Our store staff work extra hard this time of year bringing the cheer to your Obus visit. We spent a few minutes with these lovely ladies to find out what they are rockin' and loving this Christmas!
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Alter ego: I take photos, sew, craft and experiment baking vegan treats!
Fave festive tune: It’s gotta be something Michael Buble right?
Fave Xmas tradition: Probably Christmas crackers.. I think sitting around the dinner table, awkwardly sat next to a relative you perhaps don’t know that well, a Christmas cracker always helps to break the ice and everyone has a laugh!
Secret skill: Embroidery! I haven’t done much, but I seem to have a knack for it.
Alter ego: Painter... Well, thinking about painting. Next year will be the year of exhibiting!!
Favourite festive tune: Little Drummer Boy by Boney M. (My mum would play their Christmas album every Christmas, it would drive my brothers and I crazy... Now I play it every year and I totally love it!! So does my daughter.)
Favourite xmas tradition: Having to come up with meaningful gifts that have a cash limit. I love it because it forces you to be creative and thoughtful...
Secret skill: I asked my daughter and she said "You're amazing and cool... ;). And I make a mean green curry !
Alter ego: When I'm not at Obus I'm a full time student chipping away at a Bachelors degree in Youth Work, striving to do better at keeping my house plants alive and being a cat mum to my baby Rosco.
Favourite festive tune: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (of course)
Favourite xmas tradition: Watching Christmas movies such as Scrooged and Love Actually with my partner and/or housemates, eating pink zooper doopers and taking my niece, Isabella to see the Christmas lights up around my house in Princes Hill.
Secret skill: People always underestimate me in a game of Scrabble
Alter ego: When I'm not at Obus. I'm spending a little too much on going out for lunch and dinner and discovering new places to shop and have a wine! Still a newbie to Melbourne :)
Fave festive tune: I'm gonna have to be twins with Nikki and say All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey - it is such a good tune and also reminds me of that scene from Love Actually!
Fave christmas tradition: I always have brunch with my parents and open presents together in pajamas! Also, always having an Xmas arvo nap.
Secret skill: I can do a very clumsy back flip!
The gorgeous LOW TIDE print is a special part of our BETWEEN WIND AND WATER Summer 2018 collection. It features cute sea creatures hand drawn by Kylie's (then) 5-year-old son, Orlo last summer! Read on to share a little of what inspired them both.
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Orlo got his sea legs early in life - he first slept on our boat when he was just three weeks old! Since then he's spent many a weekend and holiday on board with us anchoring at beaches along the east coast and even crossing over Bass Strait to Tasmania.
For a big part of the year, the ocean is a second home for us: a family pastime that offers respite from the demands of inner-city life and running a small business! To step outside of life in Melbourne and experience new places is always a good way to find inspiration. I see the same creative sparks in Orlo when we are out in nature. The thing I admire the most is that he is not inhibited about anything he creates. For him, it's about telling a story, and getting his ideas out quickly. He's not precious or worried about the outcome - it's just magic.
Last summer the three of us (myself, my partner Simon, and Orlo) were lucky to be able to spend five weeks away together exploring the coastline around Wilsons Promontory and Port Albert. It's a long time to spend living on a boat, and certainly not without some scary moments, but overall it was such an amazing experience to be able to have so much time away from the city and in the wilderness together. Orlo became a prolific drawer over this time and drew many of the critters we saw each day. This journey also inspired the prints I created for BETWEEN WIND AND WATER - So it does feel like a very special collection for me personally!
LOW TIDE features Orlo's drawings of sea critters. He's watched the process of me designing prints so many times, and has enjoyed seeing his own work come to life in this way. I can't wait for him to see someone actually wearing his drawings... his eyes will totally pop!
L-R: LOW TIDE SMOCK (due late November); LOW TIDE JUMPSUIT; LOW TIDE TOP; LOW TIDE BAG; LOW TIDE DRESS
Each Obus print since the brand began in 1998 is a product of Obus founder and creative director Kylie Zerbst's hand. So after twenty years, what has Kylie learned about the world of textile patterns? Here, she shares her top five tips for creating a killer fashion textile design.
