Q&A with Kaylea Wijaya, Designer, Melatiku

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on September 19, 2018

kaylea wijaya designer of tropical girlswear label Melatiku

Creating a girlswear label may not have been the obvious business choice for a mum of three boys, but for Kaylea Wijaya and her husband, designing tropical clothing for girls has become their passion. Inspired by the tropical islands and lushness of their surrounds, Melatiku's clothing is made in Bali by self-employed artisans who set a fair price for each piece - no sweat shops, no child labour. 

We caught up with Kaylea Wijaya, Melatiku's designer, to talk about the inspiration behind the brand, the steps Melatiku takes to be more sustainable and their passion for supporting the local community through ethical clothing production. 

Tell us a little bit about you and your family
I am a full-time mum of three boys and I design for Melatiku with my husband. He is from Java in Indonesia so our boys enjoy living in two cultures.
girl wearing melatiku tropical leaf playsuit
 
Talk to us about Melatiku – how did the brand come about?
Bali is one of those places you cannot come to without being inspired by colour and the tropics. After a few visits, my mind was buzzing with ideas for starting something that involved working with the gorgeous fabrics on offer here. After dabbling in cushions, ladieswear and bags, we decided our calling was to make clothes for girls who love adventures under the sun.

When we started our brand there were not any brands that focussed completely on tropical girls wear using bold and beautiful prints. Even today, I feel what we are doing is unique to anyone else out there. I think our fuss-free designs and the fact that we do not necessarily follow the trends of that summer mean that we are still a firm favourite for mammas.

Your clothing is ethically made in Bali – how important was this for you?

My husband and I believe in karma and so it is important for us to do right by those around us in all aspects of our lives. We also want to show our boys that you can be successful, whilst also caring for those who are helping you make it happen. We work with many artisans in Bali and Java and we know that ultimately without them, there would be no Melatiku. 

girl wearing melatiku long sleeve tropical floral girls dress
What was your process when it came to choosing how and where your clothing would be manufactured? 
For us it was a simple choice to produce in Bali as my husband is Indonesian and we needed to be able to speak the local language to really build the relationships with our artisans.
 
You use predominantly cotton and rayon – how does your fabric choices influence your designs?
Our clothing is for hot weather and we find that rayon and cotton are the best choices for this. Also rayon is perfect for our kaftans and dresses as the fabric hangs so well making them look gorgeous.
 
Do you think consumers are fully aware about the negative impacts of fast fashion? And if not, what do we need to do to correct it?
Melatiku is certainly in the slow fashion category. I think most people are aware of the negative effects of fast fashion. I think deep down everyone wants to buy clothes that are ethically produced, however I think until the price gap between ethically produced and fast fashion pieces reduces, it would be impossible to see a major shift in buying habits.

But we cannot and should not accept slave-like conditions, nor children being forced to work rather than receive an education.
 
How important is sustainability in the running of your business?
Sustainability is very important to us and we want to be a good role model for the next generation. We are currently cutting down on plastic by sending out items in a reusable natural cotton bag. We make our clothing with adjustable straps and elasticated sections so they can be worn for more than one Summer, and our high quality craftsmanship means our Melatikus can pass their beloved pieces to younger siblings or friends.
girl wearing melatiku blue tropical romper
 
What was the inspiration for launching your unisex range?
When my third son was born he inspired me to create some baby unisex pieces. I fell in love with monochrome and simple abstract prints. However, we have since thought about the direction of our brand and we will still be focusing on tropical-inspired girlswear.

If you could change one thing in the world for the next generation, what would it be?  
It sounds like a cliché but I would love for everyone to accept others for who they are and what they believe in. Bringing my boys up in a multicultural family has been a blessing and they have been immersed in different ways of life since they were little. There is too much going on in the world today that is rooted in strong personal beliefs and reluctance to show tolerance towards others. 

Two Darlings Spring Collection - it's all about the florals

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on September 13, 2018

two darlings spring collection floral rompers and girls summer dresses

Two Darlings is without a doubt one of our most popular brands and it's not hard to see why. They create the most beautiful, quality garments for girls and babies that are classically modern with a vintage twist.

two darlings floral baby romper vintage flutter sleevesThis season Two Darlings' spring collection is all about the florals! Their classic vintage baby romper is back with a divine floral print and ruffle sleeves. We've always loved dressing our baby girls in rompers over summer - being a one-piece you never have to worry about matching bottoms to tops. And when bub is getting mobile they're just flat out easier for them to get around in than little dresses (cute as baby dresses are!). Plus this little romper is so stylish it's perfect for around the house and out and about.

