First, we’d love to get to know a bit about you both! When do you feel wild?
Rose: Spending time away and getting back to nature. My family and I bought a caravan last year and have spent so much time away in it — there’s nothing more invigorating for the soul than spending time outside. I also feel most wild, and most “me”, with my people. My best girlfriends and I recently went on a girls-only trip to Bellingen — so much yummy food and so many soulful conversations. But the part that made me feel most wild and revitalised was when we went skinny dipping in the fresh river water.
Ness: On baby-free girls’ trips or nights out. As Rose mentioned (we’re never not together!), on our most recent girls’ trip away we stripped nude and frolicked in freezing creeks in Bellingen. So liberating!
What are your star signs and what traits do you feel most aligned with?
Rose: I’m a Libra through and through. I can be extremely indecisive (although I’m getting better at this as I get older!) and I’m definitely reasonable, social and a deep thinker.
Ness: Leo — I’m definitely comfortable being the centre of attention! Rose would say drama-adoring, ambitious and I’m a big lover.
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What inspired the launch of Nine Lives Bazaar?
We’re self-confessed fossickers and forever inspired by the golden eras. Our clothing label began in 2012 as a labour of love and as an avenue to share our amassing vintage collections. After peddling our wares along the south coast of Australia, from Byron Bay to Burleigh Heads and beyond, it wasn’t long before we felt the urge to bring our pre-loved fashion fixation into something of our very own.
We revel in the eclectic unknown and glorious gamut of unearthed treasures. We always knew we wanted to be our own bosses but weren’t entirely sure how that would pan out — until we were given a contact by a mate in Bali and started designing our own pieces and debuted them at The Village Markets. Our wares were lapped up by the locals — we couldn’t believe it!
Now, almost 10 years on from the launch, our online platform is definitely the biggest side of our business and we’re always shipping nationally and across the globe. For a little market-grown fashion label, we still pinch ourselves that we’ve fostered this community of fellow retro-loving babes who froth pattern and extravagant colour as much as we do!
What are the primary influences behind your designs?
Threads from days gone by. We are so drawn to the “extra” pieces of the ‘60s and ‘70s — anything with added embellishment and pizazz makes our hearts flutter. We wanted to bring back some good ol’ 1970s love, namely in the form of freedom, expression, good times and bold clothes. Nine Lives Bazaar is reminiscent of old-school ensembles with a new-age style. Except this time round they fit a little better, feel a little softer and make your heart sing a little bit brighter.
We draw inspiration from everywhere — from retro fabrics to music muses and beyond trends in fashion. Inspiration is endless and this has never been more true as we continue to expand our ranges.
Cher is our go-to muse and our fan base think so too! When we first started NLB, we actually sewed samples from vintage patterns inspired by her epic ‘70s threads. And we constantly find ourselves drawing inspiration from these.
What is your favourite part of the creation process?
Rose: When the collection finally lands and we get to wear the clothes. There is something so special about wearing an item you have poured so much love and energy into over many months. But I really love everything about it — briefing a new print, playing with colourways, coming up with the designs, styling the photoshoots. The whole gig is a tremendous amount of fun.
Ness: Seeing our wild and wonderful prints come to life, courtesy of our fabulous textile designers!
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What are you doing to minimise the environmental impact of your brand?
We moved our production from Bali to China, mainly because we were really interested in working with recycled fabrics and that’s something we didn’t have access to in Indonesia. Moving to China has also allowed us to start digitally printing our fabrics, which means less fabric wastage and a cleaner footprint.
Our factory in China has great working conditions for staff and above award wages. Our goal is to work towards a more sustainable future with our factory partners for the brand.
We’ve also started using sustainable fabrics for 80 per cent of our collections. Our latest collection, Lucid Dream, uses a beautifully soft and luxurious fabrication, which is derived from certified sustainable wood pulp from responsibly managed sources. This process uses 50 per cent less energy and water to manufacture. Our swim collections are produced using recycled fabrics that are made from discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles.
We have overhauled our consumer-facing packaging and are now using compostable postage bags. Overhauling our packaging across all touch points to be more sustainable is also on our agenda for the second half of 2021, which we’re really excited about.
Starting to utilise sustainable fabrics has been a huge yet necessary step for us as a brand. We still have a long way to go, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction as a business. We’re always looking for ways to improve our practices and ultimately walk a little lighter.
Where do you source your materials and how important is sourcing quality/ethical products?
Our accredited factory partners are based in China. We have a mill that creates blends of sustainable fabrics especially for us. It’s extremely important to us given we are living in a world that is creating so much waste, particularly fashion waste. We are striving to minimise the impact we have on the environment through making a conscious effort to create more sustainable textiles and overhauling all our packaging and plastic waste to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Which Nine Lives Bazaar pieces are constantly in high rotation in your wardrobe?
Rose: Everything gets a good workout, but I do love a good midi dress.
Ness: Hands down the flares for winter and day dresses for summer. We are both addicted to the warmer colourways and always opt for comfort when at work. I might also throw in a bit of a saucier, more fitted number for weekend fun!
Each Nine Lives Bazaar design embodies the unapologetic power and free spirit of ‘70s icons. Who are your biggest style influences?
Rose: Jimi Hendrix! In fact, we launched the most fabulous velvet jacket — The Jimi — and matching pants — the Zeppelin Flares —to pay homage to this great style icon. A lot of our product style names are plucked from our favourite lyrical muses, or a lyric from a song!
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Ness: Cher is a big one. I’m obsessed with her embellished outfits that we see on Pinterest.
You’ve teamed up with some of our favourite Aussie brands including Wandering Folk. What would your dream collaboration be?
Rose: We are dying to do our very own retro beach umbrella and would really love to create our perfect hat! This is something that’s currently missing from our styling collection. We’re always up for a collaboration — this is where the magic happens!
What’s next for Nine Lives Bazaar?
World domination! Haha, no really, we have so many exciting things in the works — from a full website overhaul (might sound geeky but this is a huge move for us!) to more epic, larger-than-life events, and some of our most magical and most retro collections are yet to be released. We can’t wait to share the madness with the world. It’s an exciting time for the brand and we’re always up for the wild ride that is business ownership. We’re just so lucky we get to do it together and with the most amazing, fun team.