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Consider the fabric
Across our collections, our original prints are often spread across our favourite fabrics - cotton jersey, viscose, bamboo/cotton, and linen. Choosing which print will work with which fabric is quite a considered part of the design process. Geometric designs and bold colours really ‘pop’ on jersey - TWO WORLDS is a great example of this - while the drape of Viscose only suits certain textile designs. Because we have moved towards digital printing for most of our textile designs - a method that is more environmentally friendly than screen printing - there is no limit to the colours we can use. However, a more textural fibre such a linen will suit a pattern that can mask or work with the natural slubs present in the fabric. It’s a big puzzle and the first challenge in designing a collection!
Play with scale
When designing a print for Obus, I spend quite a bit of time playing with scale. I love to make the features of a print really big - TELL ME A STORY is a good example of this. With a large scale print, it’s highly likely your Obus garment is completely unique, because every piece is cut from the fabric in a different place. Having said that, sometimes a smaller more detailed print can work just as well. WANDERER, a print that has undergone a few evolutions over our 20-year history, is a good example. Bigger is not always better (but it usually is ;))
Colour can make or break a print
Colour is a huge feature of our collections, and often I’ll review multiple colour options for a single print with my team before making a final decision. After so many years, I believe it’s often the thing that makes or breaks a print. I’m influenced by a range of things when devising the colour combinations across a collection - from current trends, to my own favourite hues… but I always aim for something unexpected. In combination with the textile design and fabric, the colours can really help take a garment to the next level!
Ensure your digital file is technically correct
Sketching, drawing, designing and refining a print concept is the fun part, but getting it onto fabric is quite a technical process! Each fabric and design requires digital artwork files to be set up in different way, and communication with our printers to get the best result is key. Sometimes colours that I see onscreen will look completely different printed on fabric, so the digital file setup has to work in reverse. It can be a headache at times! But when those first samples arrive and the print gets closer to ‘the real thing’, is one of my favourite parts of designing the collection.
Make it personal
There are millions of textile designs out there, but I truly believe the best designs come from the heart. Reviewing the prints I’ve created since Obus began for the LOVE OBUS collection was a moving experience. Each one is imbued with so much of Obus’ life story: the destination it was inspired by; something cultural I was curious about at the time; or even how difficult it was to bring the textile idea to life! Just like art, designing a textile print that relates to something you’ve seen, felt, experienced or are passionate about will always yield the best results. So let your mind wander and see what comes!Shop all the latest Obus prints here. Images feature prints from our upcoming collection, launching soon!
Left-Right: Kylie Zerbst (Obus founder/creative director) and Kerryn Moscicki (Radical Yes founder/creative director)
The Obus x Radical Yes collab has launched, and we're thrilled to partner with this conscious Melbourne brand to bring you a range of comfortable, practical and beautiful statement shoes.
Both Obus and Radical Yes are fiercely independent, female-owned businesses, committed to creating high-quality products that last. Kylie Zerbst, Obus Creative Director, and Kerryn Moscicki, Radical Yes creative director talk about this values-aligned partnership, how their customers influence their designs, and the wardrobe items they keep returning to.
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Tell us about the idea behind this collaboration, and why does it make sense for Radical Yes and Obus to collaborate on this footwear range?
Kylie: Radical Yes had been on our radar for a while as a company committed to the ethics and environmental standards we value in our own business. We also really love their design sensibility and the way that their products transcend current trends. While we have always manufactured the majority of our clothing in Melbourne, it’s increasingly difficult to produce footwear here. We admire Radical Yes's dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do.
"We admire Radical Yes' dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do."
Kerryn: We were so floored when Obus came to us to talk about a footwear collaboration because we have always admired their work. For me personally, I have looked to them as an inspiring example of an iconic, independent Melbourne brand who have been doing their own thing and doing it well for a really long time. We believe our customers have a shared set of values and a similar aesthetic so the idea of using Obus palettes on our silhouettes was a no-brainer.
Kylie: Yes it’s been a dream collab - it doesn’t feel like work when they’ve made the whole process so easy!
