She helps organise the wardrobes of some of Australia’s top style influencers including Nadia Fairfax, Kate Waterhouse, and Yan Yan Chan – and now professional wardrobe organiser Katie Fowler has just launched her newest project: The Robe. Re-selling existing pieces from Australia’s fashion girls including style influencers, models, and the fashion crowd, The Robe sees elevated wardrobe pieces get a second life.
After seeing the overwhelming amount of clothing her clients wanted to be cleansed of, Katie set about launching a new platform in which it would be possible for high-end luxury clothing, accessories and beauty items to find a new home. The idea of wanting to re-robe women while being more conscious is at the brand’s forefront of the brand, with The Robe allowing fashion girls to help in the sustainable movement without sacrificing style.
Below, we talk to Katie a bit about her background and what people can expect from The Robe.
Firstly, can you talk me through a little bit of your background?
I’ve always been obsessed with organising to the point of being OCD with most of my things. When I was younger, if my sister would go into my room and steal clothes out of my wardrobe – I would know in a second if something was out of place. I’ve always loved fashion and began working as a content producer for the Who What Wear Network, which is where my interior design and lifestyle passion evolved. I then transitioned and made a pivot to follow my passion of organising wardrobes and spaces. I feel like organising and cleansing your wardrobe means so much more than just having space (which is also great). It truly makes getting ready in the mornings so much easier, creates a good energy, and of course having a more minimal approach to dressing is great for the environment.
What exactly does it mean to “organise the wardrobes” of style influencers?
Organising a wardrobe is different with every client. Some want a wardrobe rebuild, which we did part of for Nadia Fairfax using our lovely friends Husk & Co., and others simply require a cleanse, edit, and a reshuffle to make more space. We usually take everything out, sort into piles, categorise, and then see what storage accessories we need – then I go in and re-organise to ultimately make more space. Each organising project is bespoke and unique to our clients’ needs.
What made you decide to come up with The Robe?
All of my clients and friends had the same issue. They had a wardrobe overflowing with clothing and accessories and no time or idea of what to do with it all. I did one market stall and everything sold out in less than two hours and the buyers kept asking, “When are you coming back?,” “Do you have more clothes to sell?”. I saw the demand and had the product. I also began to educate myself on climate change a lot over the last few years and find it outrageous that Australians throw away 6000kg of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. Renewing fashion is a way to change this.
What clothes are going to be available on The Robe?
There will be clothing such as dresses, denim, outerwear, swimwear, activewear, accessories, and even beauty products. Some products are pre-loved and some are new.
How do you choose who to work with and who to approach?
It’s really just word of mouth. I’m forever thankful to my first client and favourite fashion girl, Nadia Fairfax. She introduced me to a lot of fashion girls. But we are inclusive and will work with anyone that needs a wardrobe organise, or who is looking to sell their quality clothing and accessories on consignment.
Who would have the ultimate wardrobe you’d like to feature on The Robe?
Australian would have to be Deborah Symond O’Neil (@deborahsymondoneil). Internationally, I’m obsessed with Marie Von Behrens (@mvb) and Arielle Charnas (@ariellecharnas).
What is the general aesthetic you are looking for to feature on The Robe?
We are here to inspire a lifestyle of fashionable sustainability. We are recycling elevated fashion, striving to inspire our customer to be more buying conscious without sacrificing their fashion standards. We don’t believe in fast fashion and everything we sell is from quality established brands.
Can you talk me through some of the brands available and the type of price point people can expect?
The designers vary from high-end to middle and international and Australian. Think: Stella McCartney, FENDI, Nanushka, SIR, Bec + Bridge, and Bassike. The price varies per item as some are brand new, and some are very special vintage designer pieces. You can expect the first drop to range between $40 and $4000.
What sets The Robe apart from other competitors out there?
The Robe is a unique shopping destination. We shoot all the pieces on a model so our customers can visually see the pieces on. We have a clean and minimal online store where you can purchase the items just like you were shopping on your favourite designer’s online store. We operate on a drop basis, carefully selecting each release. In setting The Robe up this way, we hope to lose the stigma around buying pre-loved items.
What is your 12 month plan with the store?
We are looking towards donating a percentage to a different charity every drop release. From climate change, to poverty, and women in need. This is something we are really looking forward to. If we can get women having a conversation about where they are buying their clothes, asking questions, and wanting to make a change, we’ll have had a great year.