SCRAPBOOK: The surprising history of the pussy bow blouse

While many of the silhouettes from our Way of Flowers collection have been influenced by 1970s shapes and colours, our UME BLOUSE has one of the most interesting backstories.

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Made from Tencel, our UME BLOUSE is a long-sleeve, button-up shirt with a pussy bow collar. This classic style is a staple item in many wardrobes. But have you ever wondered: why ‘pussy bow’?
One of the earliest appearances of the term is from the 1930s, connecting the feature to the kind of bow tied to the necks of actual cats and kittens as an identifier (!). But thanks to trailblazers such as YSL and Coco Chanel, in the 1960s this floppy neck tie started to take on a new life as strong, independent women began to own the look (hello, Sofia Loren, Grace Kelly, and Peggy & Joan from Mad Men!).

Throughout the 1980s, when women started to assert themselves at work - and in particular the board room - the ‘power-dressing’ pussy bow (combined with those ever-present shoulder pads!) was the equivalent to the male shirt and tie.
More recently, the pussy bow has had a resurgence and become a symbol of alliance with women at the forefront of media politics around the world. Sara Danius, literary scholar and head of the Swedish Academy, often wore the pussy bow as part of her ‘work uniform’. When she was unceremoniously ousted from the Academy after it was engulfed in a #metoo scandal, women across the country began sporting the look as a solidarity move. And who could forget those pussy remarks in 2016, the ones that sparked so many protests around the world? Is Melania sending a message? I guess we’ll have to wait for a tell-all memoir...
So when you take your Obus UME BLOUSE out on the town, don’t forget that you’re standing with generations of women before you. Wear it with pride, and know it will never go out of style.

May 31, 2018 by Obus Clothing
Tags: scrapbook

Our signature prints in development

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! 

May 15, 2018 by Obus Clothing

How to help women and children on Nauru

Obus is doing something a bit different for Mother's Day this year! We're facilitating donations of much-needed clothing, food, vitamins, and educational resources to be sent to the women and children being detained on the island of Nauru.

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It’s a cause the whole team at Obus are passionate about. As a business, we regularly support social enterprises and initiate fundraising campaigns, mobilising our community of kind-hearted customers and followers. In partnering with We Care Nauru and Gifts for Manus & Nauru, we hope to make Mother's Day a bit brighter for these families.

Images from We Care Nauru used with permission.

There are two ways you can donate:
Pop into any of our stores with one of the above items and get 20% off your Obus purchase (suggested donation value: $25).
Donate online and get 20% off your Obus purchase (discount will be applied at checkout).
Donate before Mothers Day, Sunday 13 May, to get your discount; and help us send a big box of goodies to the families on Nauru!
May 02, 2018 by Obus Clothing
Tags: Community

Fashion Revolution Week starts at home with Obus

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.
April 26, 2018 by Obus Clothing

OBUS LADIES: International Women's Day

Obus is a tight-knit team of inspiring, passionate women. We're proud to be a female owned and run business, offering support and flexibility to our team so they can pursue their studies and passions.

This International Women's Day, we want to introduce to you some of the women who work part-time in our four stores. When they're not helping you, these Obus ladies are changing the world in small but meaningful ways!

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Ali Rogerson

How do you spend your time when you’re not at Obus?
I'm currently studying full time at RMIT, finishing up my Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology. I am passionate about local manufacture & sustainable fashion, which is why I love working at Obus! I love sewing and also used to run Charlie Bird Clothing, which was so fun.
Outside of work I am a board member for Big Little Brush which is an environmental and social enterprise who work with sustainable bamboo products and support heath projects in disadvantaged communities.
How do you spend your down time?
I enjoy and eating and cooking (especially the eating), drinking gin with friends and dancing the night away.
What do you sing along loudly to?
My current favourite, which you may catch me pumping and singing along to in store, is 'Dancing on my Own' by Robyn.

Caz Butler

What do you do when you're not at Obus?
This year I am finishing my Bachelor of Health Science in Chinese medicine which includes both acupuncture and herbal medicine. I also assist practitioners in two different clinics and throw surprise parties... I don't really do things by halves.
Tell us a bit about other things you're interested in...
Gee, at the moment I'm pretty single-minded! Chinese medicine is such a HUGE topic so most of my down-time I'm studying. Right now, I'm studying the classical texts a lot which were written a couple of thousand years ago. In my past life I studied theatre and had a real partiality for Shakespeare, so the beauty of the old texts speaks to my literature-liking brain. Oh! And I'm getting right into studying acupuncture and herbal medicine for women's health too! If I can help people have a good period, I'll be a happy lady. All that, or watching Queer Eye.
What do you sing along loudly to?
Whatever it is, it's in the shower or in the car. That Gaga doco got me choosing Bad Romance for a karaoke song, which was a good moment after a few margaritas.


