Walk into Abi and Joseph and you will find yourself being drawn by an intangible quality that can only come from a perfect synergy between life and style;
Dreamed and crafted by an amazing team who are passionate about about a holistic way of life that plays out in their passion for quality and innovative design and building a likeminded community, this is a brand that moves way beyond the realm of the retail footprint and we have been lucky enough to spend some time with the creative forces behind this dynamic brand, Design Director Bec Cooper and Marketing Manager, Shaan Martyr.
What is your vision for abi and joseph?
Our vision for abi and joseph is to provide women with high quality, stylish, on-trend active clothing that takes them from every day activities to workout, travel, relaxing and back again, inspiring them to lead (and maintain!) an active and balanced lifestyle.
Who is the abi and joseph customer?
The abi and joseph customer is a fashion conscious woman that appreciates classic but on-trend style. She wants to lead an active but balanced lifestyle and appreciates clothing that takes her through the varying activities of her day.
What is the defining factor that makes abi and joseph unique? The point of difference that sets you apart from other lifestyle brands?
abi and joseph is unique as it is truly focused on classic but stylish design with the highest quality materials. We are dispelling the myth that activewear has to be neon and slogan/logo-covered and off-trend within a month. We combine the best natural and technical performance fabrics (from bamboo, cotton and wool to performance supplex and mesh), comfortable and classic stylish design and on-trend colour palettes all under our very subtle abi and joseph branding.
Your space in the Wintergarden shopping centre has a boutique feel to it, is this deliberate?
Very much so! We are not looking to provide a mass market, cookie cutter experience. We have such a breadth and quality in our product from long sleeve Merino Modal Ballet Wraps to high impact sports bras that we want our retail space to reflect this by inviting women to take their time viewing and understanding the breadth of our range and trying on and finding the pieces that will work for them.
Our retail staff spend considerable time getting to know our products and understand the features and style of each one so that they can assist our customer to find the right pieces for them.
Why ‘Brisbane’ for your first store?
Our office and warehouse are located in Brisbane but as we had yet to dip our toe in the retail waters, we felt that Brisbane was the most logical choice so that we can ensure that customers coming to our store have the same level of service that we offer online. So when an opportunity came up we decided to jump on it!
We make sure that each of us has time in store every week – owner, designer, graphic designer, production, warehouse! It’s important to us to be able to have the opportunity to let people know the level of craftsmanship that goes into the design of each piece. In addition, it is important that we are listening to the needs and wants of the market. What better way to get feedback then a one-on-one discussion?
Fashion and lifestyle….. How do you see them coexisting?
We don’t think women’s age-old interest in fashion has changed but their lifestyles have. Fashion is driven by lifestyle and vice versa. Fashion needs to meet the lifestyle needs of women whether it be with hoop petticoats in the 1800’s or performance tights in 2014. As such the co-existence of fashion and activewear has come to fruition as women’s lifestyles have become more active. Woman will continue to be interested in fashion and, as they require it to meet the needs of their lifestyle, we will see more and more functional pieces in fashion.
How would you describe your range and how important is performance and quality to your brand?
It is everything! Being able to provide women with stylish pieces that meet and exceed their expectations with respect to performance and quality is our goal.
Our range is about comfort, style and flexibility.
If you had to choose just one piece that every one of your customers just had to have, what would it be?
Shaan: Yoga Performance Leggings! The premium supplex, no outer-seam and a gorgeous matte black finish (or dark charcoal marl) mean they are a wardrobe essential that can take you from workout, to daily wear to out on the town. I travel overseas frequently and these are my go-to plane attire – super soft and comfy for the long flight, but when I get to my destination, they pair perfectly with a flowy silk top and boots, ballet flats, sandals or heels for every day wear and can also be used for a yoga or pilates class or an outdoor run in cooler weather. So versatile!
Bec: Savannah Full Length Tight. I just love the sexy paneled design of these full length tights, the mesh holds you in and smooths you out. These can be worn to the gym but also I love to wear these out with a cute pair of flats (or heels) and an over sized top.
What are your favourite abi and joseph pieces?
Shaan: My favourite piece at the moment is the Grace Tank. The light-weight merino modal top is soft and free-flowing with a little extra length for coverage. Perfect for a yoga or pilates class but also a walk with Max the Wonder Dog.
