This year has been a time to relook at things, even if you didn't want to, it has ended up that way. We have always made both our labels RANT and Bestowed within Australia and sourced as many locally made fabrics as we can, but I felt it was time to see what else we could do. How many more things could we source locally?
We wanted to try out digitally printing on organic cotton fabric, in Australia. We already had the Gum Tree bamboo jersey which was knitted, dyed and screen printed in Melbourne, but after looking at the beautiful Gum nuts sitting in a vase on my desk we decided that would make a beautiful print to compliment the RANT collection and why not start the experiment with that.
Jason created a repeat of an image he took and Next State printing digitally printed it on two base fabrics. We didn't like one of them but the woven organic cotton was perfect for my new skirt style, the Shuffle skirt.
The Shuffle skirt is made from 6 different fabrics, the left side pocket panel is the Gum Nut print. The other side panels are two different widths of charcoal and black striped Japanese made cottons, with the waistband our signature organic cotton fold over stretchy band. The centre front and centre back panels are assorted Tencel fabrics that we had in our storage shelves. I did the cutting myself in house so I could work out how many skirts we could make from the limited rolls of different colours. We actually ended up getting a few more, so we have ordered 3.8m more of the Gum Nut print and made up the first lot while we are waiting.
That is the fantastic thing about digital printing. There is no waste, you can order exactly what you want, it's printed onto the fabric like a big ink jet printer.
The Shuffle skirt is available in limited numbers and most of them are now pre-washed in rainwater, checked and up online.
Haberdashery used to be made locally, we would visit places in Melbourne who made their own buttons, ribbons and tape. However one visit found us not visiting the factory anymore but the 'showroom' with catalogues of off shore items. Even the humble cotton webbing tape that we used to always get that was Australian made became a thinner version, no longer sourced locally by our usual suppliers.
I like to use cotton webbing to make belts and accessories and when we ran out of the 'good stuff' I wouldn't make anymore till we found a nice Australian made option. I would rather not make any than use inferior haberdashery. We found a local business that makes a nice gutsy cotton webbing in a couple of different weaves. It is woven and dyed here, perfect. The Circle Belts (pic below) are made from this new webbing and I am super happy with how they look and feel. The base of the belts (pic above) I made to match the Haven coat also uses an Australian made webbing, decorated with assorted tape we have in our storage. I've been in belt heaven since finding a good reliable local manufacturer.
Another locally sourced idea we had was to collaborate with local accessory/jewellery makers. A few years ago I met online Rowan from Frank Ideas. We used a rubber necklace of hers in a Bestowed shoot and sold them online. I felt the timing was perfect to collaborate with Rowan again and do a little cross promotion, small businesses helping each other. I selected some styles that I thought would match the Gum Tree collection, she sent them up and I went to town creating the textures of the trees layering the handmade rubber pieces over our textured Gum Tree printed garments. All the necklaces and bracelets I used are now available online from us.
Although most of what we have available online are what we make ourselves, we are always interested in looking out for other small local producers. So send me an email or DM me on Instagram to get in touch.