High-low: Bianca Spender, Nobody Denim join forces as consumers go casual

features 11 pieces, including a trench coat, wrap dress and statement skirt, all made from denim and all manufactured locally in Nobody Denim’s factory in Melbourne. 

The collection is available to purchase through Bianca Spender and Nobody Denim retail outlets, with prices ranging from $275-475. The two brands will split the proceeds. 

Unlike most design collaborations, the primary aim of this collection is not to increase the reach of the brands involved, but rather to show the wider fashion industry that it’s still possible to make garments in Australia. 

“At the end of the day, what we can achieve here locally is world class if brands work together,” John Condilis, CEO and co-founder of Nobody Denim, told Inside Retail.  

‘We are world class’

Nobody Denim has been committed to local manufacturing since its inception 23 years ago. It operates a factory and laundry in Melbourne, where the majority of garments are cut, sewn, washed and finished. 

The brand recently started assembling some garments in Fiji to keep up with growing demand, but Condilis remains a strong advocate for local manufacturing and investing in training and education to ensure the necessary skills don’t disappear. 

This strong track record is what first attracted Bianca Spender to the brand.

“Despite not being an incredible consumer of denim, I had admired the way that Nobody Denim developed their manufacturing, washing processes and sustainability initiatives locally in Melbourne,” Spender, the label’s namesake founder and creative director, told Inside Retail

“They have an incredible respect in the industry that I felt was a perfect synergy for us as a leader in design and sustainable and ethical practices.”

Spender has been producing collections in Australia since her label was founded in 2009, and she has been working with some of her makers for more than 15 years. 

“There’s limited manufacturing capacity and skills remaining in Australia; however, we are proud to support our local communities, economy, and industry,” she said. 

Like Condilis, she is passionate about strengthening the local manufacturing sector, and believes the government could be doing a lot more to encourage brands to keep their business on shore. 

“There is little to no support from government to promote on-shore manufacturing of clothing to build skills and facilities locally,” Spender said. 

She is hopeful the collaboration with Nobody Denim will show other brands that it’s still possible. 

“I’d implore our industry to come together to share expertise and resources to further our capabilities for manufacturing,” she said.

‘Not a denim girl’

Aside from their shared passion for local manufacturing, in many ways, Condilis and Spender make an unlikely pair. When they first met, Spender apparently told Condilis that she was “not a denim girl”.

“I said, ‘Denim is a canvas. It can be moulded to do whatever you want.’ And she embraced that. The outcome has been amazing,” Condilis said. 

While Spender has “always admired denim”, she said she never understood how her signature design aesthetic could be adapted to the medium. But as consumers’ wardrobes have become increasingly casual in recent years, she saw an opportunity to explore new territory.

“With the introduction of hybrid working models and ‘corporate casual,’ dress codes have come into question and casualisation is more prevalent than ever,” she said. 

“I’ve always been interested in the concept of elevating the everyday, and I think consumers are looking for items that offer refinement with ease and a distinct perspective on design.”

Spender said her collections have expanded in recent seasons to focus on versatile pieces that can be worn daily and are easy to wash and to care for. 

“Our investment into sustainability not only focuses on our production practices, but also in how we design and educate our consumers,” she said. 

“Alongside our signature drapery and tailoring, we will continue to focus on product that allows us to be a deeper part of our community’s lives and wardrobes.”

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