Running your own businesses, can you take us through your approach to workwear? What’s essential to you?
Kerryn: Flat shoes! I walk to work and on the way drop my kids at kinder and school, so my workwear garments are very focused on functionality and pragmatism. My outfits tend to be very simple in palette mix - lots of navy, charcoal and camel tones - to help disguise the inevitable kid stains. But then some days I also love to be super comfortable in a vintage oversized knit and denims. The common theme is always a flat shoe.
Kylie: I love colour and pattern. Similar to Kerryn, the Obus studio is local to my neighbourhood and I’m often arriving to work after walking my son to school. For me, I dress to express my personality but also feel comfortable all day. I love accessorising a casual linen or wool pant with a chunky knit, tailored shirt and statement earrings. The clothing we make at Obus has women who want professional and versatile clothing as its primary focus - it’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!
"It’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!"
What do you think is the edge that small businesses in the fashion landscape have over the big players?
Kerryn: Being truly connected to the customer, having more empathy with their needs and lifestyles rather than pushing product for the sake of meeting 'stakeholder demands'. I believe you can tell when product has lost its purpose and is just filling an 'assortment matrix' to meet stock turn targets. Maybe it’s idealistic, but I believe this is why customers are seeking out and responding to smaller makers who are producing from a place of passion before profits.
Kylie: We’ve always been a small and agile team at Obus, and I think this has helped us weather a few storms over the past 20 years. We can be responsive to trends, to manufacturing snafus, and in communication with our customers. Like Kerryn says, we can also get to know our customers really well - our stores are a mainstay of Melbourne’s inner north, and getting to know our local customers over the years is a bigger part of our overall design process than they probably realise!
Both Obus and Radical Yes create quality products that are designed to transcend seasons and last the test of time. What’s a favourite item in your wardrobe that is still going strong?
Kylie: This Winter I’ve loved my Obus Cocoon coat from a few years ago. It’s a bold lilac purple, collarless cocoon coat and always gets lots of comments!
Kerryn: I have a few key items from our collections over the years. My 'Saturn Returns' trainers in wool lined shearling are a definite go-to in Winter. My 'Little & Often' Day Heels are also an easy slip on that I return to almost daily. They look ace with opaque tights and denims. Can’t wait to wear the new lilac ones Kylie dreamed up for us!
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By now we’re sure you know that Obus makes over 80% of our clothing right here in Australia. But the making is only part of the equation. Ensuring that each part of the supply chain aligns with our ethical and environmental values is important to us too!
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Last year, we shared this post about our Merino Travellers. This year, as we continue to improve our manufacturing process and share it with you, we worked with a local business to mill and dye the Merino we use in our winter Traveller range.
Join us in a virtual tour of the Melbourne factory who process our Woolmark-certified Merino fabric and dye it in our delicious custom Obus colours.
The factory, located in an outer suburb of Melbourne, are an industry leader committed to low-impact high-quality Merino wool processing and dyeing. They LOVE Merino, and as Australia is the world’s biggest producer of fine Merino, they work closely with farmers to source the best quality fibres that tick the social, ethical and environmental demands we - as a business and as customers - put on them.
Employing around 65 locals, the factory believes that environment does not have to be sacrificed for quality. They strive to continually lower the impact normally associated with textile production. They even have an on-site water treatment plant, where a staggering 85% of the water used in the manufacturing is able to be reused!
When the milling and dyeing is complete, our Merino is cut and sewn by our local makers into our tried and true TRAVELLER silhouettes, before joining other new arrivals on the shop floor. So by choosing Obus for your winter Merino layers, you’re choosing to support local makers and manufacturers - and low environmental impact - through and through!Shop all our Melbourne-made Travellers here.
Like all our prints, Kado was developed by our fearless leader (founder and creative director), Kylie Zerbst, as part of our most recent collection, Way of Flowers.
Inspired by crysanthemum flowers and contemporary ikebana, Kado is accented with mauve, burgundy, and potent orange accents - A true Obus classic.
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Shop all KADO styles - including our CRUMPLER X OBUS accessories collection now!
