October 2022

All The Elements


This feels like the longest winter of all time, but with some small rays of sunshine in the past weeks, the search for some new summer wares, including some swimmers, is on. This search has led to the discovery of Melbourne’s AMBER&THOMAS. This partnership of Amber Hourigan and Thomas Williams is proving to be a strong one, seeing them create beautiful quality apparel and swimwear. Their latest collection Earth, Wind & Fire features corseted swimwear, stunning ombres, an earthy colour palette and a nod to the ’70s with their shapes, tan leathers and delicate embroideries. Adriana Giuffrida takes some time to talk to Amber Hourigan about the fruition of their label, and why there is never a bad time for a boogie.

Adriana Guiffrida: AMBER&THOMAS was started in 2008 with your partner Thomas Williams. How did the label come about?

Amber Hourigan: I have always loved fashion, and been very passionate about clothing. One of my first jobs was working in the fashion closet at a top Melbourne PR/Advertising agency. It was during that time that I was exposed to some of the most amazing fashion, it really was a turning point for me. But it wasn’t until I met Thomas that it all started to come together.

The label is a meeting of two minds, both of us bring something totally unique to the label and it’s those differences that give us strength. A little je ne sais quoi.

AG: What roles do each of you play within the process of starting a collection?

AH: Thomas and I have very different roles when creating our collections, but we spend much time pouring over books, photographs, films, listening to music and discussing various forms of inspiration. Once we have a clear vision for the collection I start designing the range and Thomas starts thinking about our Photoshoot, lookbook and website. Bringing both of our ideas together really helps to bring the vibe, vision and brings the look of the collection to life.

AG: The collections include swimwear and apparel, were you always interested in pursuing swimwear?

AH: I have always found it difficult to find swimwear that I want to wear, and felt that there was a real gap in the market for the type of swimsuits AMBER&THOMAS produce. If you’re not into typically “girly” or “sporty” styles there was not that much left to choose from. We tried to create swimwear for the woman that wants to look equally as chic at the beach as she does on the street.

AG: Do you see yourself growing the label to include any other products?

AH: We have explored shoes, belts and bags in our past collections and that is definitely something I would like to expand with future collections. I feel the right accessory can really top off a look.

AG: Your latest collection for Spring/Summer 2011 is called Earth, Wind & Fire, and is inspired by the Australian landscape. Did travelling within Australia inspire this?

AH: I have travelled quite extensively around Australia, and my adventures formed some of the inspiration for this collection. We have such purity in this country that I really wanted to reflect this through the collection. The elements earth, wind and fire are all present and very important to the Australian Landscape.

AG: Were you listening to a lot of ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’ whilst creating this collection?

AH: There was a lot of ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and ‘Let’s Groove’ playing in the studio at all times. As far as I’m concerned there’s never a bad time to boogie!

AG: One gets a strong sense of this inspiration from the textures, colours and the ombre’s you have used. How else do you interpret your ideas into a collection?

AH: The ways in which we incorporate our ideas into the collection are quite varied. It could be the cut of a neckline, the volume in a skirt or even the weight of the fabrics. All of our inspiration comes together organically to communicate our vision.

AG: I am travelling to the Great Barrier Reef soon, and have never been more excited to go on holiday, do you think people sometimes forget that Australia has such beautiful landscape?

AH: Firstly can I tell you how jealous I am, that is going to be an amazing experience.

But back to the question, I think they do, and what I think contributes to this is our distance from the rest of the world. I think a lot of Australians think that because other parts of the world are further away it makes them more exotic or exciting in a way. What they are missing is the beauty that is on our doorstep.

AG: What can we expect from AMBER&THOMAS’ next collection?

AH: For Autumn/Winter 2011 we really stripped it back to the core principals of what we are all about, effortless elegance. Beautiful fabrics and classic silhouettes with a modern touch. We want people to actually be able to wear our collections, to give them life, so there are many pieces that can be easily integrated to the wearers existing wardrobe… which we hope is filled with AMBER&THOMAS of course! Our colour palette is quite earthy and warm, perfect for those cold, grey winter days.


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