Sustainable Fashion Label Yhi
Each month Cocktail Revolution features an exciting emerging designer or creative talent. This month, we talk to Ella Noah Bancroft from Byron Bay. Heading the sustainable fashion label YHI, this proud Bundjalung woman has a strong message and a no BS approach to fashion. Yhi’s clothing is 100% upcycled.
How did YHI begin?
I am a woman of the sun. I have always loved to play in the sun rays and one day I woke and wanted to dedicate a business to the sun goddess. Yhi (Whee) means sun goddess in Gamilaroi. Originally, it was created as an ethical, sustainable and culturally innovative T-Shirt Brand.
But as YHI continues to grow, our vision becomes more about health and wellness as a way to help our planet. While combining our love of Second-hand clothing as our tool to raise money for our events as we endeavour to provide scholarships and spaces to women of need in our community.
Tell us some more about YHI and your focus on sustainable fashion.
We take second-hand garments (mostly T-shirts) and clothing that would otherwise go to landfill and we repurpose it with powerful messaging and artworks. Money raised from our shirts goes to provide spaces for women at events that are then run in the Byron Bay area.
Originally we partnered up with local and national charities to raise money but now we are creating a vision to support the planet and all women and children.
Why did you decide to expand YHI from a sustainable fashion label to a broader health and wellness project?
While combining our love of Second-hand clothing as our tool to raise money for our events as we endeavour to provide scholarships and spaces to women of need in our community.
All women deserve to understand health and wellness and with our vision, we hope to bring women from all walks to come together in retreats in nature where we discuss women’s health, sexuality, movement practices, mensural cycles, sustainability, death, life and birth.
What has been the highlight of your journey with YHI so far?
I think as I transform as a woman, my business is also transforming. I love seeing how it is creating itself through my own transformations. Also, I am really embracing the fluid changing nature of my business structure. I am creating my way of being a female businesswoman.
What is the most challenging aspect?
Being a one-woman business can be hard and also it’s hard to be a woman in business. I don’t operate the way a man does. I have a cycle and I honour that cycle. Sometimes I just need to switch off and not work and know that that is okay too. I cannot run myself into the ground otherwise my projects will suffer. For the longevity of my creations, I take on a lot of feminine qualities. This is to allow me to navigate a new paradigm of female entrepreneur where I am not harnessing the masculine energy to compete but I am rising to the occasion to create.
How important is feminism to your vision and brand?
Hugely important. I want to create spaces where women can grow and become empowered and understand their absolute beauty. I have a deep reverence for woman. As an Aboriginal woman, I feel so inspired to keep women’s business alive and keep creating spaces where women can gather to grow and share.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to continue to grow as a business, teaching new skills on sustainability, to grow bigger with my brand. My is to travel and offer workshops for women and spaces all over the world where a woman can gather and grow. Specifically, I would love to travel to countries where women are more oppressed and allow opportunities for them to discover something beautiful and new.
We’re big champions of sustainable fashion. If you’d like to read another interview with a creative focused on furthering sustainable fashion, check out our recent Q & A with Lauren Crago of Solomon Street.
Or check out another amazing Aboriginal fashion designer, Lyn-al Young