Born and raised in Hong Kong and Galway, Zoë Wong graduated from Trinity College Dublin before moving to New York City to study Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Design. Following graduation in 2009 she worked with International brands – TSE, Libra Leather and Pour La Victoire. During this period of apprenticeship Zoë cultivated her knowledge of craftsmanship and raw materials, working in the fields of knitwear design, leather and shoe design.

Zoë now lives in Kilkenny with her husband and daughter. She is devoted to her family and her craft; sustainable slow fashion mindfully made with positivity. Zoë works to empower others through fashion education.

What is your ethos?

My ethos is creating balance in my daily life, within family and my work. Finding balance has been really hard throughout my life but I think trying is really important. Balance is a great thing to have as a guideline so that you’re not off kilter in any one direction.

What brings energy into your day?

The one thing that brings energy to my day is swimming. I was never an outdoorsy kind of person pre-covid but friends got me into swimming in my local river. Since January 1st I’ve been swimming every day and this Saturday will be my 100th swim! That brings me a lot of energy. It means I actually get out of bed and I’ve done something for myself which brings me energy that I can apply to my family and my work.

What is the biggest challenge in your life right now?

The biggest challenge in my life all the time is trying to find balance and making time for everything I want to do. A long time ago I suffered with  anxiety. I went to a therapist for that and I learnt a lot from that experience. It was really about knowing myself and checking in with myself on how I felt. In my 20s I didn’t check in with myself and I just went day to day. Checking in is how I create positivity in my mental state, and always calibrating how I feel so I don’t get upset or into a negative mental state.

When are you most at peace or in flow?

I’m most at peace when my family is around me and I have consciously put aside things that are stressing me out. So if work is stressing me out, having a mentally clean slate and being with my daughter, husband and dog is when i’m most at peace.

Are you a spiritual person? 

I don’t know if I’m a spiritual person and not knowing doesn’t bother me to be honest. I was brought up Catholic and continued as a Catholic as a child and a teenager and continued not understanding. My take on life’s meaning is you do the best you can in the short time that you’ve got. You make as much positive impact as you can in your day to day life and you try and leave as little negative impact behind. The main thing I took from the Catholic religion is to treat others as you’d like to be treated.

Are you a happy person?

I would like to think that I am a happy person, yeah! A friend was swimming with me the other morning and she said to me ‘your morning greetings are so chirpy’! I guess I’m so happy that the people I love are all around and I live a very privileged life as everyone is happy and healthy.

Is your life controlled or affected by fear in any way?

When I was in my mid 20s I got a tattoo that says in latin ‘fortes fortuna adiuvat’ which means ‘fortune favours the brave’ and I really took that moto to heart. Fear is there as a natural instinct to warn you away from danger, but in modern life we don’t really have those dangers anymore so our fears are to be questioned. If you check in on your fears and rationalise them you realise they actually don’t really exist. My way is to rationalise fear and therefore it cannot really control me.

What do you love about yourself?

I think the thing I love about myself is my pure naivety. My husband laughs at me all the time because I’m really susceptible to advertising and I do a lot of things without really thinking about them. Some people would look at that as a negative but I have put myself forward for opportunities that I wouldn’t normally do and it’s down to pure stupidity and blind unawareness that I do things. I think there could be negative outcomes but because I’m a positive person I take the good from these situations.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my 5 year old daughter. She’s a culmination of myself and my husband and she’s the best and worst parts of us. She’s taught me not to dislike the bad parts of myself because I see these same things in her and now I think ‘they’re not actually bad, they’re just things you work around’. I’m also really proud of what I’ve built in terms of work.

Knowing what you know now, what would you tell a young Zoë?

I wouldn’t tell a young Zoë anything. I wouldn’t change my life or the mistakes that I’ve made, the silly things I did or the people that I meant that hurt me along the way as they all added to my character. Well…maybe I’d tell her to chill out a bit!

Who have you learned most from in your life?

I would say my mum and dad. I learnt how to work and how not to work from my dad. He’s a workaholic. I’ve taken all of my work ethic from him but left behind the obsessiveness or addictive behaviour that he had. Kind of. I’m still working on that. My mum, she’s such a quiet woman, and really takes life on the chin and deals with everything like such a lady so I’m constantly learning from her.

What’s the next challenge in life that excites you?

Building my family is one thing that is going to be a challenge because of work and finding life balance. But I do find having a challenge is really exciting.

To learn more about Zoë and her beautiful designs, visit zoecarol.com

#myethos is a series where we meet with creatives, pioneers and social-change makers who either have a unique connection to nature that has fuelled their life ethos, or who are using their talent as a medium for creating positive social impact by empowering others. Follow us on Instagram to hear about more upcoming features.