to buy them all the time.” While both are interested in fashion, Axfor finds her passion is more on the technological side. “I’ve been working in tech startups here and in the US and UK for 20 years and I wanted to build something that would leverage the latest technology to help regional women get work they enjoyed doing.”
Working to connect regional people and areas is also of great importance to the sisters. “I’ve worked remotely (both from home and as a digital nomad) for years shaping other people’s products and I wanted other women to have the opportunity to have that type of lifestyle.” Axford said, “People in metropolitan areas might not realise the limited options regional women have. Some small towns don’t even have good public transport let alone jobs that can lead to a rewarding career. Systerly is a chance for women with options to spend a small amount of their fashion budgets on a garment that creates options for their sisters in the country.”
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