Bec: PRINTS! I have a textiles background and I really love to express my style through printed pieces. Everybody loves a good pair of “crazy” pants 😉
Bec, what was the first piece of clothing you ever designed?
The very first piece of clothing I designed and made myself was back in Grade 7 Textiles. It was a pair of tartan short culottes and a matching wide brim hat, the one you needed to fold up. These were all the rage on 90210 lol
But from a very young age I was drawing clothes and cutting it out to dress my (many) paper dolls. I never really like the paper clothes that came with the paper doll in the book. I would always be found drawing or designing something better or different than what was in front of me. I loved and continue to love this challenge of creating something with my own twist to it.
Where do you find your inspiration? You have a knack for predicting trends…do you have a fashionable sixth sense?
I draw my inspirations from many things. One being our abi and joseph customer, I always encourage feedback from our customers! Also my friends and people that I train and work out with (the abi and joseph woman). These girls are always full of energy and are always inspiring me with ideas. I also look through magazines and I follow a lot of international bloggers etc. so that I can keep a look out at overseas street trends and styles. After consistently looking at what women are wearing, loving and getting involved in I tend to have a gut feeling at what might or will be on trend.
What does a healthy lifestyle look like to you?
Shaan: Like many, I thought I would always have my health and took it for granted. A few significant health hiccups over the last few years have taught me how important it is to look after myself. I have to say that I am not quite where I should be but I continue to work on it! My goal is to have a healthy but balanced life so I am all about ensuring that I fit in a vino with the ladies, the odd treat here and there (I have a sweet tooth!) but balancing it out with exercise and good day-to-day healthy food decisions. Everything in moderation!
Bec: For me a healthy life is made up of a balance of work and play. I love what I do for work, I am one of the lucky ones that I don’t need to call it work as I enjoy doing what I do. But it is important to always have a balance of ‘fun’ or ‘day dream’ time to balance out all the seriousness of work life. I tend to go for a run, or get a Yoga class in at least once a week as well as catch up with my girls (best mates) to feel balanced and healthy. I also like to get to the beach and just feel the sand beneath my feet. These allow me to ‘day dream’ and clear my head. Eating well is also important to me as part of a healthy life. I try to eat healthily as much as possible which allows for the “blow outs” and indulgences like chocolate and the cheeky glass (or 2) of wine. Everything in moderation, this is whey they call them indulgences 😉
Can you tell Stylehunter readers about the concept behind “Fit Friends”
Our Fit Friends concept came about by wanting to provide our readers with content from women that, like them, have busy lives but that each have different ways of ensuring they maintain healthy lifestyles. Our Fit Friends are made up of a diverse bunch of Yoga and Pilates instructors, personal trainers, dieticians and even a nurse! Not to mention that we in the office are all Fit Friends – providing recipes and instagram snapshots from our lives. Fit Friends help us to provide tried and tested content to our customers covering everything from recipes (all made and photographed personally) to yoga poses, mini-workouts, pilates exercises and nutrition information.
Your website features your fabulous range, work out videos and delicious recipes – abi and joseph is so much more than a retail brand
The complexity of women’s lives today means that they have less and less time for themselves and, more often than not, their health is the first to suffer even though their health is crucial for them to be able to meet the every day needs of themselves, their career and their family. Everything we do is designed to motivate women to achieve their balance by offering inspiration, suggestions and guidance that allows them to take some of the guess work out of achieving a balanced lifestyle.
What do we have to look forward to from abi and joseph?
The abi and joseph woman can look forward to being different! We will continue to broaden our range with gorgeous colour palettes, different fabrics and design techniques so that women of all shapes and sizes can find the right pieces for them. The abi and joseph woman can also look forward to more limited edition printed tights, tops and bras. Above all, we will continue to design our pieces with the utmost attention to detail, using quality materials that are multi-functional and affordable.
If you could be known for one thing what would it be?
Shaan: A company that prides itself on providing exceptional quality on-trend activewear backed with customer experience that goes beyond great customer service to providing information for our
Bec: Textile design. My energetic all over prints are an expression of my quirky and individual style.
And finally for our international readers ..do you ship abroad?
Yes! We have flat shipping rates for overseas orders – $10 for New Zealand and $25 for other countries. Customers all over the world can have our premium performance and lifestyle pieces at affordable prices.
Abi and Joseph
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