WHEN WITH AUTUMN
Against mass consumerism, modern-day women stereotypes, and traditional ways of relaxation; Autumn of WithAutumn shows us how she has come a full circle to where her first love is and will be: creative ventures.
December 27, 2019
They say first impressions count, and they do.
The experience of finding WithAutumn cemented an understanding of her unconventional path — both literally and symbolically. In the inconspicuous alley along South Bridge Road houses her little studio brewing dreams of what doesn’t necessarily define societal norms. Her brand speaks against mass consumerism, modern-day women stereotypes, and modern-day relaxation.
There are no other staff that she lunches with every weekday, no year-end bonuses to let her travel without guilt across half the globe during winter, no fancy work attire that she wears to work and yet she is sewing together her own thoughtful brand. There isn’t one day that goes by without thoughts of textiles, colours or craft ideas running through her mind.
In the span of thirteen years since she enrolled in design school, she has weaved together a dream uniquely hers, a passion burning with creativity, and a milestone of a future to come.
Textiles sourced personally by Autumn.
Autumn Brown, founder of WithAutumn.
Mass consumerism is the convention here as with everywhere else. She cites Taobao as her competitor, because the mass scale of production erodes the core characteristic of her brand: natural dyeing and textile crafts. Autumn adds that often times, it is after one gets in touch with the actual process of craft-making, that one appreciates the effort and thought put into every handmade good. The same is said for both her ongoing craft-making work; as well as cooking, which is in the pipeline. Consumers are not innocent, just simply unaware; and so, she is hopeful of the awareness that her workshops can bring about.
It is after one gets in touch with the actual process of craft-making, that one appreciates the effort and thought put into every handmade good.
The contents of her craft kits, which are available for purchase.
What sets her out on this journey is the desire to rekindle essential soft skills such as sewing and cooking. She sees both handicraft and culinary skills as vital, and a basic foundation that people should possess — skillsets that are slowly being forgotten in the modern-day world.
All her life, she has been in the business of being hands-on: from design, to culinary, and finally to textiles. She graduated with a diploma in design, and then a communications degree, before venturing into culinary arts. She has worked as a graphic designer and a chef; started her first handmade bags and accessories business; and on the side taught as a tutor. Her education and work experiences — design, business, cooking, teaching — have laid the foundation to where she is today with WithAutumn, an independent brand of hers that teaches the value of designing creative items, specifically textiles.
What sets her out on this journey is the desire to rekindle essential soft skills such as sewing and cooking.
The yarns and fibres used.
Punch needle embroidery.
Thirteen years have gone by faster than she imagined, and soon she has come a full circle to where home is — in geographic location and in passion.
New to the business of things, she is contented and comfortable with working from the back of a jewelry store. After refurbishing the room, it now dons an entirely new and fresh look. Still, she is not complaining because the space has provided her a refuge for all her creative ideas. She tells of how on several occasions, she has to bring in the laundry stands that hangs her naturally dyed textiles and yarn from the back alley, because a sizeable truck would not be able to get through. Her space came after months of ‘begging’ the owner of the main shop to let her use the space.
WithAutumn represents her hope that communities are well-treated, too. Making it a point to travel and source for craft materials personally, she takes the effort to contribute to less-privileged women who are involved in the textile production. Being able to source for both socially and/or environmentally conscious products excites her.
When space and staffing become more concrete, Autumn hopes to introduce how-to videos and content via a subscription model to her audience. She also looks forward to the day when she gets to grow her own food and dye produce in her back garden, while switching between her crafting and cooking classes.
Hand-carved printing blocks in her studio are made in India.
Her initial phase was laced with confusion and challenges. Since her first enrolment to design school, creative ventures remain her first love. Thirteen years have gone by faster than she imagined, and soon she has come a full circle to where home is — in geographic location and in passion. She has dabbled with ten-dollar workshop classes, moved to a co-working space, and went through a period of self-doubt until a mentor-friend sat her down to reconsider her decisions; but all of this to bring her back to where she belongs.
Her choice of unwinding will still be crafting and cooking. There are days she will lose track of time in her studio, and there are days she is simply contented cleaning up the space.
If you are a full-fledge budding artist, this is what you already know. You will make do with whatever salary you draw, wreck some brain cells figuring out what taxes are, and wear multiple hats all at one go. She did it, and emerged stronger to take on future possibilities. Autumn quite defies the way women envision life and work to be, but her many unconventional decisions are all, in true WithAutumn’s spirit, simply... with Autumn.