Jess Harris

What do you do when you're not at Obus?
I am an actress, screen writer and director. I work in TV, mainly comedy. I currently have a web series called WINE, but my main experience was gained though a series I made a while ago for ABC2 called Twentysomething which can now be found on Netflix.
Outside of acting, what else are you interested in?
I am passionate about being as healthy as I can be, both inside and out. I run, cycle, do gym classes, yoga and follow a vegan diet. I like to cook for friends and family and show them how great healthy food can taste. I love going to music festivals in my orange 1972 Kombi - Meredith, Golden Plains and Boogie are my favourites. Oh and I am a Bloody Mary enthusiast - pickle juice is a great secret ingredient.
What do you sing along loudly to?
No judgement, this is a safe space... I love to belt it to Michael Bolton's ‘How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?’.


Harriet Hunt

What do you do when you're not at Obus?
I’m studying for my final year of a midwifery degree. I spend most of my time hanging out with mums, talking about cervixes, or cuddling babies. I am lucky enough to meet so many beautiful families through my study, and just love being present at such a wonderful and life-altering moment, when consciousness enters the world. I’m the student board member on the Victorian Branch Australian College of Midwives, where I get to work with lots of inspiring midwives and learn from their passion, experience, and drive! We offer scholarships and provide education opportunities for undergraduate and registered midwives around Victoria, and more generally work to shine light on the value of midwifery practice. I’m also a knitter who has approximately one million projects at any one time, so that’s an ongoing thing.
What is your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?
Venice - I spent a month there studying and grew deeply invested in its history and architecture. Byzantine art rules!
What do you sing along loudly to?
‘Both Sides, Now’, Joni Mitchell. My sister and I are hardcore Joni fans who insist on hitting ALL the notes.  


Ella Wilkinson

What do you do when you're not at obus?
I'm into my second year of the Master of Environment in Climate Change and Development. Even more specific I focus a lot on disasters and how women are disproportionately affected.
I also volunteer at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in their Foodbank. The Foodbank provides groceries for over 600 people seeking asylum each week. I get to meet some pretty incredible, strong, resilient people. I've also started to help out sometimes at the Foodbank's Harvest of Hope veggie garden!
I have also volunteered with the not-for-profit Climates an organisation that aims to empower communities across the Australia-Pacific region to take accountability and address our climate challenges together. We have projects over in the Pacific but also host some great panel discussion and conversation events here in Melbourne.
What is your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?
Paris is my favourite city in the world, I will forever go back and keep visiting Paris. Although, I have been very lucky when it comes to places I've travelled; South-East Asia, Europe, China, Morocco, South Africa, Japan. The next place on my wish list is India!
What do you sing along loudly to?
The poppiest of pop music, I can't help it.


Tori Day

What are you doing when you’re not at obus?
Taking photographs! I finished studying Fine Art last year, so this year I've been growing my artistic photography business. Most of my content revolves around the female experience and exploring that through both nude photography and self portraiture.
What is your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?
Granada in Spain.. such beautiful food, architecture and a real bohemian vibe.
I sing loudly along to…
Any 90's classics, Michael Jackson and Rihanna!


Thank you ladies, we’re so proud to call you our friends and colleagues!
Next time you’re in Northcote, Melbourne City, Fitzroy or Brunswick East, pop in and say hi to these awesome chicks. And thanks for supporting women led and run businesses!
March 08, 2018 by Obus Clothing

FOR THE LADIES: Doctor and Yoga enthusiast Amar

Amar Singh joined us in the Obus studio for our FOR THE LADIES photoshoot on the day the Australian same sex marriage result was announced. There was electricity in the air once a Yes vote was confirmed! After a celebratory lunch we chatted to Amar about her travels, podcasts recommendations, and her rewarding career.

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What neighbourhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
I live in North Fitzroy. I love the way it feels 'inner city' but is leafy and quiet. my street is very communal and my neighbours are lovely.
What is your day job and what do you love about it?
I’m a doctor and I like having the chance to get know people well and I enjoy caring for them at what can be a vulnerable time for them.
Do you have a passion project or hobby?
Yoga is a hobby of mine. It makes me feel calm and focused.
When did you first start shopping at Obus (and can you remember the first piece you purchased?)
I’ve been shopping at Obus for quite a few years. My first piece of clothing was a merino Traveller dress. Perfect for comfort on a long haul flight. I’m a bit of a traveller, so easy wearing, natural fibres make me happy.
How does wearing Obus make you feel?
Confident and comfortable. Stylish but not a conformer. Feminine but without a lot of flesh on show (not my style!)
Do you have a nice story to share about a time you were wearing Obus?
I helped to construct a yurt in Uzbekistan in my Obus traveller pants!
What do you like most about Obus?
Great patterns and bright colours, and a lot of pieces in cotton, linen, bamboo and wool. Love natural fibres!
Is wearing locally made clothing important to you, and if so, why?
Yes. Great to be able to get to know the makers, and support local business.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
Sit in a cafe with a good coffee, read a book and people watch.
My favourite podcast/radio show is: Chat 10 Looks 3
I’m currently reading: The Good People by Hannah Kent
I’ve just finished watching: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: Svalbard, Norway
I love to sing loudly along to: The Weeknd
I love the saying: Things take the time that they take. Don’t worry.
My super power is: Tripping over invisible obstacles.
February 20, 2018 by After Pay

