Meet The Designer: Lara Fells, St. Agni
Meet The Designer: Lara Fells, St. Agni

Meet The Designer: Lara Fells, St. Agni

Australian native Lara Fells set up St. Agni in 2014 as an antidote to boho fashion. Today, the brand’s minimalist aesthetic is unmistakable – and its A-list fans are testament to the enduring appeal of the designs. Here, we sat down with Lara to find out more about the brand and how her own personal style influences each collection.
By Emma Bigger

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Growing up, I was always passionate about style. I loved collecting magazines, and my family really fostered my creativity, encouraging me to experiment with making my own clothing. My nona taught me how to sew and had a special sewing room at her house that I would spend hours in when we visited her. She would also take me to the fabric store and let me choose pieces to experiment with.  

My mother always dressed in a very considered way. She also loved fashion, which obviously influenced me a lot. I also have a vivid memory of my aunt’s wardrobe – I remember her silver sculptural jewellery and her oversized, modern clothing. I was totally fascinated by her look.

I suppose I’d always had an ENTREPRENEURIAL STREAK and even from a young age, I couldn’t understand WHY EVERYONE DIDN’T START THEIR OWN BUSINESS.

I started my career in retail, as a manager of an Australian fashion label. I noticed there was a huge gap in the market for chic, minimalistic design, so that’s when I decided to start my own label. I suppose I’d always had an entrepreneurial streak and even from a young age, I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t start their own business. 

Even though my aesthetic is very minimal, I still appreciate drama and detail. When I was young, I remember a relative wearing a pink dress with a big bow on the front. I thought it was incredible, but my mother would have let me dress in something like that. I started laying the foundations for my brand at the height of the boho era in Australia. Everything was heavily embellished and printed. But I knew I wanted to create a brand that contrasted with this aesthetic, focusing on grown-up designs and clean lines in neutral colours.

I didn’t have a business plan when I started. In hindsight, I was very naïve about the challenges of starting a business. Luckily, this naivety proved to be a strength, as we were totally open to learning and had the courage to venture into the unknown. Our growth was slow and organic. We started with a handful of handwoven leather accessories, and a year later we started developing leather footwear before finally expanding into apparel.

I work across every aspect of the design process. In the beginning, I was across every aspect of business, from designing through to marketing and packing orders. But as the business has evolved over the years, we’ve built an amazing team to oversee these different areas. It’s allowed me to focus on my role primarily within the design studio. 

The core of St. Agni is contemporary minimalism – it’s all about a modern uniform that blends timeless silhouettes with considered detailing. Our most recent SS24 collection draws inspiration from the abstract silhouettes which challenge symmetry and modernise women’s wardrobes. Our collections are crafted from 100% natural and biodegradable textiles and 100% of our footwear and accessories are created with Leather Working Group (LWG) approved suppliers. This season, we also used a lot of deadstock fabric. Working with our textile mills to source and divert these fabrics from landfill has been a big win for us, and something we’re excited to expand on in future collections. 

I don’t focus on trends. I’m a bit of a uniform dresser – I love pieces that are really easy to wear and that work together effortlessly. There’s a bit of a boyish edge to my style but when I go out for dinner, I love a little bias cut slip dress for something a bit more feminine.

My own wardrobe is full of vintage Levi’s, adidas trainers and AGMES jewellery. At the moment, I’m living in our low-rise jeans in washed black, which are launching in March. I style them with a classic black belt and white singlet. I also love tailored trousers; I have a few pairs that I wear on rotation, and I style them exactly as I would my denim.

We recently opened our first permanent store in Sydney. I was working late in the evening, unpacking the collection with my general manager and friend, Jack, and we could hear people on the street talking about how much they loved the brand. It brought tears to my eyes hearing people talk so fondly of what we have created.

It brings me joy knowing our pieces CAN BE INTERPRETED IN SO MANY WAYS.

I’ve loved seeing A-listers like Riley Keogh, Gigi Hadid, Kylie and Kendall Jenner in St. Agni. In the early days it was the most amazing feeling when we spotted people in our designs. Still, to this day, I love seeing the different ways people style our pieces. It brings me joy knowing our pieces can be interpreted in so many ways. 

Funnily enough, I feel most inspired when I’m alone. I enjoy stepping away from the noise of my busy life and I enjoy taking a moment to pause and let my creativity run wild. Often, I think it would be fun to have zero creative boundaries – but that’s not how a business works.  

My advice to anyone setting up a fashion brand would be to have a clear vision. Work out exactly why you want to create a brand, what your intentions are and be prepared to do the work.  Also, I think every brand needs to be aware of how we consume, conscious consumption and transparency within the industry. 



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