We are excited to introduce our autark women series, where we will be asking some inspirational, special women to share with us their views on fashion, things that are most special to them, and we find out what makes them tick.

Who better to start this journey with, than the mother of our founder, Helen. An incredibly smart and driven woman, Helen has worked in government, education, earned a doctorate and has successfully created and run several businesses. She also cooks an incredible meal. We truly admire her never-ending energy and endless support of autark, and we are excited to share her thoughts with you for this first in our interview series.  

helen wears the relaxed fit shirt and safari pant

Who or what has most influenced your style and how?

I see style as inherent - you either have it or you don’t. In terms of a ‘distinctive style’ I would say that my style is primarily classic, although I do like to sometimes mix and match with ‘out there’ pieces like jewellery or a scarf or belt. But at the same time, ‘my style’ is influenced by my surroundings, colour and pattern.  Overall, however, I dress for myself.


What is the most treasured piece in your wardrobe and why?

Unfortunately, I don’t just have one, I have a few.  One of these is a lacy grey blouse that my husband bought me when we first got together. I don’t wear it very much, but it is certainly something that I wouldn’t dispose of.  Another is the first thing that my daughter ever made, and I would never dispose of clothes that she had made or designed.


What does the idea of conscious fashion mean to you?

It means being thoughtful and ‘conscious’ of what I am buying on every occasion ie firstly I look at - what it is made from - where it is made - whether it is ‘fast’ fashion or something more enduring. I am now more aware of ethical fashion and its importance, and therefore it certainly impacts on my buying something or not. 

Which book, song or recipe means the most to you and why?

This is a hard one, as I could write an essay on each of the topics. But referring to recipes, it generally means the tried and true ones, but more importantly, it is the ones that my various family members like, or ones that I enjoyed as a child, or when I have been at a restaurant or a special place.  As I have so many recipes, now for instance, when I cook, I ask my husband to rate a recipe out of 10, and whether it is a ‘keeper’ or not. Or if is one that  I have made more than once for a family dinner, dinner party, or my friends have asked for the recipe. But overall, I enjoy cooking, and the pleasure that it brings people, and the ability of food to encourage sharing, fun, and good times, and because it is a ‘leveller’. 

 helen wears the bawting blouse and safari pant

What self-care ritual makes you feel most wonderful?

A facial, or a very good massage.


What outfit makes you feel most at ease?

Probably a pair of wide-legged black pants that I have owned for a long time, as I can dress them ‘up or down’.  But generally I like black pants of silk, or a beautiful fabric of all free-flowing styles as they are so versatile, and can be worn anywhere.