Launching a new fashion brand a week before getting married would be enough to turn some people around.
But Chantal Hoare wasn’t going to let one of life’s major events disrupt years of planning to introduce her handmade caftans to the world.
“It wasn’t really such a good idea,” she admits planning her wedding at the same time as the launch of Textili Kaftans.
Luckily, the Barwon Heads woman always envisioned her brand of caftans as a small-scale operation that would fit comfortably into her young family’s life.
All her foresight and experience in the fashion industry undoubtedly helped her pass the first test.
Chantal’s brightly colored and ethically made kaftans were quickly picked up by local store Kin+Ko last November.
Almost a year later, she has just launched her second Textili Kaftan range, with new colors and shapes that can easily adapt from the beach to dinner.
The style is an easy fit with the laid-back beach vibe of Barwon Heads. Chantal says she’s had requests before to branch out into pants and jumpsuits, but is sticking to her original concept for now.
“I just want it to be really simple,” she says.
“I don’t want to have a warehouse and have hundreds of things and orders for days. I just wanted to keep it really manageable so it was still around the kaftans.
“There are different shapes, but it’s always something very easy to put on. You can wear it to the beach, I wear it to school and then I wear it to dinner.
“It’s just fewer clothes, more mindful shopping, not having to have loads of clothes, just a few that you wear for different things.”
That said, the new range tests its minimalist wardrobe philosophy.
“I try not to have one of them all, I don’t need that many, but I’m watching for new ones,” she says.
For Chantal, the caftan concept was born out of her love of comfortable clothing.
As a child, she lived for a time in Pakistan and adopted the country’s national dress, the shalwar kameez, which combines trousers with a long, loose-fitting top.
“I feel like I loved this whole look when I was 10,” Chantal says.
But it was on a trip through Mexico several years ago with his partner and two young children Luca and Olive, now aged nine and six, whom she had as inspiration for Textili Kaftans.
“I loved all the colors and the loose, comfy vibe, so I started getting samples and finding supplies with the goal that when Olive started school this year, I could really go there. spend time,” she says. .
“So I’ve been doing it quietly on the side for probably two or three years, then I launched it at the end of last year.”
Having spent most of her life working for others in the fashion industry, Chantal loves the creative freedom to pursue her own path.
“It’s nice not to have to check in with someone and have to say, ‘Can you approve of this color?’ “, she says. “I can just do it myself at my own pace.”
Chantal started her career with a wholesaler in Melbourne that serviced many top brands before taking up a position with Cotton On when she moved to Barwon Heads in 2010.
It was when she was pregnant with Olive that she realized her heart was no longer in the daily 9 to 5 grind.
Instead, she chose consulting work for Geelong Business Project 10 and quickly found others looking for her product development and production skills.
“A lot of them were mothers and I was like, ‘I want to do this, I want to do my own thing,'” she says.
All of the kaftans, which are a blend of linen and rayon, are handmade in Bali, where her suppliers aren’t afraid to let her know if they don’t like a color.
Chantal is not one to be influenced by seasonal trends. She is conscious of creating timeless designs and hues, so the arrival of her new range doesn’t mean the quirky kaftans will become obsolete.
For her, the real joy of her designs – aside from their convenient pockets – is that people can wear them however they want.
“I don’t wear it with a belt because I like it loose, but I know a lot of people don’t like that look. Some people like a little structure or a tweak here or there so you can do whatever you want,” she says.
“We have short ones but I know a lot of people don’t like their legs so there are long ones. Feedback from the first range was that the sleeves were quite short so I made longer sleeves for more coverage.
“It’s sort of evolved but just contained.”
Textili also has a range for children, in which Olive lives. But unlike her mother, the fashion-conscious six-year-old insists her kaftans should be belted.
It may be the ultimate form of flattery that the young girl is already considering doing kaftans for a living, unless she follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes a Mason.
While kaftans tend to be seasonal in Victoria, sunseeker Chantal feels lucky to have found a store in Airlie Beach where there is year-round demand for her products.
But she’s clearly in no rush to expand the business, which currently relies on the side of her husband’s dressing room for product storage.
“I would be happy with five stores in Australia if they were the perfect store,” she says.
“If you’re going to pay for something, you want to know it’s unique.”
Follow @textilikaftans on Instagram or shop online at textili.com.au