A-Z of Olive Made

By Christina Karras

Olive Gilbert is the smart cookie behind 'Olive Made', a one woman show and self-proclaimed "ya local bag lady" according to her Instagram bio. The 22-year-old spends her days sewing away backpacks, purses and totes in her Melbourne studio, and shares our habit of endless phone scrolling and a love of Instagram. In between her busy schedule preparing party pouches for the upcoming festival season, we caught up with Olive to chat all things bags.

Christina: It seems like these days sewing is a bit of a lost art and talent- especially within young people, how did you get into it?
Olive: There's so much satisfaction in making things with your hands and understanding the process. For me sewing was something mum taught me as kid and I just kept experimenting with. At high school textiles was always a favourite subject and the textiles room became a haven for me in year 12. Knowing how to sew doesn't seem to be a much of a common skill anymore. However, I do think there is a new appreciation emerging for slow fashion and brands (many of which are based in Melbourne) who celebrate handmade ethical fashion practices- and I think as a result it's inspiring people to have a go making clothes themselves!

C: Who or what inspires your designs?
O: Food shopping, markets and traveling!

C: What does an average day look like for you?
O: If it’s a studio day then I’m usually off to a slow start. I’ll grab a Vietnamese iced coffee in Footscray on the way and maybe head to savers for a shop. When I get to my studio I’ll find a good mix or playlist to keep me company while I sew. Studio time is usually a mix of sewing for orders, experimenting with new designs and spending too much time on my phone!!

C: What is the best/worst part about being running your own business?
O: Best part is being able to work to your own timetable and seeing people using your products! Downside I'd say is doing it all solo- it can get a little lonely in my studio sometimes- its always good to have someone to bounce ideas off.

C: Would I be right to say that there seems to be a collective of young female creatives in Melbourne on the rise, supporting each other, in showroom boutiques and the like- would you agree and what is it like to be apart of this scene?
O: Melbourne has such a thriving scene and with craft and handmade on the rise again its an exciting time to be creating. I think there’s always been a community though- social media has just made the network that much more connected. Instagram has given people the opportunity to have a peep into each others creative lives and reach out to people you look up to. In terms of showroom spaces- I’ve just started being stocked at Kinship Workroom in Fitzroy which is a curated shop space for emerging Melbourne designers.  It’s taken the gallery model of artist-run-space and applied it to a fashion framework. Its a really exciting project to be a part of because it offers a physical space for my bags to be showcased and a support network of other makers to learn from!

C: What is your favourite bag related item in your repertoire to create right now?
O: Bright Mesh totes!


C: What would Olive Made be if it was...
A season?

A dish?

A colour?

A movie?
La La Land

An accessory?
A bag!

Get your own Olive Made goodies at olivemade.bigcartel.com or keep up to date on her instagram, @olivemade