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FIFTEEN YEARS OF OOBI - An inside look at one of Australia’s most iconic children’s wear labels.

June 01, 2018

FIFTEEN YEARS OF OOBI - An inside look at one of Australia’s most iconic children’s wear labels.

IN THE BEGINNING

Fifteen years ago, Alexandra Riggs developed the concept idea on which the brand Oobi has been built. Her passion and skills in design lay foremost in creating beautiful products of high quality. Her original plan to become a teacher was short lived when she discovered at art school that she had a certain knack for drawing sweet and whimsical designs… 

In the early days, the children’s fashion market was full of beige for “unisex" and “pink for girls and blue for  boys”! There was no real thought for fun, design, colour or really - what it’s like to be a child. 

This caught the attention of Alex - her friends were having babies and she couldn’t find anything GREAT to buy them. She remembered how important clothing was to her as a child, how she could escape into another world, hide out in the wardrobe and become… anything. She thought to herself - you can’t do that in beige! 

 

Alex took her design skills, her passion for hand screen printing and everything vintage, and combined with a hands-on approach to running a business, started a company that has never wavered from that approach. Alex has worked passionately on Oobi every day since.

Oobi’s design aesthetic is bold and unique, with a whimsical direction and a passion for hand-drawn flowers, sweet fruit designs and vintage style. Oobi is renowned for the fit, quality and construction of all garments, and quality, longevity and sustainability are always on our minds.

 

Harper Apples DressHarper Candy Apple Dress

It has been an amazing journey.

From humble market beginnings, the label was quickly snapped up by major department stores on both a national and international level.

Alex, a then 20-odd year old woman, made the bold decision that this was not the direction “for us”, so that she could continue with her smaller ‘boutique’ style business.

Oobi became one of the pioneers for online trading, hiring web store manager Kylie in 2011, and launching one of the first children’s online stores in 2012. We have not looked back since!

 

OOBI’S ‘WHY'

Zoe Strawberry Princess Ice Cream Dress

 

We live in a society that encourages young people to grow up too fast. 

Not being allowed the luxury of a true childhood, is a tragedy.

Children who grow up in poverty are often forced to see and know too much - to bear responsibilities that they are not yet equipped to deal with. 

That is why our “Oobify the World” charity program is so important to us. 

Oobi-fy pledges that for every new-season garment you purchase, we will donate a garment to an Aussie child in need. 

For some girls, an Oobi gift is the first and only birthday present they’ve ever had, or their first ever Christmas gift.

There are girls - even as old as 8, 10 or 12 - and Oobi is their first gift, just for them. It is our absolute privilege to be able to change that story for someone, in a truly meaningful way.

 

Lamby Foxy Blossom SkirtLamby Vest and Blossom Skirt in Foxy Print

For other children, more privileged or not, growing up too fast can be as simple as peer pressure, or the noise on social media and retail, pushing them to grow up too fast. We feel that this is something that we can attempt to address too, in our own way.

Let them be little is an ethos that is so close to our hearts, for this very reason. We are all about allowing children the freedom to love the bunnies or kitties on their dresses for just a little while longer, to enjoy the flowers, to appreciate colour, the heart shaped pocket, the special features just for them too… before wardrobes become all black. 

When you are dressed in Oobi, there is always time to twirl!

 

Long Weekend Strawberry Princess Ice Cream Dress

Long Weekend Strawberry Princess Ice Cream Dress

 

Childhood and the memories that are created, are important to the development of amazing, empathetic and compassionate adults. Knowing that someone cared about and for you, gives you a better chance of bringing that compassion into the world as an adult.

You don’t have to have had the perfect childhood - but to know that someone, somewhere cared, is the key.

 

GARMENTS AND DEVELOPMENTAL GROWTH IN CHILDREN

 

Allowing children to marvel in the world around them - including the tactility of fabrics, the brightness of a print, and the softness of cottons or jerseys - are important for childhood developmental phases and provide a wonderful learning experience. In underestimating the importance of fashion to a child, we to miss really crucial learning point. 

It is important, not only to their development, but to their self esteem. And so, we always aim to design for many different body types too - because no body is the same as any other body. 

Alex and her production manager take all feedback on board and have participated in ‘think tanks’ with mums of children with disabilities too. Our aim is to ensure that fit and construction makes our pieces suitable for many children.

