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Dee Tang, founder and designer of successful home wares brand Kawaiian Lion (@kawaiian_lion), sat down with us at her home in Perth to discuss her brand’s aesthetic, advice for those new to the path of a liberating, creative career and, of course, her favourite pieces of Elvis et Moi.

Tell us about your creative process as you design home wares for your label Kawaiian Lion.

It’s quite a natural process, I don’t really overthink it. It’s a feeling and textured based thing and usually begins with just an enigmatic photo, a quote or even a piece of vintage fabric. The upcoming collection ‘The Land of Liberty’ for SS18/19 has come about from my thoughts on America and what the country was founded upon and my wondering how we dig that up and allow the roots of democracy and liberty to resurface in this day and age.
Simultaneously, I was looking at antique flags on Etsy, I have been wearing Americana bandanas for the last few years and all of my aesthetic interests and current values will come together to create a collection. Then I curate the collection as it grows to make sure it tells a cohesive story. 

What accomplishment you are most proud of?

My girls. Kawa, who has passed through to the spirit world, and Rafa, my 2-year-old earth angel.

What are you working on at the moment?

We have just done a collaboration with Drifter Surf Shop in Bali. They have a range of tees with our slogans ‘Love is an Island,’ ‘The Porpoise of Life,’ and ‘Make waves not War.’ The tees are very special to us as they have a little print inside the collar that states, ‘In memory of Kawa Leaf - the original Kawaiian Lion’ and a portion of the proceeds will go to a children’s charity. 
What would you say to someone considering starting her own business/brand?

Just start somewhere. The hardest part is beginning. Focus on the daily steps you must take to get there. If you just look at the overall picture, it can be so overwhelming. So, it’s best to start somewhere small. Always ask for help where needed. Be open to change and allowing the brand to emerge in its own way too. It’s like baby or a plant that you must nurture and the more time, love and dedication you give it, the more it grows. 
Who is your biggest motivation?
Rafa, who is my earth child and I am always striving to be more present for, and Kawa who is my star child and I am learning to be more and more connected to in spirit.  
What are your favourite pieces of Elvis et Moi?
Today I am wearing the Maria Mengue Necklace and the Heart Shaped Box Ring, which is practically glued to my index finger, I love it so much and wear it daily.

What do you do when you aren’t working?
We hang out. We tune in. I like nothing better than having no plans and no agenda and no sense of time. Since we have moved back to WA (from Sydney’s Northern Beaches) we like to meander down to South Fremantle, grab coffee and chai and hang at the beach there. 

What songs are you listening to at the moment?
Nils Frahm. It’s very intense instrumental music that really stirs the soul. I use it to tap into that space you need for meditation in the morning, as there are no words. 

What is on your bucket list?
India, to visit our makers who hand crochet many of our pieces. Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrimage from the South of France across the top of Spain. 


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