The Two Darlings bib dress for older girls comes in exactly the same floral print. Featuring absolutely stunning detail, it has a lovely lace trim around the bib and piping detail around the waist. The perfect little summer picnic dress.

two darlings floral girls summer dress with lace trim

And finally, the gorgeous Two Darlings white linen peplum top which pairs perfectly with their floral bloomers (which are really shorts for the older girls). The perfect every day outfit - the lovely peplum top has no zippers or tags so it's really comfy to wear and has a gorgeously flowy skirt to go over the shorts. A super stylish outfit that allows them to run and climb as they please. 

two darlings white linen girls peplum and floral bloomers girls shorts

Two Darlings' spring collection is currently available via pre-order and is expected to arrive, ready to ship by the end of September. Check out the new Two Darlings collection here

Florals, sunshine & happiness - welcoming our newest babywear brand, Wilson & Frenchy

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on September 07, 2018

wilson & frenchy long sleeve floral baby girl zipsuit

We are so excited to announce our newest baby brand, Wilson & Frenchy! An Australian babywear label hailing from Melbourne, Wilson & Frenchy is known for its beautifully intricate illustrations and high quality baby clothing & wraps, ranging from Newborn (0000) to size 1.
baby girl wearing wilson & frenchy yellow baby jumper lightweight summer mesh
Wilson & Frenchy's new summer line boasts a beautiful range of florals, yellows and neutrals, with a cotton/bamboo blend. There are just so many lovely pieces in Wilson & Frenchy's new rang that make for perfect summer staples as well as gorgeous baby gifts.
newborn baby girl wrapped in wilson & frenchy floral muslin wrap
We're ridiculously in love with their 'flora' print - beautifully bright coloured florals in zip rompers, bodysuits and muslin wraps. Their sunshine yellow print is also divine, and their range of lightweight summer cardigans and baby jumpers in hot coral, yellow and turquoise are perfect for those summer days that aren't stinking hot or when you're going out at night and need to prepare for a drop in temperature. 
baby girl in a basket wearing wilson & frenchy baby playsuit neutral wonderful print
For those who love their neutrals, you can't go past Wilson & Frenchy's 'wonderful' print. A gorgeously floral print in light grey and cream tones - sweetly feminine little baby playsuits and muslin wraps, yet very understated. Also the blue droplets print is very sweet for those who like their babes in something simple but lovely. 
baby girl wearing blue droplets wilson & frenchy baby girl ruffle playsuit and ecru cardigan
There's honestly so much to love about Wilson & Frenchy and we couldn't be more excited to have become one of Wilson & Frenchy's stockists. Check out the full range of baby girl summer clothes here.

IN THE PRESS: Natural Parent Magazine

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on September 01, 2018

IN THE PRESS: Natural Parent Magazine

We're such huge fans of Natural Parent Magazine so we were absolutely thrilled when they published an article on Pretty Without Pink yesterday.

Given we've just celebrated our one year anniversary, it was so lovely to chat with Natural Parent Magazine about the origins of Pretty Without Pink, why we've created a clothing store for girls that doesn't sell pink, and why choosing ethical brands is so very important to us.

Please read the full story, Pretty Without Pink: Ethical Threads Without the Colour Stereotypes here http://thenaturalparentmagazine.com/pretty-without-pink-ethical-threads/. 

 

Meet the designer - Q&A with Kelli Milne, Founder & Designer, Anarkid

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on August 22, 2018
1 comment

Kelli Milne Anarkid founder and designer

"Made by rebels for rebels.
If wearing our threads makes your kid a little mischievous, blame us.
And enjoy the chaos."


Anarkid is an organic childrenswear label that proves ethical clothing doesn't have to be boring. Edgy, cool and rebellious, Anarkid uses a mix of bold prints and colours to create stylish, yet practical, children's clothes.

We caught up with Kelli Milne, the rebel behind the brand, to find out more about Anarkid's beginnings, her thoughts on fast fashion, and why Anarkid is so passionate about creating ethical and organic kids clothing.

 

anarkid block stripe girls smock and matching bloomers

Tell us a little bit about you and your family
Hello! Our family is a hectic brood that consists of myself (the pack leader most days), my 8 year old, high spirited girl Ruby, and my 6 year old preppy Henry. We also have two crazy staffies, Money and Sydney (the pup) and Grace and Cookie the tropical fish!

Talk to us about Anarkid - how did the brand come about? 
I have been a Graphic Designer all of my professional life, which has enabled me to work for myself for many years now. Once my babies came along I really wanted to combine my love of design with my love of babies. Anarkid began as a baby brand, and has grown into a children’s label as my kids have grown older. I simply love creating, so it didn’t seem like much of a leap to move into fashion.

