On The Road

If You Were Looking for a Reason to Go to Bali, Make It This

Aurora James' inspiration trip will inspire you to finally book a ticket. In collaboration with W Hotels.

By: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Alec Kugler

We’re pretty sure you don’t need us to tell you Bali is a dream destination. As Aurora James says: “Bali is sort of a no-brainer. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s a tropical paradise.” It is, indeed. And she should know, because that’s where she went for her CFDA Fashion Incubator Inspiration Trip—aka a trip in which she explores a locale while on the hunt for that ~thing~ that will spark Brother Vellies’ next collection. And with the support of W Hotels (she stayed at their dream retreat in Seminyak), we’re pretty sure she did just that. Oh, did we mention we bagged a ride to go along with her? Yeah, and you best believe we recorded the whole thing. So seriously, if you’ve been waiting for a reason to finally book that trip to Bali, you’re about to have it handed to you.


“Bali has a rich history of having a lot of really amazing artisans. They do all sorts of things like weaving, making baskets, and I wanted to come check that out and see everything that Bali had to offer.”

Dress, Mara Hoffman; Bag & Shoes, Brother Vellies

“We spent four or five days checking out the local communities, meeting with lots of artisans who are doing all sorts of amazing things, everything from wood carving to weaving to making baskets. It’s been so phenomenal.”

“The weaving has been really amazing. It’s such an incredible process—first naturally dying all the cotton, which is something we do a lot in Africa. They triple-dye it and really let it soak and dry out in between. The weaving process takes weeks and weeks depending on how much fabric you need. Those things are really couture from a fashion standpoint. It’s pretty incredible to drive into what feels like the middle of nowhere and then see people making this fabric that’s on a whole other level.”

“I’m a huge fan of traditional cultural activities like weaving and carving—they’re the threads that make different populations special. It’s really about preserving those artisanal skills within the community and helping to promote and support those in any way that I can through Brother Vellies.”

“I’m so happy that I found so much inspiration here in Bali. It’s definitely going to inform a lot of my resort collection. For a designer it’s so important that we have the opportunity to travel to beautiful places like Indonesia and really get inspiration for our collections.”

“I’ve been really drawn to their use of natural materials. There’s a lot of indigo dying and dying with flowers. They have some great cotton. The wood carving is amazing, and even in the carvings they reference flowers—there’s a sense of nature that’s infused in all the design elements.”

“One day we drove for several hours to a tiny village where there are a bunch of artisans. We went individually from house to house to see what they were doing. It was definitely off the beaten track, but we were lucky enough to have our W Insider who could find these amazing places for us to check out. It was really special.”

“Travel is definitely part of my process as a designer, traveling around the world and visiting different workshops. Right now we work with workshops in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, so it’s been really awesome to come here and see what they were making and how I could incorporate that into my next collection, which I think I have.”

“I always use travel as a way to get inspired. Meeting different people and seeing different traditional cultural practices is a huge part of my brand.”

“I’m excited to be here with the CFDA and W Hotels. It’s an amazing partnership that has allowed so many of us designers to travel to beautiful, exotic places, which really helps enrich the design process. We’re ecstatic to be here at the W.”

“The W is a really amazing hotel to travel with as a designer. Creatively, in the spaces and the suggested places they take us to, it’s really inspiring, and you’re sure to find the most amazing creative outlets.”

“For me, as an accessories designer, it’s funny because everywhere you’re going, you’re looking around. It’s all about the eye. Diana Vreeland always said, ‘The eye has to travel.’ As I’m walking, I’m always snapping pictures of aerial views of my shoes and the ground, and it’s been so cool to see all the different textures and colors around Bali. It’s really mind-blowing.”

Pants & Kimono: Ace & Jig

Shoes, Brother Vellies; Dress, Loup Charmant

Shoes, Brother Vellies

Dress, Loup Charmant

Dress, Ulla Johnson; Shoes, Brother Vellies

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