18 Aug RR Around the World: Australia with Christine Lafian
THE HEAVY DUTY GIRLBOSS BEHIND SUKU HOME, AN ETHEREAL & LUSTWORTHY LINE OF HOMEWARES, BEDDING & TEXTILES. WITH HER LABEL BASED IN MELBOURNE & CRAFTED IN BALI, CHRISTINE LAFIAN DEFINES HOW ETHICS, CREATIVITY & CAPITAL INTERTWINE THROUGH SUKU.
Could you share how SUKU began, how it has grown & what has it taught you?
SUKU started as an organic collaboration between myself and my oma in Bali. She worked in the garment industry, and has always seen the potential in me to pursue my own brand. Eventually one day, her and my grandpa sat me down and planted the idea in my head. I owe all of my success to her and the people in our Bali studio. It has since grown from being my side project (that I worked on after hours and on weekends) to being my full-time gig. The process has taught me a lot, but I guess the two most important lessons I’ve learned is that… you will never work for nothing – every job or project that you’re experiencing, whether it’s big or small, is preparing you for something bigger in the future.. so you’ll never be working for nothing. The other lesson is what my opa said to me before he passed away ‘It works if you work it”.
Does your upbringing in Indonesia contribute to SUKU in any way?
Totally, it’s the inspiration behind each collection in some way or another.
How do you pick up design inspirations & translating them into a collection?
I day dream a lot, and I don’t go too far finding a topic to work with. Each collection comes from a familiar topic that’s close to my heart.
Looking at your collections & campaigns, there have been some mood changes going on, but what’s the cohesive concept that you’ll keep along with SUKU’s growth?
It’ll always have that familiar feeling of ‘home’. It’ll always have a traditional but modern feel to it, because it’ll always have a part of myself in it. I read somewhere, “tradition is who you are, and modern is the way you think.” It has since been my mantra for SUKU.
Behind SUKU’s stylish & ethereal products, there’s a line of ethical & fair business model that supports Bali’s local craftsmanship, could you tell us more about it?
We work with local Balinese women from a studio in Denpasar. These people have worked with us since day one. We’ve multiplied in size but never lost a member. We’re like a small family now!
Regarding the overlooked side of running business, what’s the importance of incorporating creativity and capital?
I always believe that if someone is creative, they can succeed in everything in life and business, because they’ll find a creative or alternative way to gain their capital. So yeah, it works if you work it!
Do you have any advice for women who’d like to start their own business esp. in the creative industry?
Work for a company or brand that uses a system you can see yourself using – learn from it. Coming up with idea is easy, but maintaining it is harder, because you need a system to keep it going. Find a good example and use it as your model.
How’s the current creative and beauty industries drive in Australia?
Really good! I love that even with the introduction of a lot of major retailers like Zara, Cos, Top shop, etc., it has motivated the local creatives to step up their game. It didn’t top us, it only motivated us more.
Trends aside, how do you prefer your beauty routine?
As simple as possible.
The SUEDED shades that represent you best?