woven chairs on white patio. / sfgirlbybay

You might already be familiar with St. Agni’s Instafamous woven mules on the soles of women across social media—I know I’ve been eyeing them for some time and mentally bookmarking a few of their other shoes and woven cane bags. The Australian brand is just so darn good at creating and marketing their natural, effortless and ethical wear—and their color palette warms the cockles of my heart! Chelsea wrote a post about the brand back in July, and today, we’ve got an interview with its founder, Laura Fells about her personal style, sources of inspiration and living in Byron Bay.

home tour with laura fells of st. agni. / sfgirlbybay

Why did you start St. Agni?
I started St. Agni because I had reached a point in my personal life and career where I was ready to tackle my dream of having my own business. I was also really motivated to produce my own designs because I was frustrated at genuinely not being able to find the items I wanted out there. Anything I liked, I still wanted to refine somehow, so that’s when I began doing things for myself. I started the label as a passion project out of my spare room whilst I was still working full-time elsewhere. The name St. Agni – i.e. ‘Saint Agni’ is for my Nona Agni. She is a seamstress and a pure saint in my eyes. She has always inspired me.

ceramic vase and dish. / sfgirlbybay

minimalist modern wood swing chair on white patio. / sfgirlbybay

How would you describe your personal style, both fashion and home-wise?
I just like to keep things simple. I appreciate quality and see the value in things, so I am pretty considered in my choices. I’m a real uniform dresser in the sense that I know what I like and what works for me, so I’m rarely tempted to stray from this. You’ll never find me in anything too outrageous, but I do love staple items that I can invest in and that I know I can wear over and over again.

I think the same thing can be said for my home environment, the same principles are reflected there. Style is fluid for me in this respect, I think it is for most people. I don’t like excess or fuss in fashion or at home so, I would ultimately describe my personal style as: relaxed and utilitarian.

whitewashed bedroom with modern furnishings. / sfgirlbybay

modern home of laura fells of st. agni. / sfgirlbybay

white bedding with terracotta pillows in st. gani founder laura fells bedroom. / sfgirlbybay

What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration?
I am really inspired by architectural design and the power in a curated space to evoke a particular mood. Mid-century design is my favorite and I do also love vintage clothing and aesthetics. The romance and timelessness of them. I’ve also always been inspired by the classic feminine silhouette and really relaxed dressing, so these themes provide a constant undercurrent for me at work.

st. agni founder laura fells  nursery at home. / sfgirlbybay

Any inspiring Instagram accounts you’d like to share as well?
The Row: @therow
Cereal Magazine: @cerealmag
Blanca Miró Scrimieri: @blancamiro
Man Repeller: @manrepeller

st. agni leather shoes. / sfgirlbybay

st. agni leather and cane tote purse. / sfgirlbybay

What’s your advice for someone decorating their home?
I think it’s really important for people to choose things that they want around them, that bring and facilitate comfort, whatever that might be. Don’t try an emanate anyone else, just make choices that reflect your own personal taste, who you are and that are appropriate to your own life experience. I personally want everything to be minimal and functional as I am not huge on ornamentals – but that’s just me. I have friends who are far more eclectic by nature as so our spaces have huge contrast, but we feel equally at home in these spaces we’ve created for ourselves and that’s what really matters at the end of the day.

st. agni accessories. / sfgirlbybay

What’s it like living in Byron Bay? What do you love about it?
Living in Byron is wonderful, we’re so happy here and I honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else. We’re lucky to have a beautiful surrounding landscape with both the hinterland and coastline. It feels like we have the best of everything. Matt and I moved here around 7 years ago because we were really attracted to the lifestyle Byron Bay offers. I don’t even know if St. Agni would exist if we were based anywhere else — if we were, things would be very different that’s for sure.

inspiring st. agni store interior. / sfgirlbybay

What do you think of the current direction Australian design and style is taking? Obviously, there are many styles within the country, but any observations or trends you’re noticing throughout Oz?

I think that because Australia is quite isolated and because so much of the Australian population lives on the coastline, our laid-back, coastal vibe is something we’ve always seen heavily reflected among independent Australian brands. I think it comes back to the fluidity of lifestyle — that ultimately we will reflect our environment and vice versa.

I think Australian designers are often on the frontier because we have such a thriving fashion and design industry here, so mid- to top- tier boutiques and labels can really flourish. We have less “high-street” consumer mentality compared to places like the UK or US, and therefore trend towards more to conscious consumerism, generally speaking — which is great.

shoes by st. agni. / sfgirlbybay

Any future plans for St. Agni you’d like to share, or anything else?

We’re actually looking into the possibility of opening a second St. Agni flagship store, which is very exciting for the team. It’s my dream to one day have multiple St. Agni destinations were people can come and experience the brand and our aesthetic first hand.

We’re also currently in the midst of some new and exciting conversations with major retailers in the US… so looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds in the coming months on that front, too.

woven shoes from at. agni. / sfgirlbybay

• photography credits: @ameliafullarton; @lisa.sorgini; @lynden_foss; @anonymousss.c; @stagnistudio.

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