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Melbourne-based label Caves Collect is consciously creating a modern capsule wardrobe

PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER RYLE FOR CAVES COLLECT

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“We loved the idea of developing an offering of simple, high-quality, tailored clothing that makes people feel good.”

Most of us have more than we need. It’s hard to accept and even harder to act on, but in the age of excessive overconsumption, thoughtfulness is the only way forward. This doesn’t mean you have to throw your material possessions away, nor does it mean you have to Marie Kondo-fy your sock drawer (although it is fun), just contemplate a little more.

Melbourne-based label Caves Collect, founded by friends Sarah Russell and Johanna Howe, believes conscious consumerism starts in our wardrobes. Established in 2014, the brand offers women’s ready-to-wear apparel and quality leather goods, with the whole collection made entirely here in Australia.


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Each piece – like a striped silk shirt, woollen cigarette pants and a soft cotton singlet – fits together like a carefully tailored puzzle piece, designed to last.

Essentially, Caves Collect is an exemplification of the grown-up wardrobe I’ve always longed for. Born on Sarah and Johanna’s sharehouse porch, the brand’s offering of “simple, high quality, well-tailored clothing” has made it a slow fashion standout on the Australian market.

How did the label get started? What was the idea behind Caves Collect?

We had been trying to define what we wanted Caves Collect to be. We kept coming back to the idea of a curated, minimalist wardrobe of reliable and timeless classics. We loved the idea of developing an offering of simple, high quality, tailored clothing that makes people feel good.

Talk to us about the brand and your process.

 

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We are entirely self-owned and funded, so we’ve grown the brand slowly and steadily over the years. It’s felt like a natural and organic process for us. We’re totally DTC (direct to consumer), which is an exciting way to run the brand. It enables us to achieve lower pricing on a premium product, as we’re cutting out the middle person (the retailer) and avoiding the markups of wholesale margins.

This model has enabled us to maintain our ethos of sourcing high end fabrics from Italy and Japan, and paying premium prices for local manufacturing of clothing and leather goods. If we were wholesaling our designs, they would be about twice the price of what we can offer on a direct to consumer model through our website.

How would you describe Caves Collect to someone who’s never seen it before?

Caves Collect offers quality tailored classics, built for living in. We design our pieces to make the task of getting dressed easier, quicker and more enjoyable, so our customers can get on with living their lives and feel good in their outfits for the day!

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?

 

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We’ve been producing 100 per cent of our clothing and leather goods in Australia since we started the brand in 2014, and we’re proud to have supported local manufacturing all these years. It feels good to know that our pieces are being made with sustainable materials and are produced in safe working conditions by people being paid a fair and living wage.

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now?

Customers are becoming increasingly more educated and conscious about ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. There’s now more demand for transparency from brands. I think, in part, this has led to more brands bringing a portion of their manufacturing back to Australia (from offshore), as Australian regulations make it a lot easier to ensure factories are safe and workers are being paid a fair wage.

Go-to dinner party playlist?

 

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Our friend Cleopold made a playlist for our last pop up shop, which we’ve been absolutely loving. You can listen to it here.

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

You’d be surprised at how small my wardrobe is! The flavour of my wardrobe is easy mix-and-match. I’ve edited out everything that’s not on high rotation, and it’s ended up being pretty much all Caves Collect mixed in with high quality vintage pieces. Shoes are an ongoing difficult category for me but currently, I have pairs from brands like Common Projects, Loake, Marni, Ganni and Blundstone.

How can we buy one of your pieces?

 

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From our website. Also, email us at info@cavescollectstudio.com if you have any questions or just want to say hi!

See more of the Caves Collect range here.

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