emma mcclean, children of the tribe

Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com

Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe chats with us about her latest collectionher little corner of the world in Byron Bay, and the sustainable lifestyle she and her family lead. 

I was on maternity leave with Willow when I founded Children of the Tribe. Steve and I often travel back and forth between our home and Bali. On one trip, I kept saying I was going to start a childrenswear and homewares label. I think Steve had enough one day and said “Just do it already!” That was the final push for me, so on our next trip to Bali, I returned home with my first sample range. Then, we did our first photo shoot, got production happening, did the markets, started a website and away we went.

We live in Byron Bay, which is a magical place of gathering, a hub for creativity and self-expression. Many people come from all corners of the globe and most seem to have a sustainable life goal in common. Farming your own food, conscious buying and having the environment in mind daily seems to be the norm. I love seeing and being a part of this, especially knowing that my girls will grow up knowing nothing else.

My days are still quite ‘normal’ since having Willow and Coco. We have our market days, swim lessons and Willow goes to ‘farm school’ twice a week. Farm school is like a preschool out on a farm where she learns about food, feeds the animals, jumps in puddles, etc. When the sun is shining, we all go as a family (daddy-Steve included) to the beach to start the day and when the fun is finished, we spend time at home, where I work. My team come for periodic meetings and the girls play in the yard, or we have our neighbour come to look after them. It’s a bit of a jumble, but we seem to keep to a sort of routine. Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.comGiving my kids the opportunity for lots of free play is very important to me. We’re so spoiled for choice here in Byron. Willow will start preschool next year before going to school the year after that. Both girls will go to the local public primary school, as I believe in the schooling, and coming from a teaching background, it’s quite important for me to support the school system. The schooling here is slightly different, offering classes like ethics as early as kindy. For now, I foster free play as much as possible – getting outdoors, in the water, in nature and learning in our home. I believe this sets them up for later in their learning life.

The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to just try to surrender, because ‘it’ will pass. The best creative advice is to not concentrate on what others are doing – just stay true to your heart and vision and you’ll always be happy with your outcomes. Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com
Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com Currently, my team meet at my home and all work in our separate spaces. It’s a bit of a new way of working but seems to do well for us. We’re currently in the planning stage of building a studio space at my home for our office, which will still have plenty of toys for the little ones, in a garden setting with comfy lounge spaces for work and plenty of inspiration to get creative minds flowing.

 I think of things like…how much twirling could be done if I designed a dress this way?

The creative process is pretty loose. I often find inspiration in my own backyard – at the beach and in town, I’ll vision colour palettes from where the ocean meets the sand or even from a hippie bus I saw passing through town, or from what a girl had on at the markets. I’m always looking and always thinking. I’ll then talk about these things with Maria, who helps me to design and together we will come up with prints, colours and slogans. All of our artworks are original, signature prints. As for the styles themselves, I design what I know is fun and easy to wear. It’s funny, I think of things like – how would a four year old be able to take that on and off herself? Or how much twirling could be done if I designed a dress this way?

At Children of the Tribe, we live and breathe what we stand for. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by inspiring people, many of whom I call my closest friends. We all have children and our little tribe is expanding massively (three of my friends are currently pregnant with their third and even fourth!), so I am constantly looking at what they want out of clothing, prints and treasures for the home. Children of the Tribe is run by a small group of people, all of which I have been close friends with since pre-children – I guess I like people knowing we’re a truly friend and family-operated business. Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com
The latest collection, Don’t Wake the Dreamer, embraces youth at its finest.
Having in mind those wild-hearted little wonders who roam barefoot in the sand, play free and do as their hearts desire. The range is colourful, full of life and pays tribute to the nature that surrounds us all. We introduce new styles, alongside the perfect amount of contrast, using geometric pastels, feathers, animals and shapes all on easy-to-wear, comfy fabrics. We put our hearts into something we can be proud of because Children of the Tribe is more than just a clothing brand – it’s who we are, the lives we lead and those we love.

Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com
I love all my pieces, especially the girls slogan tops. We brought back the much-loved saying, “I’m A Wandering Gypsy” on our Mermaid Tee. Also, the Talking Birds Muscle Tee with “Your Wings Already Exist All You Have To Do Is Fly”– I love this message. As a mum, it speaks volumes to my little ones. I’m super excited that we now design up to size 8 (which fits up to 10 years of age) and in our new collection we have ‘big boy shorts’. I’m also really loving our new overalls that are a relaxed fit, easy to wear and can be layered (or not). And our new Little Gypsy Romper is sweet – the two-tone denim and detailing is hard to pass up.
Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.comI’m looking forward to having our own studio and travelling a bit more for work. I look forward to connecting with more people around the globe and expanding into regions that I’d like to visit more often.

My family are always a part of everything I do. I’ll often design something and give it to Willow to trial. She lets me know if she likes it or not (in her own little way), Coco as well. Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com
What does it mean to you to be an Australian creative, who’s also a mother?

So much. Australia’s such a land of freedom, creativity and one of vast natural beauty – a place where you can be who you want to be and if that’s having a career and a family, that’s quite possible. I feel grateful for that and for the support I receive from my partner, Steve, my family, friends and even my community. Australia will always be our foundation and home.

Read the interview with Emma McClean from Children of the Tribe on childmagsblog.com34-year-old Emma McClean is the brains behind Children of the Tribe. She lives in Byron Bay with her husband, Steve, and two daughters, Willow, 4, and Coco, 1. See more of the label via Instagram

Children of the Tribe features in the December/January issue of CHILD Mags. Keep an eye out for our giveaway post for your chance to win one of two $100 Children of the Tribe vouchers.

Interview: Alexandra Lund / Photography: Amelia Fullarton and Bree Hannemann