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Allie cameron in her home

Set amongst the trees, this charming home is straight out of the 1960s.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Hara Founder Allie Cameron’s Mid-Century Torquay Home Is Full of Nostalgic Details

Set amongst the trees, this charming home is straight out of the 1960s.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour HARA The Label founder Allie Cameron's mid-century home in Torquay.

During her high school years, creative Allie Cameron started her own small business where she would find and sell vintage and secondhand fashion pieces online. It was during this time and after her travels to India that she became acutely aware of the environmental impacts the fashion industry has on the planet and she decided she wanted to be part of the change. Enter HARA The Label, the sustainable clothing label Allie founded at just 23 years of age.

HARA The Label uses natural dyes and bamboo fabric to create a soft range of underwear, loungewear, and sportswear. Every step of the process from cut to dispatch is conducted from their Melbourne factory and the brand has teamed up with the Environmental Justice Foundation to support their environmental projects. They are currently working on new products for men and non-binary people as well as a maternity range. Allie has also officially launched a new beauty brand, Hinu, which focuses on using natural ingredients for hair care.

As far as her home base goes, Allie was introduced to the 1960s abode by a friend. "I would stay occasionally, house sitting and visiting over the course of a few years until eventually a spot became open and I took it straight away," she shares with Bed Threads Journal. Surrounded by lush greenery and a creek, this home feels welcoming inside thanks to warm timber cladding and and a wood burning fireplace in the living area.

In the best way possible, this home almost looks as though it hasn't been touched since the 1960s. Adding to the delightfully nostalgic vibe are decorative yellow and green kitchen tiles which inject the space with colour and charm. These hues can been seen throughout the interior styling palette from the Marianne Roussety artwork in the dining area to the Olive Stripe linen in the bedroom. Vintage furniture and decor are peppered throughout including bentwood dining chairs and a tan Togo occasional chair. "I always want guests to feel cosy and welcomed instead of being worried they’ll dirty, break, or misplace something," she says. 

We spoke to Allie about the challenges she's faced as a business owner, the single most crucial tool she's used to further HARA The Label, and how she knew this was the home for her.

Hi Allie! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?

Hello! I am the founder of HARA The Label, a sustainable clothing label based in Melbourne, Australia. We work with natural dyes and bamboo fabric to create high quality, soft, colourful pieces that are made with intention. From cut and sew to dye and dispatch, every step of the process happens right here in our Melbourne Factory.

My position within HARA The Label has developed into a unique and creative direction type role which is where my passion lies. Having the space to conjure up ideas and concepts, bringing them to life through photography and community is game-changing.

How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?

I’m definitely a hands-on, tactile person. When I have an idea, I jump straight into it, actioning whatever steps are needed to get the ball rolling. Diving head first allows me to get a feel for what it is I'm actually trying to create without overthinking it too much first.

For example, when HARA The Label was in the ideation phase, I had to physically take myself to India and explore the cotton industry there. Everything (for me anyway) flows much better when it’s in real life. Nothing beats a face to face conversation, or the touch of a fabric swatch. Viscerality is so important to me.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

Can I say yes and no? Business and entrepreneurship was such a strong force within my family when I was growing up. The positive notion behind succeeding on your own, within your own realm created a belief and vision that anything was possible.

In high school, I started my own business selling one-of-a-kind, high quality, upcycled clothing online. This is where my curiosity for the fashion industry began and I started questioning the integrity of supply chains and production giants. I couldn't believe the scale of production versus the authentic conversations around it.

The period between my high school business venture and the birth of HARA The Label, I undertook a computer science degree (which I never completed), moved to Melbourne, and by age 23 HARA The Label was well underway.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

Getting into the body and out of my head. We have so many tools that can help us drop into our creative brain that cost literally nothing. When I’m dancing, meditating, and visualising, I can drop into such a clear state of mind within business and my personal life. I think many will agree with me here, but once creativity starts to become your business, it's suddenly your livelihood and your source of income. This can permeate creative blocks or creative fatigue, hence why it’s so important to establish steps or tools to keep that creative flow from falling into a rut.

For me, I have to slow down before I ramp up. This means spending time alone, finding joy in movement and sitting with my thoughts. Before shoots it has become a ritual of mine to meditate and also meditate with everyone involved to allow us to access that relaxed state and be more present. The difference in flow and energy on the day since implementing this has been incredible.