The reality, however, was much more of a transition! What started with me four years ago, a laptop and a garage, has now become a team in Melbourne and Sydney and partners in Europe and Japan.

anarkid organic cotton girls dress mustard hedgehog print
 
Anarkid is ethically produced using GOTS certified organic cotton – how important was it for you to ensure Anarkid was ethical and sustainable?
The more I learnt about fashion, the more important it was for me that we were supporting ethical practices. I'm an activist at heart, so I knew right from the start that I couldn’t align our brand with some of the horrible abuses that go on in factories with no monitoring or certification.

At the time Anarkid began, there weren’t a lot of brands doing organic; and the ones that were, were looking like organic brands. I wanted Anarkid to show that cutting edge fashion could also be ethical, and also offered at an accessible price.

What was your process when it came to choosing how and where your clothing would be manufactured?
Once the decision was made to manufacture organic and I learnt more about the supply chain, India was the logical choice. Many factories in India have adopted organic practices, which, when gaining accreditation means that they have to abide by very strict ethical standards for their workers.

I now travel to India 2-3 times a year where I am able to see first hand the working conditions, and what that means to the people and farmers involved in the process.

Kelli Milne anarkid designer at ethical factory in india
 
Since launching Anarkid, have you learnt anything about the fashion industry that’s surprised you?
Yes so much! I was really an industry novice when I started. I understood the design and advertising industry very well, but fashion - especially kids fashion -was a completely new world.

You think its such a huge endless world out there, but working in a niche industry makes you realise that its a small world. Competition is tough, and you really need to be at the top of your game, season after season.

I have incredible admiration and respect for the brands that kill it every season. It's like all art really. It always looks easy once you see the finished product, but I have a new respect for how hard that process can be!

Do you think consumers are fully aware about the negative impacts of the fashion industry? And if not, what do we need to do to correct it?
No, I really don’t. I think the reality of fast fashion, and the human cost, is so horrible that I think a lot of people stick their heads in the sand and pretend its not happening.

I realised early on in Anarkid’s journey that a lot of people don’t want to know that there is no possible way to buy a top for $5 and have people along the supply chain not abused. We have seen horrible things happen in the fashion industry in the last few years, including the factory collapse in Bangladesh which injured thousands, burning many alive. And yet the daily abuses that go on are even worse still.

Sweat shops are still rife in developing countries - child labour, slave labour, discrimination, unsafe work environments - and the truth is, if your clothing doesn’t have world accredited certification such as GOTS, Fair Trade or SEDEX, it is more than likely the working conditions of those who made it are unacceptable.

anarkid organic cotton hedgehog tee and hedghog black leggingsImage credit: @_louiseheather_

Are there any other measures Anarkid takes to be sustainable in the day to day running of the business? 
We definitely try our best to be as sustainable as possible. Luckily the world is starting to catch up in regards to sustainability, so the options are getting more accessible. Other than our clothing, all of our packaging is either recycled or bio degradable. We also have implemented some great web based systems, such as online wholesale ordering, and internal communications systems with our factory to reduce our environmental footprint in regards to paperwork, order forms, catalogues etc. We are still learning in this regards, and we are always open to finding new and better ways to work!

A lot of your styles are unisex – was it important for you to create pieces that could be worn by both boys and girls?
If it was up to me, there would be no defining boys or girls styles at all! I think boys should be wearing pinks and florals and whatever they want really. And of course the same with girls. Wear the jeans, the shorts, ride those skateboards - there should be no rules whatsoever in regards to 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts'. 

hooded anarkid organic baby onesie starry night off-white

However we have to listen to our market, and whilst great advances have been made in gender stereotyping, we still find that a lot of people will buy specifically for boys and girls. We do our bit by always showcasing our range unilaterally, but I hope that one day we will just showcase a range, without even having the use the work 'unisex' - just 'clothing'!

If you could change one thing in the world for the next generation, what would it be?
Well that is a big question. If I could, I would eliminate ‘Greed’. If we could eliminate greed and replace it with compassion it would solve just about every issue that infects our world.

We would ease up on consumption; be able to resolve poverty and starvation; there would be no need for border protection, or wars. Love, art and kindness would prevail. And wouldn’t that be a beautiful world?
  

 

Meerkats, wildflowers & combi vans - new Aster & Oak

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on August 15, 2018

aster & oak meerkats organic girls dress

Aster & Oak's new summer collection, Into The Wild, has launched and it's everything you could possibly hope for in organic childrenswear. From the cutest little meerkat print to cool black combi vans and sweet hand-illustrated wildflowers, there's something in this collection for everyone.

