My Great, Grandmother Amy was a tall, olive skinned lady who took what life gave her and made the most of it. When she realised her husband Roland was a dreamer not a worker, she opened a lace workshop in the attic of ‘Carrisbrook’ their large home in Randwick, where she employed many girls and proceeded to make lace for the big garment companies in Sydney. She not only kept the family, but also put the children through private schools and Roland, a painter, never felt he was kept – he was always head of the family!
The Chinese connection started in Hong Kong where my Great Great Uncle, William Farmer, Roland’s father, his wife and two daughters are buried. He was an entrepreneur and prominent hotelier in the early 20th century who owned ‘The Swan’ hotel on Shamian Island, near Guangzhou, and his story most certainly played a part in further stirring my interest in the Orient.
So in 2005 when a two-year contract to teach English for the Hong Kong Government came up, I jumped, and by the end of the two years Silk Diva was born. Happily this meant returning twice a year to buy fabric and have garments made. Preferring silk and a curated selection of other fabrics, I learnt about pattern making, cutting and stitching, right down to the final touches, such as buttons and zips. It has been a personal journey of creativity and discovery.
"Silk Diva is born from my deep love of making clothes, gorgeous fabrics and a passion for exotic destinations.
Over the years I have fostered close personal relationships with all my tailors and their families, often sharing traditional meals with them and visiting their homes. From the silk markets of Hangzhou and Suzhou in the north, to Humen in Southern China my business dealings with pearl and silk workshops, tailors and currently, two sisters and their husbands, Silk Diva has evolved into a small boutique label. All runs are small and everyone in the line from design, to production and dispatch, enjoys good working conditions and fair pay.
The LDJ - Little Diva Jacket by Silk Diva is continuing to evolve with new prints and fabrication, along with a new Bomber jacket style, made here in Sydney in collaboration with designer Helena Stuart. This year an exciting original print inspired by the Australia's Great Barrier Reef, will be available in my 2021 Summer Range.
- Anna Pryor
"A Silk Diva piece should reflect the woman wearing it...vibrant, original and ready to take on the world"