Ayla Caughey and Katie Cook first met in 1998, in the playground of Byron Bay Public School. After high school, the friends briefly left their popular beachside hometown – Caughey to study fashion and textiles at TAFE Queensland and Cook to travel around Europe and Asia – but returned to Byron and launched comfortable cottons label Isla Collective together in 2011.
In 2015, they changed the direction of the label to hero everyday basics, rebranding as The Bare Road. A strong social media presence meant their customers followed.
Caughey and Cook are inspired by the the natural beauty they were surrounded by growing up in the fertile Northern Rivers region, and draw inspiration from its secret beach coves, rainforest walks and eclectic community.
“[The label] is an omen to our lifestyle here in Byron Bay,” Cook says.
The Bare Road’s new autumn collection, Noon, is an ode to the change of season and the shift in light as days become cooler. “We’re drawing inspiration from the gradient of light that comes with the transition from morning to noon,” Caughey says.
Noon mixes the smooth and crinkled textures of sustainable hemp, linen, cotton and terry towelling in earthy colours of bone, dust pink, buttercup yellow, chocolate brown and white.
“We choose these fabrics not only for their sustainable benefits but for their comfort and breathability,” says Cook. “[The] thicker linens and cottons [are] designed to be layered seamlessly – loose yet flattering fits.”
The Lara balloon-sleeve top is made from sustainable cotton that’s soft enough to sleep in. The scoop neck, panelled body, voluminous sleeve and slightly cropped style makes it easy to transition from day to night. Pair it with the high-waisted Nadia pants in linen. For cooler evenings, the collarless Adley linen coat is tailored but has a relaxed, oversized fit. Prices start at $119 for the Effie ribbed shorts and range to $239 for the Adley coat.
Bare Road pieces are released in seasonal collections that are hand dyed and printed. Dying is kept to a minimum and off-cuts and leftover fabrics are donated to local towns to make traditional rural clothing. The label is also a member of 1% for the Planet, a global group that encourages businesses and individuals to offset their environmental impacts, and works closely with a small, family-run team of manufacturers in Bali to make its garments.
“We want our customers to feel confident in our styles to love and wear on rotation throughout the seasons,” Caughey says. “Our linens just get better with wear.”