If you’re a long-time lover of Obus, you’ll know we’ve always been committed to local manufacturing.
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After almost 20 years, we’re proud to say 80% of our garments are still made here in Australia, by a family business we’ve worked with for years. Where each and every item is made is listed in its description, and you can link right through to our full manufacturing, environmental & social impact information page from our home page too.
Obus clothing made in Melbourne, featuring environmentally friendly fabrics such as cotton, Tencel, and Bamboo. In recent years, we've moved from screenprinting to digital printing for our original textile designs, as this process uses less water and resources overall.
It’s exciting to update this info with each new collection and product we develop, finding accredited suppliers who aren’t hurting the earth (or the people on it!). Last year, we blogged about our eco-friendly Australian-made swimwear, as well as our ethically sourced Merino.
Obus swimwear (left) is manufactured in Sydney from fabric made of regenerated post-consumer waste such as carpets, clothing and fishing nets. Our MERINO TRAVELLERS (right), are made in Melbourne from wool that complies with strict ethical and environmental standards.
There’s always more to do on a #fashionrevolution journey, but we like to start at home. For more about Fashion Revolution and their impact around the globe, visit their website.
Hey folks - Kylie here! On behalf of the whole Obus team in the studio and in our stores, I’d like to say thanks again to you for supporting us this year.
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As a small team who put their hearts into each new Obus product, we’re always delighted when the response to a new print or style is so positive. 2017 was the year of the Thistle Dress (the only time we’ve ever reprinted due to overwhelming demand!); four stunning collections; three huge Vogue Online Shopping Nights; relaunching our blog; and tallying your votes to decide which prints from the Obus archive will be revived in the new year.
L-R (Back row) Nat, Tamsin, Megan A, Kit, Sam (Front row) Tess, Kylie, Megan C
With your help, this year we also collected hundreds of donations during our Brotherhood of St Laurence Winter Clothing Drive; donated much-needed feminine products to women in need through our collaboration with Tsuno; and helped our friends at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with fabric and sewing machines for their Women’s Empowerment Group.
Next year is our 20th year in business - we have lots of special things planned and we will continue to build on our commitment to local manufacturing and supporting our community. But for now, we’re all looking forward to a much-needed break, spending good times with family & friends and soaking up the summer sun!
Thanks for travelling with Obus!
We helped the Women's Empowerment Group at Melbourne's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (and you can to!)
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The ASRC runs a Women's Empowerment Group (WEG) that meets at least once every week. How cool is this:
'This program supports women seeking asylum to realise their full potential through a range of professional development workshops and activities, including English language classes, education and training and other community-based activities to foster creativity and social engagement. The program also supports our entrepreneurial female members to start up their own businesses as well as running a nine-week ‘Sisterhood Journey’, a self-growth program run in partnership with MIND Australia and the SHINE program in partnership with Hope Inc.'
When Karen from the ASRC got in touch to ask if we could help out with sewing equipment for the WEG, we figured that if anyone could help, we could! We held a drive at the Obus Studio (read: called our mothers and friends), and managed to wrangle quite a collection: five sewing machines, including an overlocker and a leather specialty machine. Obus paid to have these machines checked and serviced, and we recently had the immense pleasure of delivering them to the ASRC.
It was astonishingly wonderful to meet some of the lovely ladies from the group. We were even treated to flowers and the most sensational afternoon-tea, with home-made snacks from India, Ethiopia, the Pacific Islands and more.
The food was accompanied by some pretty excellent chats in the tea room, and we could tell just how much the group means to these women. They described the ASRC as 'home', and travel from as far as Geelong to get there.
The Women's Empowerment Group is always in need of donations. If you have any excess fabric or sewing equipment, including scissors, thread (sewing and overlocker), pins, snippers and any other sewing paraphernalia that you can spare please contact Karen at The ASRC.
Alternatively, if Footscray is a bit hard to get to, drop your donations at any Obus store and we'll deliver them for you.
We'd like to offer special thanks to Keryn Haberman and Violetta Gordana Mihailovici for their incredibly generous donations, we couldn't have done it without you!