There’s a raw, bohemian vibe drifting through fashion at the moment. You can see it in the return of Birkenstocks and flares. You can hear it in the sounds of Beach House and Tame Impala. But why should grown-ups have all the fun? For Kelly-Lee Wright, founder of children’s clothing label Feather Drum, the spirit of the ‘70s offers endless inspiration for kids too.
“That era is a huge influence on my collections,” she agrees. “Not only is lived-in, hippie style my favourite look, I also really appreciate the values of the counterculture… peace, love, happiness and respect for the planet… I believe they’re more important today than ever.”
For mums tired of fairies and Frozen, dinosaurs and robots, Feather Drum offers something different: rumpled, wanderlust-y gear that’ll only look better rubbed in dirt, splattered in mud and dried in daydreams.
For Kelly, mum of Willow, 3, the path to becoming a mother is something she particularly treasures. “At 20 I was told I couldn’t have kids,” she says. “I immersed myself into my career as a corporate lawyer in London – and very much lived the life of a big-city high-flyer. Having a family of my own was never something I imagined until I moved to Australia in 2010. One day I woke up and realised I was at peace with myself. Of course, my calm was completely upended when I discovered, against all odds, that I was pregnant!”
Leaving her former career behind to launch Feather Drum from her Sydney home felt like a natural progression – but the change in hours wasn’t something she expected. “I thought I’d have way shorter days than I did as a lawyer – that was the plan – but in hindsight I guess it was a foolish assumption!”
So how does she make it work?
“With massive support from my family and fabulous daycare for Willow,” Wright says with a chuckle. “I do, however, feel I have way more freedom running my own business in terms of where and when I work, which definitely helps with my other full-time job of being a mother!
“There’s no doubt that when I first put Willow in care when she was two there was a bit of hesitation: was I doing the right thing? But my mum gave me the best advice: ‘It’s not always the quantity of time you spend with your child, but rather the quality of time you spend with your child which counts’.
“The fact is, it was increasingly impossible to get any work done while she was with me at home; it was only causing heartache and frustration for everyone. Mum’s words in my head help me deal with the guilt I have when I drop her off, which I have to say has hugely subsided since I’ve seen her thrive – learning so much and socialising with the other kids as well.”
“Other than when I tap out for mother/daughter time, I never entirely switch off,” she says. “The volume of email enquiries, marketing work, manufacturing issues, order processing, bookkeeping etc is staggering and definitely more than I ever anticipated – I just wanted to design some cool kids clothes!
“Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my days with Willow. I try my very best not to do any work on these days unless it’s pressingly urgent. It’s rare for us not to visit either the zoo or the aquarium on one of those days – she’s animal obsessed!”
As the brand expands to include larger sizes (up to 14) and demand from local and international stockists increases one thing is clear: summer’s good vibes start here.