The Upside of being Ash
This month we take a peek inside the head office of The Upside and have a chat with Ashlea Holdsworth, designer for the incredibly cool womenswear range. Ash and her husband Daniel (a retired rugby league player who now works as a mentor through the NRL 'school to work' programme for Indigenous kids in years 11&12) have a beautiful little boy River (17months) and as any working Mum knows, it can be a juggle. As Angelina Jolie once said “I think if you love what you do, and the choice you’ve made in your life, somehow that drives you forward to enjoy it all. Even the chaos, even the exhaustion of it all, and even when it seems out of balance”. Ash is one of those incredibly vibrant women that remind us that it is possible to have an exciting career and a family… it’s all in the way we approach life.
What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
Working for and alongside Jodhi (the Creative Director) is so inspiring; she's very clever and creative. The team that I work with every single day. Seeing people wearing The Upside product is very inspiring … it’s super nice to know that people love the product, I still get such a thrill seeing women wearing something that I have designed. Most importantly my family and Son, River.
Describe your style
My style is quite relaxed, very monochromatic. My favourite colours are white, black and grey marle but then I also like pops of colour in leg wear. My style is also quite sporty.
Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
Don't sweat the small stuff. Since becoming a Mum I've learnt to stop stressing over the little things that really don’t matter. I remind myself that when work gets overwhelming, it is just clothes I’m creating. We are not curing cancer.
Your typical day?
Wake up around 6ish unless I go for a walk or to the gym then it’s earlier. Between my husband and I getting ready for work we are giving River his breakfast and getting him ready for the day as well. I pack his bags and one of us drops him at daycare or at Grandparents homes on the way to work. I usually get a coffee first at my favourite Four Ate Five on Crown Street and then I’m at my desk by 9am. I start my day with emails and have a meeting with my assistant Hannah if there is anything urgent etc. Every work-day for me is different depending on what I am up to. Whether it is sketching up new designs or graphics work, fitting new collections or meetings - each day is different which keeps the job interesting and inspiring. I try to leave the office by 5pm at the latest. I usually do a few phone calls on my way home and then once I get home, it is all about River. I get home and have play time and just hang out with him. I then give him his dinner and then it's bath time. Then its bottle time and we read a few books then he's off to bed. Once he goes to bed, I’m pretty much back at my computer catching up on anything I didn’t get to during the day and watching trashy TV in the background.
What are some of the things you cannot live without in your home?
My family and a kettle for my cup of tea that I have first thing every day.
Describe The Upside woman?
The Upside woman inherently lives and breathes the active lifestyle. The Upside woman likes to look equally as good working out as she does on a day or night out. She is not wearing active-wear to dinner or lunch but she believes that looking good should also convert to what she wears to stay active.
We want to make women feel comfortable in their own skin. We don’t want this brand to be intimidating to any woman, but all-inclusive. This is a label that caters to being the best version of yourself and we work hard to promote that ideal for all types of women, without discriminating.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when designing new collections for The Upside?
Anything and everything inspires me for new collections. When Jodhi and I get together and throw around ideas and when I have creative direction from her then I get super inspired. Also looking for or starting to design prints can start a direction. Travel is also a big source of inspiration for me as well as different cultures, architecture and the beach. I think inspiration can be drawn from almost anything and each and every season our source of inspiration and also direction for a collection is always different.