The meerkats print is our absolute favourite - and already proving to be very popular!! We love the cross-back meerkat organic girls dress with adjustable straps and natural wood buttons. The gorgeous meerkat print is also available in the cutest organic jumpsuit and organic baby pants - which are totally unisex and the perfect baby shower gift.

organic girls jumpsuit meerkat print organic black combi dress aster & oak
For girls and babies with a touch of rebellion, the mono combi dress, harem pants and organic zip romper are absolutely perfect. It's not every day you see black baby girl clothes and we love that Aster & Oak have also designed a matching mono combi headband to girly it up just a notch. 

aster & oak black baby girl zip romper and top-knot headband
And for those who love the more feminine look, the wildflower organic baby onesie and organic flutter tee are just adorable. Sweet and simple, they can pair with just about any bottoms - and the onesie can even be worn on its own.

baby girl organic onesie fluter sleeve wildflowers aster &oak
We hope you love this new collection as much as we do. Check it out here

Meet the designer - Q&A with Tani Klein, Founder and Designer, Doodlebug

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on August 13, 2018

Tani Klein founder and designer doodlebug

Doodlebug is a gorgeous children's clothing brand that makes luxuriously soft bamboo clothing right here in Australia. We spoke with Tani Klein, Doodlebug's creator, about how the brand almost accidentally came about, what it means to be certified Fair Trade, and why bamboo is one of the best fabrics your little ones can wear.  

Tell us a little bit about you and your family
One Kiwi, one Canadian, and two identity confused children living in sunny Qld Australia! We have one cat, five chickens and I am pushing for a puppy ;) We are lucky enough to be living in an old farm house on an acreage on the Sunshine Coast. Which means a lot of work and maintenance, but I think secretly we like that.

Talk to us about Doodlebug – how did the brand come about?
I have a background in film and television, arts and costume design. When I was pregnant with my second child I had trouble finding work as we had just moved to the coast. I turned to drawing, as I often do in times of stress and ended up producing a series of line drawings for my three-year old. I thought one might look cute on one of her tops, so I figured out how to make a transfer and I made her one.

She loved it, and so did her friends so I made some more. And somehow - and this I will never understand how I got so brave - but somehow I made a whole bunch, and booked a stall at our local market. I had barely shown anyone my art before, let alone tried to sell it. Must have been baby brain. Best bold move I ever made, because I sold out that day. And the next, and before I knew it I had a couple of local shops stocking my tops and onesies.

black and white striped bamboo girls top cactus print
The next big bold scary leap was then getting a tonne of fabric manufactured. Literally, a tonne. I had never manufactured or imported anything in my life, but here I was Googling what things like GSM and FOB meant! And so began my rapid fire education. Far more valuable than any of my university degrees (another story another day).

Once I had the fabric underway, I designed a line of clothing that would fit better than anything I had currently for my kids. I'm talking longer lengths, cuffs for growth, no elastic for baby tummies and room for cloth nappies. I didn't think to follow it up with another collection, I had no idea the first one would do so well! And so it began, a series of being astounded every season when it sold, and sold again and again!

The growth happened very quickly in retrospect, and I was learning as I went. Plus coping with a pre-schooler and a newborn. It was crazy 50 hour weeks and hustling every weekend doing photoshoots and markets. Doodlebug was stocked in over 60 shops over seven countries. Sounds great? It wasn't sustainable. It was a mental breakdown waiting to happen!
tani klein doodlebug designer artist sketches

I had two options, take on staff, expand, go bigger (and not see a wage for several years), or downsize, go local and turn a small sustainable profit. I took the second option. It was right for me and my family at the time. Now Doodlebug is made 100% in Australia, available online and stocked with a handful of trusted retailers.

I regularly visit our certified Fair Trade factory (which we started that first range with almost 10 years ago!) and we are still using only 100% bamboo fabric. Our range is small, and only released twice a year. But this allows me to stay true to the brands ethos, and more than that, my personal belief that there is beauty in the small well done details.
 
What is your design process?
I work with trusted local patternmakers, of whom have been with me from the start. I will spend a few weeks in design mode, illustrating and coming up with new style ideas. I will take my sketches to my pattern maker, who will work her magic to turn my ideas into a reality.

We usually go few a few rounds of sampling, trying on all the local children we can get our hands on until we get a style to fit just right. The patterns then go to our local Fair Trade factory who cut and sew the pieces for me. I then work with a couple of local screen printers to print the garments, and I distribute everything myself. Its a small team, but one I value, with relationships fixed from years of working together.

Where did the brand name come from?
The name Doodlebug came from the original way the business started... with my doodles! I almost followed the trend of naming my business after my children, thank god I didn't do that! Its funny, as now my 'doodles' are such a core part of what I do, and my line of work has followed this path, as I take on custom design work for other companies and individuals.