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your business?

So many lessons! I think the most challenging has been doing the business with family and managing both a working and personal relationship. I always suggest to people before jumping into a partnership to take time to evaluate expectations, goals, intentions, and visions so you know you are both on the same page and know what to expect from the other person.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?

The people I’ve met, both offline and online. It’s given me the opportunity to connect with people all over the world and some of my closest friends and mentors have come from networking and connecting through HARA The Label. In my life, the biggest and most profound moments have all been within the years ofHARA The Label, like that time I was able to attend and be a part of The Break runway show for New York Fashion Week. I think about this experience all the time, so much so I think I'll have to head back there this year. Stay tuned.

I celebrate every single small moment, watching an idea just slowly grow, change, and develop.

- Allie Cameron

Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

Dream big but start slow. When I was 19 I had a big idea (similar to what Depop is now) but I couldn’t wrap my head around how to get from concept to completion. I just wanted it all from the get go. So when it came time to start HARA The Label I really implemented all the lessons I learnt from previous business ventures to ensure I wouldn't get caught up in what ‘completion’ looked like but rather, getting just one product out there and building on it.

Holding the big vision is so important to keep you on track, but I strongly suggest falling in love with the process first. The fact that you are running everything from your bedroom is actually amazing and will one day be the highlight of your whole story so enjoy it, embrace it, find the beauty in it.

I’m now onto my second business and I celebrate every single small moment, watching an idea just slowly grow, change, and develop blows my mind and that feeling of curiosity and wonder motivates me to continue to wake up every day to water it and watch it grow.

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

This home is a local treasure and many wonderful souls have passed through it. I was introduced to this space roughly seven years ago by a friend who was living here. I would stay occasionally, house sitting and visiting over the course of a few years until eventually a spot became open and I took it straight away. About a year ago, I took over the place solely and it has been so incredibly grounding. Everyone who passes through that door just falls in love with the space.

The warm welcoming timber cladding, indoor fireplace, and creek running through the backyard combined with the quirky original details like colourful '60s tiles, is all part of the charm. Sadly, these are some of the last moments I’ll have with this home as it is soon to be demolished and passed on. Currently lapping up every moment here.

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

As soon as I first stepped foot inside I could feel this house was special. The conversations it ignites and the space it holds are like no other. It just felt right and I always looked forward to going there. Every time I was there I would breathe a big sigh of relief as I could fully relax and let go.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

We recently painted over one section of the beautiful indoor timber cladding. These walls date back to the original build in the '60s. We have so many similar walls so we thought why not bring some new life into the space and freshen it up a little. The wall is now white, with the texture of the panels still coming through, and we ripped up the carpet that joined the wall, and painted that white too. We have the most incredible afternoon light that comes through - and I regularly change the furniture around to recalibrate the energy - so the armchairs go perfectly in the new space.

What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?

I really wanted to embrace the timber features and all the small original details that this little '60s gem already had so I slowly collected vintage pieces from stores, Facebook Marketplace and op shops. Because the space is actually quite small, I really wanted to avoid clutter (lucky we have great storage here haha!) I’m also big on having furniture that looks good and is also functional and can be lived in. Avoiding a sterile, intimidating space, I always want guests to feel cosy and welcomed instead of being worried they’ll dirty, break, or misplace something.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

The lounge area by far. The entire side of the house is west-facing windows, so we get the entire afternoon of sun every day, not to mention the view of Spring Creek and all the beautiful native trees and plants. Waking up, drinking tea and relishing in the bird songs, the wind in the trees, the dog walkers, the stillness…it never gets old.

What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
  • Less is more, and quality over quantity
  • Utilise storage space by regularly spring-cleaning
  • Physical clutter creates energetic clutter
  • Implement Feng Shui practices when styling/furnishing your space
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?

At HARA The Label we have an exciting year ahead - working on new products for men and non-binary folk, plus-size people and a whole maternity range! In my personal life, I am about to officially launch my new brand, Hinu, which focuses on using natural ingredients for hair care. It has been a few years in the making so I am very excited about it!

For more from Allie follow her @hara_thelabel@alliecameron, and at harathelabel.com.au

Photographer Becca Crawford. Styling Paige Anderson.

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