Australian designer makes her mark on Hong Kong Fashion Week, while supporting women in India

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I love to hear of women supporting other women globally through their projects and businesses, after all we live in a global village. I also love fashion, so it makes my heart sing when I find out about a designer that is not only taking the fashion world by storm, but also supporting other women through her business.

Last week, Sydney Fashion Designer, Danielle Chiel, showcased her Winter 2015 range to international buyers on the runway at Hong Kong Fashion Week, the largest fashion event in Asia.

Danielle Chiel models backstage wearing her clothing at Hong Kong Fashion Week 2015

Her show featured soft Australian merino wool hand knits in an array of colours and designs.

“My designs are hallmarks of excellence in quality, style, and execution and I only use the highest quality fibres such as Australian Merino wool, silk, cashmere, cotton and linen,” said Danielle.

“Each garment is individually styled and immaculately hand knitted from Australian wool into the latest trends of unique statement pieces,” she added.

What is even more heartening is that Danielle is supporting women in southern India by teaching them how to make these beautiful clothes and providing employment for them.

In the rural village of Edayanchavadi and other surrounding villages in Tamil Nadu, a southern Indian state, women knitters live and thrive by making the high-quality clothes.

Women providing employment for women

Most of them have little education: many left school around the age of 14 as their parents could not afford to keep them there. However, as there was no employment in the rural villages, most were married very young and have happily continued in their tradition of being a good mother, wife, and housekeeper.

 However, they are typical women, just like you and I, and have their own dreams, desires and values to improve their homes and to educate their children. Just like you and I, they seek self-fulfilment, well-being, and success.

To achieve this, however, they need skills, an income and a stable future to look forward to. Danielle Chiel is helping them to realise these goals.

She travels to India every six weeks spending 10-14 days there at a time teaching women knitting.

“Knitting is a language, a skill that is continually refined with practise and on-going learning,” said Danielle.

“Once the women meet a certain level of skill, which can take one to four months, they move from honing their craft to creating high-end knitted jumpers,” she said.

Danielle employs up to 100 women at any one time. The women are paid a salary, superannuation and receive medical insurance, they are well looked after with Danielle personally over-seeing their training.

One jumper takes one month to knit, so each time someone buys a jumper it keeps one woman employed for a month.

The wonderful thing is that by generating their own income, the women-knitters have the means to pay for their children’s education, something that many of the women missed out on in their own childhood.

Women changing the world for future women!

Danielle chiel jumperDanielle’s international popularity is growing, with a steady increase in international garment orders.

“Wool is such a luxurious fibre and I am passionate about promoting hand knits as an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe and would love to see wool’s rightful place in every woman’s wardrobe all year long,” she Danielle.

“Women in Asia just love the luxury Australian wool offers and I am delighted to have shown my latest collection at Hong Kong Fashion Week,” she added.

The collection includes sweaters, cardigans and coats, capes, scarves and wraps and tunics and dresses, with prices ranging from $395 to $695 per knit.

To find more about Danielle’s collection, whether you are interested in a viewing, buying or retailing her high-end garments, you can contact her at


Melissa Histon

Photographer, philanthropist, adventurer, blogger, avid permitter and social changer, Melissa Histon is a woman on a mission to make a real difference to the lives of women globally. Melissa spent 10 years working in the corporate world before leaving to establish a successful photography business. After experiencing a number of life-altering events, Melissa created The Sista Code in May 2014 with a dream to see women empowered, happy and connected. Whether it's building a house for the homeless in Nepal, interviewing inspiring women from around the globe, or creating events and campaigns to support sistas escaping domestic violence, Melissa knows that true change can only happen when we all stand together and boost each other.

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