Mother’s Day Special: The Tale of Camilla La Fleur



Camilla La Fleur grew up skiing her way to school in Norway, which is a far cry from the oceanside lifestyle she's currently embracing on Sydney's Northern Beaches...

The mother-of-two and founder of the fabulous new clothing range, UNIK SPACE, radiates light and ease in a way that feels both distinctly European and uniquely Australian. But to judge Camilla on her happy-go-lucky persona would be to underestimate this impressive businesswoman, who starts her days at 5am and often works well into the night so she can carve her working hours out around the lives of her children. Camilla’s approach to parenthood is also appropriately well-balanced. She is the first to admit that the constant worry that comes along with motherhood is a struggle, saying, “Having something so precious in life and knowing you will forever worry about them is a challenge.” But she is also equal parts optimistic and encouraging. “I hope that whatever they end up doing, that it will make them happy. I don’t think there is anything more important than that, and I will do anything I possibly can to guide them in the right direction.” We spoke to the beautiful Camilla about motherhood, Mother’s Day, and couldn’t resist asking for her styling tips across fashion and jewellery. Here’s what she had to say.

Photography by Julie Adams | Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe | Videographer: Lilli Boisselet | In association with Pandora | Go to www.unikspace.com.au


“ I always wear jewellery, and I never take it off unless I change it. Jewellery is a very personal statement and I like to wear mine layered. It can truly make an outfit stand out! ”

Can you tell us how UNIK SPACE came to be? You started the fashion label with two friends who share similar ideals and style to you?

It all started with a conversation. As we’ve worked together for five years, we knew each other’s strengths and work ethics. It was a natural progression to start a project together. We each have our own unique style, and when we worked together, we would often choose the same pieces, but style them differently. We wanted to create a label that most women would be able to wear and style as they liked, with pieces that were timeless, non-fussy and unique. We wanted to provide to a specific niche, offering mindful luxury and an easy alternative to dress for the multi-tasking modern woman.


What's it like producing a fashion label as a joint effort? Do you all have clearly defined roles or work on everything collaboratively?

It works really well because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. When we started the label it was a joint effort on most levels – now our roles are becoming more defined, but we always design together.


What does a typical working week look like for you?

A typical working week involves a 5am or 6am start. This is so I can get an hour of catching up on emails. The girls and I at UNIK SPACE usually start our meetings at 9:30am, as we all have children and work around caring for them. We start our meetings with a quick catch up and then we go through our agendas for the day – this all depends on where we’re at with production, marketing, customer care, musings and newsletters, social media, quality control, creating spec sheets and all our designs. On Thursdays and Fridays, we also do our try-on sessions for customers, so they can come and try their favourite pieces from our collection. On long workdays, we usually finish up by 5:30pm. Often I find myself catching up on work late at night, just to tick one more thing off the list.


Would you say your Scandinavian heritage influences your design or aesthetic in any way?

Absolutely. Being Norwegian myself and with one of my business partners being Swedish, our line is definitely influenced by our Scandinavian heritage. Our label is the under the title of, “A minimalistic aesthetic with a romantic twist,” and I think it’s a perfect combination of luxury fashion for all the modern women out there.


The UNIK SPACE pieces are fairly minimal and relaxed - how do you style jewellery into this aesthetic?

Jewellery is such an important accessory and because our pieces are quite minimalistic, we do love to add jewellery. We like to use fine and delicate jewellery pieces for this, that way it can be layered and never look too over the top.


What's your approach to accessorising day-to-day?

I always wear jewellery, and I never take it off unless I change it. Jewellery is a very personal statement and I like to wear mine layered. It can truly make an outfit stand out!


What has motherhood taught you so far?

Motherhood has taught me to appreciate the small things in life. Nothing ever beats that – the most important thing you can give your children is to love and be present.


How has motherhood changed or impacted the course of your career over time? If so, how?

As I had my first child when I was 26 and in the middle of completing my interior design degree, it certainly slowed me down a little, which I am very grateful for today as it made me really think about what I wanted to accomplish in my career.


What do you love about raising kids in Sydney?

First of all, I always tell them how lucky they are to grow up here. They’ve got so many opportunities: the beach at our doorstep and the city just a little ferry ride away. I also think they have a lot of freedom, as Sydney is a city with so much diversity. The nature is absolutely breathtaking – we are so grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.


How do you tackle the more difficult parts of parenting?

There certainly isn’t any step-by-step parenting book, but I always try to remind myself that whatever they are going through is just a stage. I try to provide a rationale that makes sense to my children, while being open to polite negotiation and working genuinely to see things from my children’s perspective. Whenever possible, I say “yes” or offer a compromise.


Do you rely on any mum-hacks to make getting out the door a little easier each day?

Yes and it’s very simple: prepare what you can the night before and set up a good morning routine. It really does save you a lot of time in the morning. Whenever I haven’t prepped anything, every task takes twice as long to complete.


Camilla and Sofia wear Pandora charm bracelets; Camilla wears UNIK SPACE blouse, $450 and UNIK SPACE overalls – coming soon.


How would you describe parenting at this point in your lives - harder than the early days, easier or just different?

I would definitely say that even though it isn’t always easier to parent older children, at least you don’t have them waking up every night. I think losing sleep when they were younger was the hardest part – and I do often feel the more independent they are, the easier the parenting is.


What is your ideal way to spend Mother's Day?

We don’t very often make time for it but I love slow mornings. So a perfect Mother’s Day would include a long breakfast at home, wearing our PJs until midday and then heading to the beach. Simple but so lovely.


Camilla wears Pandora knotted hearts necklace, $99


What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?

Looking after yourself by eating right, reducing stress, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep is so important. When things are hectic day-to-day, I try to do meal preparation on the weekends and I also wake up extra early to make sure I have time to exercise.


Describe an ideal way to spend a weekend as a family?

I love to just drive up the coast for a couple of days, but most importantly, that we spend time together and do all the things we so rarely get to do, such as going for a bush walk, have a picnic somewhere nice and just relaxing with all electronic devices turned off.


Camilla's current list of loves ...

-I’m not a typical yogi, but I love my mornings with Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She’s not like any other typical yoga teacher; she has a quirky sense of humour and her teaching style is so authentic and down to earth. -Hydra Island, Greece. One of my best friends in Norway has a house there and introduced me to this beautiful island for the first time in my early twenties. I always go back there and it instantly feels like stepping back in time. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island, so you can only get around by boat, donkey or your own two feet. While so many islands in Greece have been conquered by foreigners, Hydra is held firmly in the hands of Greeks. The island housed and inspired Leonard Cohen’s music and it’s easy to understand why. -The book My Brilliant Friend by the pseudonymous Italian novelist Elena Ferrante. It’s a rich and intense story about two friends – Elena & Lila – who grow up in a poor neighbourhood in Naples. I remember being up all night to finish this book as I could not put it down. -The Samuel blazer from UNIK SPACE. We first made it in Ivory as a perfect summer blazer and I’ve worn it together with the matching William shorts, or with a t-shirt and jeans. It’s a minimalistic A-line, collarless jacket with high side splits. It’s incredibly chic and so easy to wear. It’s now also available in black which is great for the colder months. -Bush walks in North Head (Manly) with my kids. I love how peaceful it’s up there and the pristine heathland and views are just breathtaking. We all loved it so much that we did our very first campaign shoot for UNIK SPACE up there.


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