 

Harlow Primrose Dress for Girls and Tweens

Harlow Primrose Dress

Memories also play a huge role for an adult, and the special feeling that you get as a child when someone compliments you on your pretty dress, or your bright colours, or your special smile - because you’re happy and feel good about yourself - are impossible to measure in terms of confidence, self esteem and emotional intelligence later on in life.

 

MANUFACTURING AND OUR TEAM HERE AND OVERSEAS

Handprinted and Screenprinted Clothing

The handscreen process

 

Finally, when Oobi talks about fashion we mean slow fashion. 

An Oobi collection takes around a year to produce.

From inception - the seed in Alex’s mind - comes the drawings, designing and development. 

We create specification sheets and patterns ‘in-house’ in Sydney (a rarity!). The team in the office discuss ideas across design, campaign and promotional meetings. Production begins, with Sedex approved suppliers ONLY. We hand print most fabrics using traditional methods on our own wooden screens. 

 

One of our precious screens

One of our precious screens

 

Our team work on wholesale, web store management, marketing, handling, dispatching, checking… the wheels have to turn in unison and in harmony because from the beginning (that seed of an idea), to the red dotty parcel that arrives on your doorstep, involves a group of passionate, dedicated and like-minded people.

Our Beautiful Factory Environment - Working on Scandi Flower

 

Working ethically means that everyone is on the same page. 

We all agree that we are here to make the lives of others better. 

We want to make people happier and to enrich their lives - whether they are wearing our clothes, or making our clothes, or given our clothes!

One thing you will notice, is that an Oobi hand-me-down is one that lasts for years! We are 15 years strong and still see our original pieces on social media and out and about on the streets. Handed down from sister-to-sister, cousin-to-cousin. This is the mark of true quality and true sustainability! 

 

Beautiful Women's Collective Working Together

 

Now on to sustainability -  we are proud to use GOTS approved fabric printing. This means that our environmental footprint is small. You can find out more about our fabric and print production on our “How is Oobi Made” page on our website.

You’ll also find us to be fair and empathetic in our business dealings, and should you ever have a conversation with us about an order or an exchange, you’ll see why our customer service is so highly spoken about. We are always here to help.

 

LOCATION… 

Sweetheart Tee Navy Scandi Flower

Sweetheart Tee Navy Scandi Flower (Sold Out)

 

From our office in Sydney, Australia; to the warehouse in Penrith, NSW; to our work from home mums in Australia; and further afield to our sewers and seamstresses, and those working in our printing; we spread a net of ethicality, humanity and kindness to ensure that just because they are out of sight, does not mean they are EVER out of mind.

And even though our hand-printers are covered in paint (PINK paint of course, working with a product that they also love), they are smiling - because they are paid a liveable wage and they are working freely, with an hour-long lunch break, and tea breaks and all of those things that we demand for our staff in Australia. Our staff here and abroad know that they are cared for by people who are concerned for their well-being and their humanity.

 

OOBI-FY

Belinda Pink Polkadot Pinnie Dress

 

So Oobi-fy the world.

Even if you never own a piece of Oobi yourself. 

Because what we stand for, and the positive and joyful message that we spread, is a good one. 

And we know that if you’ve been lucky enough to own a piece of Oobi magic yourself, that you’ve loved it’s quality and sustainability, and that it’s been handed down from child to child. 

Oobi-fy the World

Emily Primrose Dress

 

Because after 15 years we’re still seeing a LOT of Alex’s first ever garments out and about and shared on social media. And for a child’s garment to last for 15 or more years, is something we’ll stand behind, every day of the week.


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Sizing Guide
Our Sizing Height of Child
3M / 00 64cm - 72cm
6M / 0 72cm - 80cm
12M/1Y 80cm - 86cm
18M 86cm - 92cm
2Y 92cm - 98cm
3Y 98cm - 104cm
4Y 104cm - 110cm
5Y 110cm - 116cm
6Y 116cm - 122cm
7Y 122cm - 128cm
8Y 128cm - 134cm
9Y 134cm - 140cm
10Y 140cm - 146cm
11Y 146cm - 152cm
12Y 152cm - 158cm
13Y 158cm - 164cm