It is difficult to portray the authenticity of the brains behind a business, but it's hard to dispute when you realise that headquarters is a beautiful 1970s caravan that inherently smells of coffee and warm cake.
Knockrow based sisters Kirby and Clancy began Sybil & Johnny as a blog nine years ago, taking inspiration from their late mother who loved everything vintage, from clothes to travel keepsakes. S&J is now an online boutique, stocked completely with recycled clothing and accessories that they have found in thrift shops and simply not been able to leave behind.
Kirby. Our love for vintage only grew as we began to travel the world ourselves, collecting our own keepsakes and beautiful loved up threads. Since many of the beautiful pieces we would find weren’t in our size we decided to open an online store so those beautiful vintage pieces could be appreciated by whom they did fit! It’s just too hard to leave those golden finds behind.
The fashion industry is growing daily with new up and coming designers emerging each year, which is creating an endless supply of manufactured threads. It is a complicated business, involving long and varied supply chains of production ─ material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimately disposal of the garment. When we think of pollution, we visualize coal power plants, strip-mined mountaintops and raw sewage piped into our waterways. We don’t often think of the shirts on our backs. But the overall impact the apparel industry has on our planet is quite grim.
Kirby and Clancy realised this a few years ago and despite beginning the journey with S&J for their pure love of vintage, they are aware of the severe impact that the fashion industry is having on this planet.
Kirby. In the last few years we have seen the boom of online fashion and "cheap knockoffs" or variations of designs. Seeing so much fast fashion and mass producing really made us think how many of these products must get thrown away. We feel like shopping vintage is just one small way of making sure you’re not adding to the pile of excess fabric.
According to the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations, Australian charity op shops divert more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing and home wares from landfill each year.
Kirby. Our parents taught us from a young age the worth of things & the value of quality over quantity, working hard to gain the things you want, and looking after those things so they last. We have both always had our own style and never really questioned it or followed particular trends. I think that’s just the way we are, I think it is important for women in this day and age to remain focused on quality garments and shop with their heart. Fashion is a way to express yourself and your beliefs. Shopping consciously will not only help out the planet but it will introduce you to all the great labels and designers that are popping up with beautiful garments.
A day at Sybil and Johnny explained by Kirby
"Sybil & Johnny days are never the same - always quite the jumble. Whenever we get the chance we try meet up at HQ together we plot out new collections of our latest finds and mainly get distracted by coffee and cakes. As we have so much stock and love to compile them into collections of pieces that complement each other, it's a never ending game of sorting. I love it, getting to play with vintage clothes and call it work!
"We have had such a beautiful, supportive response from the community and women around us, our brand isn't just about clothing or recycling, we have a big focus on supporting fellow creatives. We think it’s important to help fellow creatives rise and grow rather than see them as competition and so far it’s been nothing but beneficial to our brand and has also landed us lots of lovely new friends that are helping spread our pre-loved message."
Images: Studio Sessions. Source: Kirby Pill
Post by Liz Calligeros