ROWIE encapsulates the bohemian spirit of the magical Australian corner that is Byron Bay. First, we should probably tell you, there’s ROWIE the label, and Rowie Moore, Byron Bay native and the woman behind the label. We have yet to meet a Golden Edit girl who doesn’t get the appeal of the carefree pieces Rowie designs, season after season. You cannot pack a sunny suitcase without committing to one of her breezy dresses, feminine skirts, or easy linen numbers.
Entirely self-taught, Rowie has been cultivating her craft since her early teenage years, growing up on the north coast of New South Wales. Living at the “Oasis” in the terraced-lined streets of Sydney's Surry Hills in her youth – a long-standing share house that has been a haven for bohemian creatives since the 70’s – fueled Rowie’s artistic talents and creative drive. Since her early beginnings selling pieces at local markets, Rowie has been dedicated to small-scale production, not only reducing the environmental impact, but also ensuring that her manufacturing team is treated fairly.
Fresh from a family vacation that took her from Morocco to the Balearic islands, Rowie told us all about her upbringing, the slow and gradual evolution of her brand (no overnight success over here), and her creative journey.
Read on, and you may realize that her secret to success comes down to gratitude. Take a cue from the Aussie chill, we could all use a bit more of it.
YOU'RE SELF-TAUGHT AND HAVE BEEN DESIGNING SINCE YOUR TEENAGE YEARS. HOW DID GROWING UP IN A COMMUNITY OF CREATIVES SUPPORT YOUR DREAM TO CREATE ROWIE THE LABEL?
I am lucky I have always been surrounded by creative people, I come from a family of artists going back to my great grandparents so creativity has always been a natural part of life, something that was encouraged and always supported. Growing up, I was raised to believe I could do anything if I was committed to it and prepared to work hard. I was lucky to know many wise people who influenced the way I see the world and the decisions I make. This has definitely had a huge impact on my determination with the label, but ultimately I am passionately creative and as they say: where there's a will, there's a way.
TELL US ABOUT LIVING AT THE "OASIS" IN YOUR YOUTH. HOW DID THAT IMPACT YOU CREATIVELY?
At the "Oasis", I lived on the 5th floor of a terrace with 13 other artists. I shared the floor with my best friend. We had a bedroom each and a sewing room and spend our days making costumes from anything we could find. I made custom pieces for performers and artists I met and basically took each day as it came. It was a crazy fun time in my life.
CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH THE EVOLUTION OF ROWIE THE LABEL. YOU'VE GONE FROM SELLING AT LOCAL MARKETS TO AN ESTABLISHED BRAND SELLING GLOBALLY. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE VALUABLE LESSONS ALONG THE WAY?
I started making clothes when I was eight years old, growing up my mum was a passionate hippie, so everything was either handmade or hand me downs! I learned to sew early on as there was always a sewing machine in the house and my mother always encouraged my creativity. By the time I was fourteen, I was already selling my pieces. I had a little rack in my studio with styles I made that week which friends would come and buy, and gradually this grew and I started to do regular markets. I feel the label took off when I did my first production overseas, which allowed me to expand in ways I couldn't do with production in Australia. I started designing collections, as opposed to just making whatever I felt inspired to that week. It has been a slow but gradual evolution of the brand, and I have learned a lot along the way. I am super grateful for this journey.
YOU'RE A BYRON BAY NATIVE. HOW DO YOU SUMMER ALL-YEAR-ROUND THERE?
We are lucky to have such mild winters here in Byron so you can still enjoy the beach all year round. To be honest, I work a lot and so I try to enjoy the weekends as much as I can, and heading to the beach is the best way to unwind for me.
WHAT ARE SOME PLACES IN THE WORLD YOU STILL DREAM OF VISITING?
I just came back from holidays in Spain with my family. We went to Marrakesh which was wild, beautiful, and very inspiring! Before that, we were in the Balearic islands, which has been a dream for me to visit for a long time, and we had such a wonderful time.
I am always inspired when I travel. It is like food for the creative mind. I would love to explore more of Spain, and the coastline of Portugal next time.