Its been quite the journey; there have been some great highs and some very low lows, but I cannot begin to tell you how much I have learnt from it all. All of that time, experience and learnt skill I am now utilising in the next step of my business. I haven't officially launched yet, but I can confirm the domain 'doodlebugcreativestudio' has been purchased ;) ... watch this space...
 
Why did you decide to use bamboo over another sustainable fabric, such as organic cotton? And has this limited or enhanced your designs in any way?
When I was starting the line I wanted to find THE fabric that was the best possible thing to put against baby's skin. It was obvious that bamboo with its anti-bacterial, anti fungal, thermal regulating properties (just to name a few) was a winner. And above all it is deliciously buttery soft and non irritating.

It is grown sustainably without the need for pesticides. Honestly bamboo grows like wildfire and is incredibly sustainable. It was the logical choice. I opted to put a 5% lycra blend in with the fabric, for ease of movement for active children, stretch over wee bellies and chunky thighs and it gives a beautiful drape.

I have absolutely been limited by sticking with this fabric, printing for one is still something we are tweaking as it doesn't react like other fabrics. Choosing to manufacture in Australia also limits my design options greatly as I am unable to do things like an all over print for example as it is not a service available here. It forces me to be creative, and work with what I have got.
forest green bamboo baby onesie and striped girls bamboo twirly dress
Image credit: Southern Sands Photography 

How important was it for you to ensure that Doodlebug is not only made in Australia, but is also certified Fair Trade?

I'm going to be controversial here. While I absolutely love that we are supporting Australian industry and it is imperative to be working with ethical factories, I have learnt sometimes certifications just mean a bunch of money spent. We manufactured in India for several years, and I really felt like we were doing a great thing, supporting the workers there that really relied upon our dollar a lot more than here. The factory was ethical, but not certified fair trade, but I spent a lot of time there, inspecting it myself, and visiting every step in the design process.

Just with the certified organic thing, while it is wonderful, it is not always necessary. Our fabric for example is not certified organic, but it is grown organically. My intention was never about creating an 'eco brand'. I didn't want to cash in on some 'green' cash cow. It was about creating something of style and substance, and doing so in a way that was a natural extension of the way I lived my life. Authentically, and carefully.

This in turn had me use an eco fabric, and work with ethical companies. As a producer of consumables, I am very conscious about what I am putting out into the world. I want to make sure the products I make (and there are many more than just the clothing) are not going to go direct to landfill.

Since launching Doodlebug, have you learnt anything about the fashion industry that’s surprised you?
Holy Moly so much! Probably the first thing that comes to mind is that the fashion industry is in the top three for environmental waste (along with the automotive and coffee industries interestingly enough). In the past ten years I have seen an enormous shift in the industry as brands and designers are starting to take personal responsibility.

Ten years ago eco/sustainable clothing was in the realms of the brown or tie died market clothes. Now it is becoming the norm, with large companies such as Nike coming under fire for not having a transparent ethical supply chain. But I digress.

Do you think consumers are fully aware about the negative impacts of the fashion industry? And if not, what do we need to do to correct it?
There is such an awareness now it is amazing. It might be the bubble I live in, or my generation, but I very much think that environmental and sustainability concerns are now on the consumers radar, not just style and price.  There is however still very much a culture of buy cheap, and buy lots. Cheap fast fashion.
You can buy a Kmart onesie for $5!! I can't make my onesies for even half that! You've got to ask how can they afford to do that. In my mind, its better to buy one treasured piece that will last several seasons and over several children, than five cheap ones that end up in the bin. I think more people need to learn how to sew. Fix things, not throw things away.
 
Are there any other measures Doodlebug takes to be sustainable in the day to day running of the business?
Items are not individually packaged in plastic as many clothing brands are. We may not look as fancy, but we wrap as many garments as we can in our compostable tissue paper and stay plastic free. We do not print out individual sales receipts with our online orders, opting for electronic everything where we can. I try to use up every last metre of fabric so that there is no wastage. This means being creative, making little nappy pants out of remnants etc, but its very important to me we are not throwing anything away.

black and white striped unisex bamboo baby pants
Image credit: Southern Sands Photography 

A lot of your styles are unisex – was it important for you to create pieces that could be worn by both boys and girls?

I love to make unisex things! I have one boy and one girl, so I know what is going to appeal to both, but I personally loved dressing my babes in neutrals! The onesies in particular I always try to make sure there are some neutrals in there, as often people are shopping before they know what they are having. Good style and fun clothing doesn't have to be pink or blue! Kids are kids no matter what.

What’s the most important life lesson you would like to impart on your children?

