If clothes are meant to be an expression of the wearer then Kablooie is offering a solution for upbeat individuals with a love for colour, prints and all-round happiness.
Funnily enough, the Brisbane-based clothing brand by Keneena Fanning was a happy accident in itself.
“I started Kablooie as a small handmade business primarily because I wanted to work
at home, to be more accessible to my three young children,” Fanning says.
“As the business grew and changed, I found out so much about the fashion industry and discovered a huge passion for colour, fun design, and doing the unexpected with clothing – including focusing on really big and unexpectedly quirky elements in my designs.
“I also work with local independent Australian designers to create my prints, and focus on creating clothes that are inclusive of every person’s body.”
The Kablooie clothing is available in sizes 4 – 24, and Fanning offers a number of options to customise each piece and make it work for the customer.
When it comes to her producing her garments, Fanning says her eyes have been opened to how unsustainable the fashion industry is in so many areas
“Now that I know what it costs to produce small-batch, high-quality clothing, I can’t believe how cheap some items are in larger retailers – and I can’t believe how little people at the production end must earn to allow prices to be that low,” Fanning says.
“It has made me think twice about what I buy, as well as what I make, and I make far more of my own and my family’s clothes as a result.”
For the Kablooie production, Fanning keeps everything local, initially creating the pieces from her home studio in Brisbane.
She says that as demand grew, she brought on other local seamstresses who would make the clothes in their homes and return the finished pieces.
Fanning also works with a small number of accessory designers and makers, who produce handmade accessories in Australia to complement the Kablooie collections.
For the Kablooie garments, Fanning opts for natural fibres that are environmentally friendly.
“I use mainly cotton for the garments. I avoid using any polyester or poly cotton because I think the cotton breathes better and is a better quality garment all round,” she says.
“I also expanded to include a cotton lycra (cotton jersey) in my range to produce stretch garments.
“This allowed me to launch a practical and comfortable breastfeeding dress, to make my label more inclusive. I also now produce a small range of cotton jersey dresses and tops, which are perfect layering pieces.”
To reduce waste, Fanning keeps small offcuts to create her signature mismatched surprise pockets in clashing prints, the binding for dresses and tops, and for sleeve pieces, fabric belts and scrunchies.
“I also love to use smaller pieces of fabric in collaborations with other makers, who can create bags, wallets and other products from my fabric,” she says.
“At the start of this year we also switched to The Better Packaging Co for our satchels which can be reused easily and break down quickly when placed in the compost.
“Inside these satchels, parcels are wrapped in brown paper. We also recycle everything we can, including soft plastics and all of the fabric and supplier packaging we go through.”
Fanning says the Kablooie clothes are for women who have a bold, individual and quirky style – no matter what their dress size.
“I have a really strong core of customers who absolutely love that they can customise each garment to work with their body,” she says.
“I have learnt so much since starting my label, and I’ll continue to educate myself, listen to my customers and be inspired by all the ideas exploding in my brain as Kablooie grows and changes.
“I am so excited by what Kablooie has achieved so far, and what is ahead for the label.”