BALM WEARS - THE ONE WOMAN BUSINESS THAT GIVES BACK TO NATURE AND THE COMMUNITY
From the jungles of Bali, this family-run business is redefining sustainable fashion to make little-effort-chic every season's go-to style inspiration
Sustainable fashion is the key to improving the future of the industry and the next big thing is shining light on slow fashion. Creating seasonless pieces that can be combined and re-styled in multiple ways is what makes an ethical brand truly outstanding amid the endless array of corporate labels. Balm Wears does exactly that - the vintage clothing brand creates clothing, footwear, accessories and jewelry that, if taken care of, can last a lifetime. Love and attention to every detail goes into each piece to ensure that their philosophy of slow fashion is reflected in the designs.
The label is dedicated to producing in small batches and often follows a made-to-order approach to ensure that nothing goes to waste. Everything is stitched, dyed and carved in Bali where the business is based. A dedication to transparency is at the heart of Balm Wears where the team is constantly learning and growing to make sure that they tread lightly. Giving back to nature is an essential part of the business' vision so it comes as no surprise that the label has teamed up with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every order.
Sustainability is everything to the founder, Becs. It has been a dream of hers to open her own business with a focus on slow fashion for many years. Since Balm Wears was born in 2021, the label has been dedicated to a zero-waste approach. From recycled materials to organic fabrics, everything that goes into the collections has been carefully thought through and repurposed where possible for less fabric waste. As a one-woman-business, Balm Wears is centered around working closely with the local community to provide above living wages job opportunities. The family approach is what has helped the brand grow and get established as one of the most special and aesthetical eco-conscious brands in Bali and beyond.
Becs believes that good things take time and this mantra has been fundamental for the brand since day one. The slowly-made pieces are a reflection not only of the style of the people who wear them, but also of the patience and love of everybody involved in their making, designing and packaging.
Inspired by the tropical, laid-back charm of Indonesia, Balm Wears is an island traveller's dream. Pieces from all collections could be styled together, making packing for a last-minute week-long getaway, a quick staycation abroad or a summer-long adventure that much easier. From the unique yin and yang pieces to the comfortable organic cotton sets and the stylish deadstock capsule bralette, trousers and coveralls, Balm Wears combines minimalism with sophistication. The label is an ode to showstopping little-effort-chic and we love everything about it.
Our editor-in-chief caught up with the founder Becs to talk about how she transformed the vision of Balm Wears from a dream to an independent business of unique, Bali-inspired vintage fashion pieces.
The Terry Flares
The White Hemp Suit
The Wasabi Singlet
‘‘My greatest privilege has always been to have the opportunity to immerse myself not only in the beauty of the people and places we visit - but also in the struggles. I am a strong believer that people are not drawn to what we do, but why we do it.’’
Becs, founder of balm wears for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine
NOMADSofORIGIN: The style of the brand appears very bohemian-chic. Where do you draw inspiration for the designs from?
Becs: Photography teaches you to be present and mindful of your surroundings - although not necessarily a lesson, my photographic career, over time has trained my mind to see the beauty in everything. I find the purest and simplest moments fill my life with the most joy - it’s in those moments that I often forget to take my camera out. I guess you could say the lesson is in learning to enjoy life’s beauty for what it is - camera or not.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What are the Balm Wears pieces you can't live without?
Becs: Finding a creative style that resonates with your professional and personal journey takes time - when I was younger I would often feel insecure about my style changing more erratically. As time has passed and I’ve grown into my confidence and sense of self, I’ve noticed a more signature style take place in my work. I still notice changes - but those changes are more micro now - the work I produce now still feels linked stylistically to my earlier work - but I don’t think it ever stops transforming. I’ve learned over time to be at peace with the idea that my work will constantly evolve over time. A long time ago that idea would have scared me - now I see it as an opportunity to challenge myself or try something new. I think this year will see some of the biggest changes in my personal work ever. I’ve never felt more at home in my own artistic process, so hopefully the new body of work will be received well.
NOMADSofORIGIN: You are an Bali-based label. Does the origin of the brand contribute to your philosophy for slow fashion and the eco mindset?
Becs: I’m less influenced by other photographers and more by the people who I choose to surround myself with - as well as the incredible work I ingest by authors, artists and people who are dedicated to campaigning for the greater good. Right now the people who are top of my inspiration list are Alice Eady and Jack Harries (both Filmmakers and Climate Storytellers), Australian indigenous artist Ryhia Dank, my dear friends Emma Lindegaard (Ceramicist) and James Giddy (painter) and another West Aus photographer and friend Chris Gurney. In terms of straight up photographic influence and inspiration - my favourites at the moment are Matt Porteous and Annapurna Mellor. My longest inspirational affair is with Australian Stylist Sibella Court.
The Yin Yang Shoe Collection
The Cowboy Boot
The Yin Yang Clog
NOMADSofORIGIN: What are your go-to travel destinations?
Becs: One of the greatest opportunities we are given in whatever line of work we choose is the option to advocate for greater change. It’s such an age-old cliche that we must be the change we wish to see, but there’s a reason that notion lives on. My greatest privilege has always been to have the opportunity to immerse myself not only in the beauty of the people and places we visit - but also in the struggles. I am a strong believer that people are not drawn to what we do, but why we do it. Every trip, every adventure and every assignment has a why.
NOMADSofORIGIN: The label plants a tree for each order. Why is it so important to you to focus on sustainability and how do you think this is going to influence the future of fashion?
Becs: Western Australia is enormously diverse. From the deep red Pindan (the indigenous name for the red-soil that covers the south-west kimberley region in the north) to the tall karri forests of the South West - the landscape changes constantly. My favourite places are Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef and the Marine sanctuary it provides) - Denmark in the Great Southern and Margaret River - which will always feel like home.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Who is your fashion icon?
Becs: I was 17 when I first visited Egypt (which is 10 years ago now) and I think about it often when I think of travelling again. It’s so ancient and so raw in the way it’s presented to travellers. I think the Egypt experience frustrates some people - but I get so excited about it’s intensity. At times it’s like a caricature. It’s easy to imagine you’re in another era entirely. I've always been incredibly drawn to archaeology, so my time spent in Libya is also something I reflect on often. I’d love to explore Leptis Magna with fresh eyes - to see how it’s changed after years of war. However, to this day, China is the place that has surprised me the most. I was really absorbed by the history of the Chinese Dynasty during my time in Suzhou - again, I can’t wait to go back.
The Terry Bikini
The Yin Yang Slide
NOMADSofORIGIN: What can we expect from Balm Wears in the near future?
Becs: I think I’ll always be a storyteller by trade. Stylistically that’s what I’ll always be, first and foremost. The academic in me always (ashamedly) shied away from that title - I was afraid I wouldn’t be taken seriously. But history is important. Empathy and love - a sense of belonging and an opportunity to be heard, they’re all important. That’s what storytelling is to me.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Thank you so much for this interview. We can't get enough of the brand. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Becs: 2020 and the pandemic really shone a light on this. Aeroplanes have been a massive issue for such a long time. There's absolutely no denying the detrimental impact that carbon emission from air-travel is having on our planet. I hope the future brings us a more sustainable way to reach overseas destinations - I know a lot of people I know who were working in a similar field were starting to plan longer, more land-bound projects that offset some of the air travel. I’ve heard rumors of more sustainable electric planes that could be feasible as early as 2030 - but in the meantime, we’re still stuck with what we’ve got.
NOMADSofORIGIN x balm wears
This interview appears in NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine print #05 The Wanderlust Issue