OMG I could write a book. Literally. My kids are 8 and 12 this year, and I am forever giving them life lessons/ lectures when they are trapped in the car with me between the soccer/ballet/swimming/school runs! Haha. I think one thing I am big on right now is collaboration not competition. This goes for everything in life, but is particularly pertinent for girls. My daughter is going to high school next year, and it seems like the time to be instilling this one. 

One of my favourite quotes is 'a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms'. In terms of business, it is a dangerous black (Instagram) hole to get sucked down into playing the comparison game. You will ALWAYS lose. Even if you think you win, you lose because you are putting others against you instead of with you. When you can look at someone doing something amazing, and feel stoked for them not jealous, the world opens up. I am not perfect, I am still reminding myself of this, but if you can get in the mindset of being your best self, and allowing for others to be their best selves, wouldn't we all just rise higher?
tani klein founder and designer, doodlbug and family

Meet the designer - Q&A with Peta Stinson, Founder and Designer, Sapling Child

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on August 02, 2018

Peta Stinson, founder of organic baby clothing label Sapling Child

Sapling Child is a gorgeous babywear label that creates the softest, highest quality organic baby clothing. We caught up with Peta Stinson, the talented lady behind the brand to find out more about Sapling Child and how she's grown the business into the international success it is today.

Tell us a little bit about you and your family
We are a busy family of 5! With three boys, a rapidly expanding business, and a continent shift, life is busy!
 
What was the motivation behind creating a babywear label?
One of the primary motivators, was that I wanted to do my bit to make a positive change to the clothing manufacturing industry, while also creating beautiful chemical free clothes that parents could get longevity out of.

baby crawling wearing sapling child organic vintage roses bubblesuit
 
You’ve partnered with some amazing mamas like Jaime King, Kate Waterhouse, Marcia Leone and most recently, Kristin Cavallari – what has it been like for you to work on these collections?
These partnerships have been amazing. Each collaboration has been so different form the last…the people are different, their aesthetics, the way they work.
The best thing about it is that it means I get to keep learning! I’m always learning new things from them...For example, one of our collaborators wanted to do a water colour type look/feel so me and my design team had to learn how to create that effect on printed fabric. It’s amazing!

Kristin cavallari and Kate Waterhous for Sapling Child
 
Sapling Child is ethically made using GOTS certified organic cotton – how important was it to you to ensure the brand was ethical and sustainable?
It was the only option. GOTS certification is the most stringent. It covers dyes, fabric, fair trade laws, child labour laws etc. Taking care of the environment that sustains us, the people who work with us, and creating pieces free of nasties are and always will be our top most priority.
 
Do you think consumers are fully aware about the negative impacts of fast fashion? And if not, what do we need to do to correct it?
I don’t think so. I think people are slowly starting to learn more though. I also think that fast fashion is slowly being held are accountable, not enough….but the more customers tell the big fast fashion chains how they feel, and vote with their dollar…the more we can change.

baby wearing sapling child organic body suit vintage rose print
 
How important is sustainability in the day to day running of your business? 
Everything we do has sustainability and environmental best practice at the forefront of our minds. Outside of organic cotton, processing, and printing, we also purchase green power at our warehouse sand distribution centres. We also use electric forklifts (no toxic fumes), recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging, and carbon offset any remaining foot print.
 
A lot of your styles are unisex – was it important for you to create pieces that could be worn by both baby boys and girls?
We always like to include a unisex range in our seasons.  I think it’s important to provide a choice!

What would be your message to the next generation
I’d say keep being the resilient young minds you are. We need you to help us fix so many problems we’ve caused! 

See our full collection of Sapling Child organic baby clothing here. 

Berry Buds and coral tones - Sapling Child's new Kristin Cavallari collection

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on July 30, 2018

Kristin Cavallari with baby wearing the new Sapling Child organic babywear collection

When I first laid eyes on Sapling Child's new collection of gorgeous organic baby clothes I fell immediately in love. And yet... since the product arrived late last week a few of my nearest and dearest have examined the contents with raised eyebrows, questioning me; "But...isn't this pink?"

Well, I hadn't thought so, to be honest! I see a beautiful coral, a terracotta-meets-apricot. But hey - who am I to question anyone who sees this as pink? To be fair, it is a rather thin line between the various colour shades. So... depending on what side of the fence you sit on, this new range of Sapling Child organic baby clothes is either the exception to the rule or the closest thing you'll ever get to pink on this site :)

sapling child white organic baby romper with coral trim and coral retro baby shorts

Sapling Child has partnered with American TV personality, Kristin Cavallari, for their latest collection. The berry buds print is inspired by Kristin's honeymoon in Italy, and the berry buds are representative of the olive berry branches which speak of peace and harmony. 

