Before La Sierra was even a thought in my mind I began another journey: one of self-discovery.
I was 22 and had just finished uni. Naturally, the next step was to get a full time job. I had it all mapped out: I’d work in advertising and live a comfortable life. I was content… but content isn’t the same as fulfilled.
I wanted to enjoy myself in South America for a few months before I started out on a career. Suffice to say, that trip changed EVERYTHING.
One month in, I fell in love. In Ecuador. I met Rene.
I was struck by his spirit. He embodied everything I felt I didn’t have; he personified freedom. Meeting Rene ignited a fire within me and we were swept up in a whirlwind romance. Love wasn’t something I’d factored into the equation for my trip - I had a list of places to be, people to see and a bucket list to check off. After one month together I left whatever it was that was bubbling between us and continued on my journey with my friends.
My heart didn’t leave Rene when I did. It stayed in Ecuador. Looking back, I think of something that the poet Nayyirah Waheed says:
Don’t disrespect your heart by hearing what it needs and giving it the opposite.
Deaf to my heart, I completed my trip and returned to Australia, to the prospect of security. As planned, I was going through an interview process with a top advertising agency, yet I found I didn’t want the job at all. But I needed the job? I wasn’t so sure anymore. The only thing certain was that I had big, life questions to answer. Security or Freedom? Money or Love? Who am I?
Torn between two worlds, I left a small suitcase packed. It made the possibility of return seem real to me. In desperate need of a sign about what to do, I made a promise to myself: I promised that if I didn’t get the job I would go straight back to South America.
Almost instantly, I received a call from the advertising agency. More than relieved, I was over the moon when I heard I didn't get that job!
Two weeks later I was off. On a one-way ticket to where Rene was living in Panama, to explore what I had with this stranger. And just like that, the expectations I had had for my life were washed away. Honouring my heart transformed my life.
It wasn’t until a year later that I was touching back down in Australia and starting the next part of my journey: my business, La Sierra.
*Sophie is the founder of La Sierra. In her time in South America, she has learned about the local Indigenous communities and the Alpaca textiles they make. She is inspired by the rich history and culture and has found local artisans to work with, to bring their craftsmanship to her home country. A passionate advocate for slow fashion, Sophie captures the stories behind the clothes. She highlights the importance of knowing where your clothes come from, interweaving the connection between the traditions and the artisans with her personal journey.