While this blog is primarily about bicycles in Newcastle, I keep an eye out for interesting developments elsewhere, and I am always on the lookout for cycling clothes which don’t look like cycling clothes. So when I saw Bago Studio featured in Treadlie Magazine recently, I could see an exciting new cycling fashion label which is affordable and practical, as well as extremely beautiful. Kellie has a fresh approach to fashion adapted to cycling in our conditions and I could not resist asking her to do an interview to showcase her work ….
– Can you tell me a bit about yourself and any business partners you have?
I grew up on the Mid North Coast of NSW on a beautiful property, nestled at the foot of Broken Bago Mountain, hence where the name ‘Bago’ comes from. I have always had a love of adventure developed from exploring the surrounding bush when I was a child, which has carried on even now.
I studied Fashion and Textile design, at the University of Technology in Sydney with a focus upon printed textiles and sustainability. I have always been interested in creating clothing to be loved and cherished as art pieces rather than fast fashion.
After studying fashion I travelled for a few years exploring and working abroad in Italy and London continually developing my experience in textile design. Returning to Australia, I worked in the industry as a textile and print designer for about 6 years before starting Bago Studio, initially whist also working full time for other people. Bago Studio was launched in 2013, but I have only recently started to work full time on the business.
– Why did you go into business?
I have always wanted my own business, maybe it’s the creative freedom. I watched my parents work endlessly building a small locally run business and as such I see the importance and value of small business. Having also worked for a few small companies I also realise the struggles, but it’s something which I don’t want to regret trying in the future. When I moved to Melbourne after being in London I began cycling and this was my transport everywhere, all year round. I was inspired by clothing which was designed for a life of cycling.
– Do you ride a bike? What type of bike?
Yes, a Kona Honky Tonk. I like streamlined bikes with no fuss.
– What was your vision when you started making cycling clothes?
I believe where possible we should cycle everywhere, like they do in other parts of the world. So cycling is just part of the everyday. I wanted to create practical and elegant clothing for the everyday female cyclist, to look and feel good both on and off the bike. I think Bago Studio has grown into much more now and symbolises a lifestyle of active travel for cycling, traveling, exploring and relaxing.
– Can you tell us about your manufacturing process?
Bago Studio is run as designer-made business from a small studio in Brisbane, I work like a tailor or dressmaker would. I am responsible for the whole production from initial print design to the final sewing. It is a very sustainable process as I am in control of the entire operation and its nice to keep it small and intimate. As such all garments are locally made with a focus on quality craftsmanship. The only process I outsource in the digital printing of the fabric, which is done through an Australian company in Sydney.
– As a small business owner, how do you spend you week?
It really does depend on the the week/time of year. As some weeks I might spend the entire week designing new silhouettes, garments, patterns and prints for my next collection or other weeks I might be sewing in production mode all week.
An average week would have one-two computer days, book keeping, admin, researching, social media updates or designing new prints. I might have a day pattern cutting and two days sewing the garments. As a small business I have to multi task and if an order comes through this will always be the priority.
Thanks so much for this interview, Kellie, for the insight into your business ethic and for the peek at some of your work. I just love the original prints you are using and the styles look so good for wearing around town. I can’t wait to see your winter collection!