Everything in this collection is absolutely gorgeous - from the organic zip romper, organic baby swaddle, baby pants, newborn baby hats and so much more. With so much matchy-matchy a few of these pieces together would make the perfect baby shower gift or coming home outfit for a newborn baby. 

toddler girl wearing sapling child berry buds tee and retro shorts newborn long sleeve white zip romper and hat

Check out the collection here. And I'd love to know - do you see pink??

 

Meet the designer - Q&A with Alexandra Riggs, Founder and Designer, Oobi

By Susin, Pretty Without Pink
on July 25, 2018

alexandra riggs designer and founder of girls fashion label Oobi

Oobi is an ethical, Australian fashion label for girls designed with fun, colour and movement in mind. Alexandra Riggs is the talented designer behind the brand, and we caught up with her to find out more about Oobi. From its humble beginnings at a market stall in Glebe to becoming an international label, Alex talks to us about Oobi's fascinating journey, her design process and why ethical fashion is so important. 


Tell us a little bit about you and your family
I’m first generation Aussie with a Russian family heritage. My mum was a fashion designer in Sydney in the '80s and I used to hang out in her factory in Surry Hills after school, watching her work and create (rather large, colourful - well, it was the ‘80s) garments.
 
Talk to us about Oobi – how did the brand come about?
Actually I started uni and did an art history degree, because my passion in life is art. In my degree, I studied screen printing and art history and became really interested in printing textiles. I thought that I would go on to be a university lecturer so started a PhD and got a scholarship. But it wasn’t much money and I loved (and still love) shoes, so I took some ideas for kids clothes to the markets using my screen printed fabrics to make a shoe fund, a bit of pocket money, I thought.


"I was 6 months off finishing my PhD and I quit to start my business because I just KNEW on that that day....that I had found my calling."

It was a market in Glebe and from the first second I had a little crowd around my table (my heart explodes thinking about this). As fate would have it, a guy came over to see what all the fuss was about and he just happened to be the buyer from Myer department store who was on holiday in Sydney with friends (he was based in Melbourne). He put his business card in my hand and… that was that.
I was 6 months off finishing my PhD and I quit to start my business because I just KNEW on that that day, with how much the mums seemed to love my designs, and that “golden ticket” business card in my hand, that I had found my calling. And I admit that I knew I was good at it -  but most importantly, that I loved it.

ethical girls clothing - oobi brightly coloured boho vibes
Image credit: @_louiseheather_

Now we are selling all over the world, and across Australia. We retail in over 100 stores and in department stores in Japan and Singapore. We have distributors in Brazil and currently we’re doing showings in Mexico - so I’m learning Spanish! That is so hard. But Oobi is a coastal kind of brand with a boho vibe and I’m a hippy at heart so colour, fun, sunshine and playfulness is our thing and I think it really speaks to the west coast of the US, and places like Brazil, Costa Rica, Trinidad (where we have stores) and now Mexico. Yo necesito vivir en Mexico (one day!).
 
Oobi has just celebrated its 15-year anniversary – which is pretty incredible! What do you think has been the secret to Oobi’s success?
Well I was lucky enough to have my mum around to help me create my first garments and to show me the ropes where it comes to fit and construction. Having great foundations is really important. I think that I’m also a very passionate and dedicated person. I have a profound love for designing, for being present and active in my business, and for talking to my customers and really valuing them and engaging with them. That has never dissipated in all these years. From day one to day 5,475, I’ve loved every second.


"I was in my early 20s! I got on a plane, all by myself, to meet a stranger who would help me find what I needed. I was SO scared!"

 
Your clothing is ethically made in India – how important was it for you to make sure Oobi clothing was ethically produced?
When I first decided to take myself overseas to look into manufacturing, there was no ‘internet’ really. So I sent a fax to a translator that I found through the consulate. She sent me a fax back and asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted to find a small factory, run by women, who made kids clothing. I was in my early 20s! I got on a plane, all by myself, to meet a stranger who would help me find what I needed. I was SO scared!

What I think is extremely important, no matter what stage you are at, is to visit your factory, to meet the people who work for you, and to understand their needs, wishes, wants and skills. I did days and weeks of travel, in really difficult circumstances sometimes, until I found people that I wanted to work with, and who wanted to work with me. I up-skilled them in certain areas, teaching them what I knew, and, what’s crucial, is that I spent time also learning from them. I like to foster mutually respectful relationships where conversations are had that are open and honest. I engage and ask questions and really value the input of everyone, from the “masters” to the seamstresses.

oobi's ethical factory in india
Oobi's ethical factory in India. Image supplied. 

