Fed up with having no other option than to wear men’s work clothing on a daily basis, Olivia Thwaites dived headfirst into a fashion business venture with a difference.
The Geelong horticulturist was an apprentice in 1997 when she decided something needed to be done about the workwear that was on offer for women in her field.
It was not until she was living in Thailand more than 10 years later that the dream became a reality, with Olivia firming up a business plan for Green Hip female workwear.
“It was only through chance when my husband and I were living abroad in Bangkok in 2010 that my idea really came to life,” Olivia said.
While overseas, she began working with a tailor and discovered a fabric that was perfect for what she had in mind.
“I had a really clear idea of what it needed to do and how it needed to behave and fit because I had for so many years worn men’s workwear,” she said. “My garments are made from a cotton-stretch fabric which I actually discovered in Bangkok.
“It wasn’t the norm for workwear to have any sort of stretch in it but overwhelmingly the feedback from my customers has been that the stretch is awesome.”
This feedback and word of mouth have been the catalyst for the growth of Green Hip, which is now stocked in 30 stores across the country and recently been named as a preferred supplier for Victorian Government departments.
The next step for the brand is heading across Bass Strait to show their goodies off at AgFest, something Olivia has wanted to do for a while.
“The agriculture industry is harder to get to because everyone is so spread out,” Olivia said.
“So with AgFest everyone comes to Tassie from all across Australia … it’s a way to get out to the masses.”