FOR THE LADIES : Behind the Scenes

February 12, 2018 by Obus Clothing

FOR THE LADIES: Multi-disciplinary artist and avid green thumb Liz

Elizabeth Tarrant has been an Obus fan from way back. In fact, when we originally decided to feature some of our favourite customers in our FOR THE LADIES lookbook photoshoot, she was an obvious choice! Liz is a talented, accomplished artist and a mum, and we loved learning more about her.

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What Neighbourhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
I live in Northcote. Northcote is great for many reasons: proximity to parks, shops, city, public transport and quiet green streets… but most important are the open, unassuming people.
What is your day job what do you love about it?
I am a multi-disciplinary artist. I've worked in many mediums, mainly painting. I love and need to be constantly creating and challenging myself to feel a whole person.
Do you have a passion project or hobby?
I love my plants, looking after them, seeing them thrive, making baskets/pots and macrame hangers to display them. I am passionate about exercising regularly at the gym and I walk and run and practice Qi Gong daily.
When did you start shopping at Obus and can you remember your first piece?
I started shopping at Obus not long after I moved to Northcote, some years ago. The first piece I ever bought was a lightweight jacket - a black pinstripe number - beautiful, with a floral lining.
How does wearing Obus make you feel?
I feel honoured and grateful to wear such beautiful clothes. I feel self-expressed and comfortable. Wearing Obus makes me feel good about myself.
Do you have a funny or nice story to share about wearing Obus?
The other day on Gertrude Street I was walking down the hill and another woman was walking towards me on the other side of the road. She was wearing the top to my shorts in a matching print - we both waved at each other and gave one another other the thumbs up.
What do you like most about about wearing Obus clothing?
All the beautifully designed garments. The passionate use of colour and bold prints, inspired by people and places around our planet. The clothes feel inspired by the beauty all around us. They are clothes for women of all ages and shapes - they are clothes that honour women's bodies. They're well made, with quality fabric. The clothes match the seasons in and out. They're sustainable in so many ways.
Is wearing locally made important to you and why?
Absolutely. This not only supports our local manufacturing industry, but supports and validates other local makers (of many disciplines), creating diversity. It makes our city a better and richer, more exciting place to live.
What is your favourite thing to do on your days off?
As a family we love to get into nature: parks, reserves, water, mountains, the bush and go exploring.
My favourite podcast/radio show is: I listen to Triple R. I love The Ghost on Friday afternoons.
I'm currently reading: Bill Bryson travel books at bedtime. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton and a psychology magazine called Muse.
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: The Pilbara, WA. It is ancient, the silence is deafening, so still, so old. I felt like a passing spirit in the landscape.
I have just finished watching: I don't watch a great deal of TV but love reruns of The IT Crowd - very funny.
I love to sing loudly along to: Patti Smith's Gloria.
I love the saying: 'What doesn't kill you will make you stronger' and 'This too shall pass'
What is your superpower: Colour.
Say hello at www.instagram.com/elizabethtarrant/
February 08, 2018 by Obus Clothing

FOR THE LADIES: Documentary filmmaker Sari

Sari Braithwaite is a most accomplished local filmmaker. You might recognise her from her recent ABC documentary Paper Trails, a film about prominent Aussie journalist and social activist Anne Deveson. Sari is one of our biggest fans and Obus is definitely one of hers.

