Why I had to create Over All
I'm Eirlie. Clothes designer, pattern cutter, fabric expert, garment fitter, mum of two young boys and now business owner. We live in London, though I'm originally from Australia.
Here's why I had no choice but to create Over All.
From a really young age my mum would keep me occupied with cross stitch, knitting, paper making, basically any type of creative, hands on crafts. I learnt to sew on an old foot treadle Singer machine, and began making clothes around the age of 15. I read my grandmothers and great grandmothers sewing books, which led to me teaching myself how to draft patterns from my own measurements (with varying degrees of success). It was a natural progression to study fashion design after high school, I loved nearly everything about fashion college and for the first time ever I really felt like I was at home.
After graduating I moved to Melbourne to work as a design assistant, and not long after that I moved to Sydney and I got a job as design assistant at a young luxury designer label. This was my all time favorite job and my boss was a legend. I was able to be creative and work with beautiful Italian and Australian made textiles. Because the business was so small I got great experience in most areas, from range planning, fabric sourcing, manufacturing, to working behind the scenes at fashion shows and shooting look books etc.
From there I moved to a more commercial role in product development for a number of internationally known streetwear brands and after 3 years doing that, I jumped on a plane to London.
My first job in London was for a luxury high street brand, where I worked in Quality Control, I monitored the quality of shoes from Portugal, bags from Italy, and stunning hand beaded dresses from India.
Let's just say I'm as passionate, as I am experienced, in creating beautiful clothes. I love it.
On my weekends I met up with friends in Paris and Berlin, I danced all night in Dalston, Hackney Wick and Vauxhall, went to exhibitions, and cycled my track bike all over London exploring the amazing mix of cultures in this brilliant city.
And then I had children, I started using cloth nappies on my eldest when he was a few months old. I soon came to realise that not many clothes fit over his lovely big padded bottom, so I began to buy a size bigger, but then things never fit anywhere else; the waist was too big, or the legs were way too long, and if I tried to buy a romper or jumpsuit there was just no way of making that adorable garment fit. I bought leggings and stretchy garments, but they weren't durable enough for playing and crawling around outside, particularly in winter.
Family and friends gave us clothes as gifts, and sadly we just didn't use a lot of them because the fit never quite worked. Aside from this, I found using cloth nappies so convenient, and I was happy not having to empty a bin full of disposable nappies frequently, so I didn't want to give up on them. I was always doing loads of washing anyway with having a small child and the ridiculous amount of mess they make on themselves and everyone around them, so the cycle of washing and drying nappies easily slotted into that regime. Then, 15 months after my eldest was born, I gave birth to his little brother. I now had two little boys to look after, and no family close by, I knew I needed to make my life as simple as possible.
I'm a pretty picky person, and although there are some lovely brands around that specifically make garments 'cut for cloth', I felt there was still a gap in the market to explore an understated streetwear aesthetic. I was also becoming increasingly annoyed with the whole "girls" sections and "boys" sections when shopping online for clothes. There is absolutely no practical reason for babies and toddlers clothing to be segmented into gender, children at that age are basically the same shape, fit wise. In my mind, this division is completely unnecessary. I'm pretty passionate (nerdy) about fit, there is seriously nothing better that a garment that fits correctly, meaning not only does it look great, but you feel comfortable in it, and you can get on with things. This is important whether you're 1 or 100. Going back to simplicity and making things easy, I wanted garments that are valued but do not feel at all precious, you should be able to just throw them in the washing machine, wash at 40 (or less) and be confident that they won't need any special care. The finish on all my fabrics are carefully selected to wear well, (or interestingly!) the colors and prints hide marks (no one has time to wash clothes after every wear). And to have the least negative impact on the environment I have sourced fabric made from 100% cotton and 100% organic cotton, and I'm also using some lovely recycled fabrics in my ranges too.
I'm a strong believer in doing one thing and doing it well, and that's exactly what I plan to do with Over All.
So that's it! I'm currently sewing up all my samples for the first collection that will be available to purchase in March. Please sign up to my mailing list if you haven't already, as I plan to treat my very first customers with some special rewards.
Thanks so much for reading,
P.S. You may have spotted that my youngest, Caspar, is actually wearing a disposable nappy in the photo of the three of us. Sometimes I use disposable nappies (in this case on holidays in Australia), which is really important for me to mention too. Over All certainly isn't about disposable v's reusable and I'd hate anyone to feel alienated or judged by their choice of nappy. I appreciate that re-usable nappies aren't for everyone, and I hope that all children get to have fun in my clothes, regardless of what's on their bottom.