Then I found out about an organisation called SEDEX who visit factories all over the world and rate those factories on a whole lot of factors. Human rights, workers rights, the environment and animal rights. I knew that I could never work with a factory that wasn’t SEDEX rated and we opened ourselves up to a full audit of every facet of our work and environment. We got a 4/5 star rating and they gave us amazing advice and assistance on areas we could improve. Everyone said I was wasting my time, that 5 star was impossible to get, especially for a small business, and that we should be thrilled with a 4/5!

I mentioned that I’m passionate right? We spent 6 months putting a whole lot of systems in place and fixing every last issue, and when they returned for their second audit we got 5/5.

We do regular and random audits so that nobody knows we’re coming. And we have retained our 5 star rating for years. Why is it important? Because many women in this world are treated as lower class citizens, and have their human rights abused. And if that were my daughter, my mother, my sister or my grandmother, I’d do anything and everything I could to make sure that she had a good and purposeful life where she was valued and paid well and treated humanely. It’s a non-negotiable.

I’ve seen a lot of bad things on my travel, and I will not be part of a system that says that’s OK. When you purchase from other countries, if you don’t know where those things are made, then you are turning a blind eye to things you’d never accept in your own backyard.

Do you think consumers are fully aware about the negative impacts of fast fashion? And if not, what do we need to do to correct it?
I don’t think that consumers are fully aware of the negative impacts of fast fashion. We laughingly call Oobi ‘slow fashion’ and I’m proud of that. It takes me about a year to create a collection so I’m always working about 2 years in advance. We take our time, we don’t airfreight, we sea freight (better for the environment) and we craft our garments. Fast fashion puts pressure on the environment and, crucially, on the people that make those garments. They are forced to work nights, weekends, to cut corners and then to air freight collections. I don’t want to be part of that. I LOVE fashion, but I love people and the planet more. Loving fashion and the planet are not mutually exclusive.

"I want our fashion to be part of a good memory that a woman has one day. When she thinks back to her childhood and remembers the favourite dress with the apples or the pocket or the special piece of lace, or the way it made her feel."

oobi creates ethical clothing for little girls
Image credit: @ggs_great_adventures

You’ve had some organic cotton ranges in the past – is this something you’ll look to do more of in the future?
Yes, we dipped our toe in the water of organic garments and I would love to keep pursuing it. We used a GOTS certified supplier and he was hilarious guy that I enjoyed meeting (one of life’s true passionate ‘characters’) so it’s happening.

How important is sustainability in the day to day running of your business? Are there any proactive measures you’re taking to reduce the company’s footprint?
This has really been a huge sticking point for us and for me personally. We do not do the whole ‘unboxing’ thing, no glitter in our bags, no tissue paper or paper flyers, cards etc. But we do bag our garments because they need to be protected from dirt. 2018 and 2019 are our years to really reduce the quantity of our plastic packaging and I am looking into biodegradable bags and also we have decided that in future collections we won’t be individually bagging our garments. However, like most things that are worthy, it will take a while to roll this out completely.

We’ve been anti-straw and anti plastic bottle in our office for years. And we’re a paper-free office. But bags for garments is the last frontier!

Oobi is exclusively a girlswear range – why did you decide to only design girls’ clothing?
We have to be true to ourselves and understand our strengths. If I focus on girl’s fashion, I give it 100%. When I was designing for boys, my time and my focus was always split, and, to be honest, because I found boys wear more challenging, it took up a lot more of my time. I ended up making the decision that with focus and dedication, I could create more ranges for girls and expand my sizes from 6 years to 9 years, which is what I did a few years ago when I ceased making boy’s fashion. I do miss it though. I loved to design those sweet little outfits and use my passion for fabric, prints and mix-and-match into boys wear and I genuinely miss it.

How is Oobi helping to shape the next generation?
I just love designing for girls and I love knowing that when a little girl wears one of my dresses they feel special and amazing. I construct our garments to make sure that they are easy to wear and fit a variety of bodies too. I see it in photo shoots, when the little ones put on our clothes, they feel so empowered. They really do, it’s like a little light that switches on - and that is the best feeling in the world!

I want our fashion to be part of a good memory that a woman has one day. When she thinks back to her childhood and remembers the favourite dress with the apples or the pocket or the special piece of lace, or the way it made her feel. Dismissing kids fashion and saying that it’s “just clothing” is to ignore a critical part of a child’s development. The texture, fascination, construction, it’s so important. A great piece of clothing can empower a child and is really valuable.

mikyla wearing oobi's long sleeve kitty girls dress

Image credit: @mikyla.charlotte

Our newest arrivals

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