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What neighbourhood in Melbourne do you live in and what do you like about it?
I live in Reservoir. And I love that if you don’t pronounce it right, people know that you aren’t from here.
What is your day job and what do you love about it?
I work part-time in film as a documentary maker, and I work part-time as researcher in Australian history. Both jobs are about trying to find stories that have been forgotten, or overlooked - or finding new ways to understand our world.
Do you have a passion project or hobby? Tell us about that.
I’m a very devoted op-shopper. I can come home with some pretty weird stuff (if it’s the right price).
When did you first discover Obus?
I think it has to be around 2012. I bought a dress that I ended up wear to weddings the first year my friends started getting married. It was important because I think it was that time when I first started thinking of myself as a grown-up.
A lot of mornings, I’ll get up, and I just throw on something on, and start my day. I’m a 5 minutes, out of the house person. I’m someone who loves clothes, and loves shopping, but I’m not that into getting ready. For me, Obus is comfortable, effortless, and I just throw on this beautiful thing, which is beautifully made, and I can live my life in it, and I feel good in it.
At least once a year I will walk in and see a print that I love so deeply and instantly, that I almost want to eat it.
Do you have a funny or nice story to share about a time you were wearing Obus?
I was visiting my grandmother in Ipswich 5 years ago. She was in her 90s, fiercely independent and living alone. I woke up one morning and she was wearing my Obus Folk Print dress, and she looked amazing…she was an incredible looking woman, with these amazing legs. She ended up borrowing it for the summer, and just owning it.
Is wearing locally made clothing important to you, and if so, why?
Clothes can be how we express ourselves, they bring joy and imagination into our lives. They lift the everyday. But if something is beautiful, but created in a ugly way in sweatshops, I think it diminishes it. I always think that how we go about making things is just as important as what we actually make.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
Have a bath in the backyard, hang with friends and family, and go hunting for hard rubbish.
My favourite podcast/radio show is: S-Town
I’m currently reading: I’m not reading a backlog of The New Yorker - it’s the subscription that shames me
I’ve just finished watching: Difficult People
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: Far-off wonderful places in Australia. I love a road trip.
I love to sing loudly along to: The Rose by Bette Midler
I love the saying: Life be in It.
My super power is: Table Tennis
You can catch Sari's doco Paper Trails here on ABC iView
February 01, 2018 by Obus Clothing

FOR THE LADIES: Optometrist and violinist Angelina

Angelina is an impressive lady. She's an optometrist, a talented violinist, a teacher and amongst all that, manages to fit in being a phD candidate. Angelina has a keen eye for fashion and is better known around instagram as @fab_confab, where she documents her gorgeous dress collection. 

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What neighbourhood in Melbourne do you live in and what do you like about it?
I live in a two-storey apartment in Coburg. I like that it is a meeting point of many different cultures, which has resulted in some great places to eat, and created an unusual patchwork of atmospheres.
What is your day job and what do you love about it?
Much to the dismay of my parents and relatives, I currently have a successful career of multiple day jobs, and I have recently realised that variety is what I love most. I work in a small private practice as an optometrist, where I have the privilege of caring for people’s eyes. I love helping people’s eyes to feel or see better, but I especially love helping them choose glasses that make them feel comfortable and confident in themselves. I also teach optometry at the University of Melbourne. My favourite moment has to be when I am successful at breaking down an idea and building it back up for the student, and I feel like I can literally see them understanding a concept.
I also freelance as a musician, mainly on the violin, playing at weddings, in local amateur musical theatre productions and other projects that catch my interest. Music is my main creative outlet, but I find the process can also be my mindfulness exercise, and it helps keep me balanced. In between it all, I am a PhD candidate who should be writing…
Do you have a passion project or hobby?
I love to garden! In my little balcony garden, I mainly try to grow food, and have developed a newfound respect for all farmers. My crop yield in 2017 came to 3 lemons, 2 strawberries, 1 onion (I think, I haven’t tackled harvesting it yet), and briefly, some cos lettuce leaves. I am also curating an indoor jungle made up of plants that can be readily purchased in Melbourne, but have not evolved for the Melbourne climate.
When did you first start shopping at Obus (and can you remember the first piece you purchased?)
Actually yes, because I still have the order confirmation! The Hopi dress, purchased in December 2014, which is still on high rotation.
How does wearing Obus make you feel?
Free-spirited, beautiful and practical. I find many of the prints - especially my favourite, the llama print - great conversation starters!
Is wearing locally made clothing important to you, and if so, why?
Recently, I’ve been learning about feminism, how to minimise my environmental footprint, and how to be more socially responsible… which are overwhelming issues in their own right, but I’ve realised there are many common solutions, like choosing to purchase local produce and products where possible. So now, when I’m shopping, it feels even more special when I find and fall in love with a dress that is locally made.
What do you like most about Obus?
Obus openly shares the many views and values I’ve developed as I learn more about the world.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
I love to go on little adventures with family and friends, like taking on puzzle rooms, playing board games, exploring neighbourhoods and parks, and trying new places to eat. I’m a foodie!
My favourite podcast/radio show is: This American Life
I’m currently reading: Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
I’ve just finished watching: Jane the Virgin and Star Wars: The Last Jedi
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: San Francisco
I love to sing loudly along to: Hello by Adele
I love the saying: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
My super power is: Being able to sleep whenever, wherever
January 30, 2018 by After Pay