Ashley Freeman was driven to create a corporate clothing line for women that was beautiful, timeless and luxurious but offered comfort and versatility.
Inspired by her frustration with the lack of corporate women’s wear available in stores, she founded The Aurum Collective. “I would often walk into Myer or David Jones looking for suits and you go to the men’s floor and they would have a whole floor dedicated to just suits, whereas on the women’s floor you would find maybe one or two suits,” Freeman recalled. “It was not only difficult to find beautiful, functional suits but it was also difficult to find any corporate attire.”
Freeman grew up immersed in the fashion industry with her family garage doubling as the design studio for her mother’s children’s clothing line. “I spent a lot of my childhood in there with my mum watching her design children’s clothes, sew them, source fabrics and my brother and I often acted as her little child models.”
When Freeman left high school, she pursued a career in law, which led her to spend her days in court. “I spent most of the early years of my career in a courtroom, and in court, you obviously need to wear a suit.” She began to develop frustration with the clothing available for female professionals. “I found that I would need to walk up to two kilometres in a suit and high heels dragging a large suitcase of court files with me; the outfits were just not comfortable or practical for those occasions; they might look good but weren’t functional.”
Freeman could not find a single suit or corporate line that understood and was able to combine functionality as well as style; it was one or the other, which was when she began to develop the interest in starting her own clothing line. “There wasn’t much movement in the way of women’s corporate clothing attire, but the number of female professionals and entrepreneurs was skyrocketing. It just didn’t make sense to me that there wasn’t balance with the men’s corporate clothing industry and the female’s corporate clothing industry.” She wanted to ensure that no matter what industry women worked in, they would feel confident, comfortable, beautiful and feminine. “I wanted to develop a range of work wear staples of superb quality, that could last a lifetime; the style needed to be timeless and sophisticated.”
The luxe factor comes from the premium Australian merino wool used for the outer fabric and the inner linings created out of Italian Viscose, a plant based material. Together they create a wonderful blend that is comfortable, flexible and breathable for everyday functionality.
The Aurum Collective seasons are themed — the first was The Travel Collection. It is inspired by the jet setting business woman, Freeman explains, “outfits that would be comfortable enough to wear on long haul flights but stylish enough to wear into meetings”.
The second season is The Tuxedo Collection, comprising “beautiful feminine suits women would be proud to wear to red carpet events but comfortable enough to wear in the workplace. If I had to pick a favourite season this would
Readers also enjoyed this story about designer Pam Easton.