Today I am very happy to introduce the Australian children’s clothing brand Sacred Ibis to you. But first, I have a little personal story to share how we got to know each other. In summer 2014 our family travelled around Thailand. On the little paradise-like island of Koh Tao we met Carly Jordan and her family from Australia where we stayed at the same resort. We have two little girls, they have two little girls, and despite coming from opposite corners of the world, there is no language barrier when it comes to beach, sea & fun. I was just about to start my venture into surface pattern design and asked Carly a lot of questions about design software like Adobe Illustrator that she knew about. Carly has a background in fashion design and was also transitioning into a new career path. And one thing was obvious – Carly had a style about her, and her girls wore adorable dresses which she admitted having designed and sewn herself. And now let’s Carly introduce herself and her brand:
Hi, my name’s Carly. I make children’s clothing for the label Sacred Ibis. I am very interested in the creative process from a spark of inspiration or a gorgeous fabric print through to a finished piece which then makes its way onto a little individual running around and enjoying life! This is what inspires me. I have a background in the fashion industry, but I do not think of clothing solely in terms of ‘fashion’. Sustainability is important to me, and so I prefer to think of clothing in terms of the natural lifespan of clothing, which is actually quite a bit longer than the fashion cycle would allow. Therefore my aim is to create clothing which has longevity and is a little more timeless in style. Children need clothing which is comfortable so they can be free to play and I love it when their clothing can grow with them a little, so for the younger ones I like to use elastic for waists and necks for comfort and fit. I have two amazing girls and they love to be involved and very much inform the process of creating for Sacred Ibis. They remind me constantly that children have different preferences in terms of the type of clothing and colours they like to wear, and also the colours that suit them so I try to cater to this with the clothing for Sacred Ibis. They are both very much involved in the choice of fabric, particularly the print designs… if they squeal when the see the fabrics I know I am on the right track!!
Please tell us about the beginnings of your business and how you have come to be where you are now?
Sacred Ibis was born out of the process of making clothing for my own children, and my unstoppable urge to design and sew. I often had people comment on my children’s clothing so it was a natural progression to make a few more and to put them out there for others to enjoy too! I make short runs using quality fabrics, all play-tested on two very active and often messy girls!
Sacred Ibis began when I decided to make a few dresses for a retail gallery in December 2015. I had the patterns, I had WAAAAY too much fabric in my sewing cupboards and so I though “why not?” I loved that I had an excuse to sew… and they sold, so I kept going! I was encouraged by some friends more knowledgeable than me about the online world to take it online and so I opened the online shop in November 2016, and now here we are!
What is the story behind your brand’s name ‘Sacred Ibis’?
We have recently purchased a property which forms part of a “green wedge” in an otherwise suburban area on the Mornington Peninsula. We love that our property can be a sanctuary for migratory birds and one of those is the Australian White Ibis, also known as the Sacred Ibis. The Ibis was revered by many cultures throughout history including the ancient romans and Aboriginals. In modern times they get more press as an urbanised bird which is considered a pest and much like the Pidgeon has developed a taste for human food scraps. The Ibis which visit us are as wild as can be… and I love to watch them grazing in their big flocks whilst I sew.
What have you been focusing on lately?
Towards the end of 2016 I set up the website and the instagram account to take Sacred Ibis online and there was lots of sewing to be done for all the summer stock!
I am currently enjoying the slower pace of summer holidays with my family… we like to catch up with friends and to get out and enjoy everything the Mornington Peninsula has to offer for young families… the girls love the beach, but also now that my youngest is confident on her bike we have loved exploring all the local bike trails.
Your girls’ dresses and clothes are just wonderful, how is your design process? Do you design everything yourself? Who sews the clothes? Who designs the patterns?
My design process begins with a sense of what I want for the season. Then I begin my fabric search, so I meet with fabric suppliers and get totally excited over all the possibilities and all the amazing designs! When I find the right fabrics I can begin to pull together a range. Each fabric has qualities which make it suitable for some garments and not others, like a little personality, so it is natural for it to be made into a certain garment. Sometimes if I love a fabric, I will design a garment just for that fabric.
I am informed by decades of working with fabric, so I always have in my mind how a fabric needs to move and drape and feel. I started sewing very young and made many of my own clothes as a teenager, I actually come from a long line of dressmakers and designers, so maybe it’s a bit innate and it’s certainly very natural for me.
I make all my own patterns, and grade them myself. This means I begin with a size, then once I have a fit I am happy with I create patterns for all the other sizes I think will be needed for that style. The sizes I grade into depend on the style, for example some styles are more suitable for certain ages. Currently my range covers sizes 1-7, but I’m very keen to add some styles for older girls soon… and I’d love to do some things for boys too!
I would say I am influenced by current trends, but I don’t necessarily follow them. I am a visual person and I am always looking. In terms of the visual, I find I crave something, then I tire of it and crave something else. I think trends are really interesting, like there is something we are all tapping into that many people share, like a ‘mood’. What I try to do though is to avoid those things which become tiresome too quickly, trends which will be short-lived. I always hope to create a piece that a child will love and want to wear forever.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. I often see a detail I love, something that catches my eye or a certain ‘look’ or ‘feel’ I want to explore. I think it always comes from something which pulls my attention which I then want to take to a certain place, or see where it takes me!
What are your plans for 2017?
I am so excited for 2017! My youngest begins school this year so as she settles in I am looking forward to having some more time to dedicate to Sacred Ibis. I will be adding new styles to the range. I plan to have both summer and winter available on the website at all times so styles are available for all climate zones! Also, I would like to source some good-quality fabrics which I can use to print my own designs, for me this represents greater control on the quality of the fabric and the print process. Sometimes I find a fabric with a print I love, but the fabric is not what I’m after, other times I find a nice fabric but the print is not right! I am looking forward to the opportunities this will create to work with some of the very talented textile designers and artists out there! Know any??!!
Where can we find your brand?
The website is www.sacredibis.com.au so you can see all the styles and purchase securely here, I ship worldwide. You can find me on instagram @sacred.ibis, followers on instagram will be getting peeks into the design and thought process and see styles as they become available. I also have a facebook page @sacredibisclothing.
Carly is so generous as to offer my readers a free handband of their choice with any purchase with Sacred Ibis. All you need to do is put the item in your cart and then use the prome code HBAND. The offer is valid until the end of March.
Thank you very much, Carly! It’s a pleasure having you here on the blog. I can’ t wait for warmer days to come here in the Northern Hemisphere when I see these cute clothes.