Obus is a proudly independent small business. Founded in 1998 by Kylie Zerbst, Obus currently employs a small team of dedicated staff across design, production, marketing and retail. Our head office/creative hub is located in Northcote, Victoria.
Obus is proud to offer affordable, high quality garments to our customers while at the same time supporting local businesses and the Australian manufacturing industry.
80% of Obus’ products are manufactured in Australia, including the majority of our garments and selected accessories. Our knitwear and accessories such as footwear, jewellery, socks and leather goods (comprising approximately 20% of our annual product line) are produced offshore, and we work hard to ensure we engage businesses who comply with our high manufacturing, environmental and ethical standards.
Read on for more information about Obus’ manufacturing information, environmental and labour policies, and commitment to ethical clothing production.
What you buy, and how long you wear it, impacts on the environment in multiple ways. Obus’ commitment to producing small runs of high-quality, well-made clothing that transcends seasonal fads is at the heart of our business model.
Within each seasonal collection, Obus prioritise the use of sustainable materials and fibres such as bamboo, tencel, organic cotton and viscose.
We are well known for our bold and original printed textiles, which are present in each collection, As technology in the digital textile printing space improves in leaps and bounds, we are increasingly turning to this process to produce our custom-designed fabrics, as it consumes less water than traditional screen printing and produces far less toxic waste water.
Each Obus collection is designed to ensure the most efficient use of fabric in the manufacturing of each piece, and we often produce small ranges of accessories from fabric offcuts. We also strive to find creative uses for fabric offcuts from our Melbourne studio - such as our partnership with Tangentyere Artists - and have donated excess fabric rolls and yarn spools to community organisations such as ASRC and The Social Studio. We strive to ensure none of our clothing ends up in landfill, a problem that is commonly associated with clothing production and the fashion industry.
As part of our commitment to reduce our business’ impact on the environment, from 2015-17 Obus became a partner of Seed The Change’s tree-planting program. Over two years Obus funded the planting of over 7500 trees in rural regions of Haiti, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Nepal; restoring their environments, enhancing agricultural output and offering sustainable employment opportunities for their citizens.
Obus consistently reviews practices and implements policies to reduce our environmental impact at our head office and in our stores, especially in regard to order packaging and studio waste.
WHERE IT'S MADE
Obus clothing (excluding knitwear) is made in Melbourne by a family-run business. We have contact with our manufacturer on a daily basis and ensure they comply with Australian labour and wage standards via an annual review. All design, pattern-making and sampling is done in our studio/head office in Northcote, Melbourne.
Obus’ nail polish is manufactured in Queensland, Australia. We’re proud to say our nail polish is ‘5-free formula’ meaning it does not contain the toxic chemicals Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor. Our nail polish is also Vegan, meaning it is not tested on animals nor does it contain any animal products.
Sadly, in 2014, the diminished state of the knitwear and leathergoods industry in Australia encouraged us to look overseas for specialised businesses to meet our exacting production standards, and maintain our commitment to producing high-quality garments at an affordable price.
The merino wool used in our knitwear is produced in Vietnam by a Bluesign® system partner, which means the company producing the wool complies with strict ethical and environmental standards right from the beginning of the manufacturing process. Wool is sourced from New Zealand and Australian sources where possible.
Our knitwear is manufactured by a specialist factory in China. The factory is BSCI accredited and auditedannually to confirm all aspects of their workplace conditions are in accordance with human rights, ILO conventions and national labor law.
Our socks are manufactured by a specialist factory in Turkey. The factory is an ISO 9001 Registered company which means that the company meets both statutory and regulatory requirements related to any product. The factory is also accredited with Confidence in Textiles certification, which relates to the testing of harmful substances.
Our stockings are manufactured in New Zealand from Australian and New Zealand wool.
Our footwear is manufactured in Spain, Greece and Italy by independent family-run businesses.
We do not use fur in any of our products. Our leather accessories are made in China, and factories are assessed by Chinese Labour Watch.
The majority of our marketing collateral and packaging is produced in Australia, and our store fitouts use recycled or repurposed furniture and materials where possible.
Each year at Obus we partner with social enterprises and/or not-for-profits in an attempt impact our local and international community in a positive way.
Since 2012 we have run an annual Winter clothing drive for Brotherhood of St Laurence, gathering donations of quality coats, blankets and other clothing from customers to distribute to those in need. In 2016 we raised funds for and awareness about The Unicorn Foundation through a custom-designed carry-all bag, assisting this non-profit's work to support people living with neuroendocrine cancer. In 2017 we collaborated with Melbourne-based social enterprise Tsuno on a limited edition package design for their sanitary products, the sales of which benefit women in the developing world and local organisations such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
We love introducing our loyal and big-hearted community to these social causes and organisations and collaborating with them to make a difference.