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Fashion News

A national campaign transformed this drought-stricken designer's brand - now, she's launching a collection based on her experience

''That kindness and trusting nature is the real Australia.''

By Jess Pullar
Annabelle Kennedy's family farm in Nyngan, New South Wales, is her home, her comfort and her livelihood - but when it became severely affected by the harrowing drought currently bearing down on rural Australia, it felt like all hope might be lost.
The 40,000 acre property, where she lives with her three children all under the age of seven, was subjected to one of the country's most damaging environmental events.
But hope is worth hanging onto, even in the darkest of times - and Annabelle's story is case in point.
Clothing designer Annabelle (pictured) has felt the effects of the drought on her family farm - but things are changing for the better. (Clancy Job and Georgie Newton)
The 29-year-old launched a children's clothing brand, Kennedy The Label, in 2017. The grass-roots company offers a number of kids clothing items made from beautiful linen materials.
The brand itself, which is based in an office at Annabelle's farm, is classic and timeless, something the designer has consciously tried to stay true to - all while keeping things affordable.
"The brand was mostly inspired by the classic styles - so many of them can be difficult to track down. I just wanted to make them affordable and accessible to everyone," she explains to Now To Love.
But while the business itself has been sustainable over the years, it wasn't until this year (or more accurately, little more than a month ago), when a simple act of kindness from Australian's across the country transformed the brand.
Annabelle's brand features heavenly linen children's pieces. (Kennedy The Label)
You might be familiar with the campaign Buy From The Bush - an incredible initiative launched in response to the harrowing droughts affecting thousands across the country.
Launching at the end of October 2019, the campaign aimed to showcase some of the talented rural creatives who have businesses operating from Australia's drought affected areas.
Encouraging Aussies to buy from the local designers (and providing some solid evidence by highlighting the incredible items on offer), the campaign has sparked nation-wide support.
Garnering more than 100,000 Instagram followers on its page in a mere six weeks, Buy From The Bush is front and centre for many Aussies this Christmas, with a national push to buy Christmas presents via the platform's showcased talent, in order to support the farms affected.
For Annabelle, that's meant more than she could ever have imagined.

Since the campaign started, Kennedy The Label's sales have increased by a whopping 300 per cent, now making it her family's main form of income, as their farm experiences the detrimental economic impact of the drought.
"It's opened up incredible opportunities and given us so much exposure," she explained.
But for Annabelle, the incredible success of her business since Buy From The Bush launched isn't even the best part.
"It's the flow on effect," she explained.
As orders continue to flow in for Annabelle's brand, she's constantly needing to visit the local post office to deliver them.
Doing this on such a regular basis has resulted in almost $3,000 worth of deliveries, all of which has gone to the local family-run post office.
The flow on affect of national campaign Buy Fromm The Bush has been monumental, Annabelle explains. (Clancy Job and Georgie Newton)
In another serendipitous anecdote, Annabelle was also sent a package as a result of her exposure that's sparked her next business move.
"I just went to the post office last week and there were two packages there [for me]. It had a card from a woman in Queensland named Beth who sent me her family heirlooms from baptism," she explained.
"They were last used in 1958, and there was these beautiful smocked, embroided linen and chiffon designs."
The package even included an incredible cable cloth, another family heirloom from 1855.
"It had this extremely intricate lacework, and it was in perfect condition."
It turns out, Beth had seen Annabelle's story on television, and Kennedy The Label's designs resonated with her, and her family herilooms so much that she decided to send them to her.
'She thought that the pieces should go to someone who would put them to good use," Annabelle said.
And to use, they have certainly been put - the designer is now creating a brand new collection completely inspired by the beautiful items sent by Beth. It's expected to be released in early 2020.
"This whole thing is inspired by a complete stranger. 'That kindness and trusting nature is the real Australia.''
WATCH: Aussie farmers declare: "Our spirit won't be broken". Story continues after video...
Real Australia indeed. Buy From The Bush is continuing to thrive as more Aussies get on board to support the country's worst affected farmers.
Founder Grace Brennan, who is a mother living on a cropping farm in Warren, New South Wales, felt the keen affects of the drought via her husband.
"I have watched my husband work through this drought feeling very helpless. I am pretty ordinary (read hopeless) in the sheepyards. All my prayers have not made it rain. My weak consoling conversation at the dinner table has seemed redundant. Yet, I have desperately wanted to define the problem and create a solution," she writes on the campaign's website.
Her idea has become an incredible cause that thousands of Australians are now backing.
On Thursday, December 12, Buy From The Bush is hosting a giant pop up market in Martin Place, Sydney.
Running from 8am-8pm, Sydney-siders will have the chance to do their Christmas shopping, all while helping the farmers in need.
It's unconfirmed as to whether the market will span to other major cities, but even so, all Aussies can get behind the cause by visiting its website and checking out some of the amazing brands it showcases.
You can trust us on this one - Kennedy The Label is one of many.
Grace Brennan, founder of Buy From The Bush has organised a Christmas market in Martin Place, Sydney on December 12. (Supplied)

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