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A Scotch & Soda Collection Inspired By the Woman Who Travelled Alone, Robyn Davidson

By Guan Tan

 
 

 

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When Robyn Davidson was 26 — and this was way back in 1977 — she took her dog and embarked on a 2,835 kilometres trek across the western deserts of Australia. Both the concept of solo travel and the geography of the desert were unwelcoming of this female traveller. Yet, she pulled it off and later published a book titled "Tracks", documenting her thoughts on the many facets of her journey — females in male-dominated environments, her travel philosophy, and romantic love amongst others. 

Later in 1992, the Australian travelled alongside the Indian nomads and wrote another travelogue titled "Desert Places". In there, she revealed that this trip to India left her furious — "biting camels, and the language barrier, and children were laughing at her while she had diarrhoea (in public), and the tribespeople she was supposed to be making friends with [were] throwing stones at her...," a 1996 interview with The Independent revealed. Davidson paid the price of curiosity. Nonetheless, her book and journey shed light on the very nature of travel and the ensuing cross-cultural exchanges.

For all of her solo adventures and travel literature, Davidson was dubbed one of the greatest female Australian travellers. Decades on, Davidson continues to inspire.

The Amsterdam-born clothing label, Scotch & Soda joins the list of the inspired. Both of the label's men's and women's Spring/Summer 2018 collections, collectively titled "Seven Lights of Day", tapped on Davidson's spirited travels. "The collect was sparked by the story of Australian writer and traveller Robyn Davidson, who is known for her 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of Western Australia," the brand notes.

In particular, the clothes transport wearers through the lonesome nights and days of Davidson's travels. "Dedicated to all the brave, solo travellers — those whose only travel companion is mother nature herself — the Seven Lights of Day collection references the transformation of light through twenty-four hours on the trail." 

The grand display of colours in a desert sunrise were translated into soft, warm pastel colours. Likewise, the vast desert's numerous shades of beige and brown were made into shirts, trousers, bags, and jackets. The collection is a sum of Davidson's day out in the desert — albeit in beautiful colours. "Each time of the day has a unique identity: and we've attempted to capture them all in our collection's colour palette," the brand continues. 

Yet, to Mariouvan Engelen, the creative director of Scotch & Soda, there is more than meets the eye. The collection is not as straightforward as mere colours — it captures the solitude of a man swallowed by the grandeur of nature. "Trekking alone exaggerates every moment and every feeling — sounds get louder and colours get brighter. Every stretch of day's light is so intense." Engelen eloquently captured the magic of solo travels. It introduces a disturbing yet welcomed fear — of solitude and the imposing great outdoors.

Scotch & Soda's Seven Lights of Day collection is available in stores now.