Melbourne's Gemma Baxter had started a career in architecture, when as a bike commuter, she realised the importance of clothing that was comfortable, durable and breathable, that looked good for work as well as for dinner and drinks after.
Gemma had a vision and quit her job in architecture (!) to work on this idea that she felt so passionately about. Not only the idea of having the right things to wear but to encourage bike commuting as a positive way of living.
You can't be distracted by your phone or get all wound up about being stuck in traffic. Aside the physical and mental benefits there is the obvious reduction of carbon emissions.
Over the last two years, Gemma has been exploring materials and designs that incorporate sustainable practice with innovation.
How do you come up with something that falls under the banner of high-vis while making it fashionable, comfortable and versatile?
The journey has been hard and frustrating. Firstly the learning then the negotiation with fabric suppliers and factories. For anyone who have ever had a label before...you know the pain! Keeping things ethical is another mountain to climb but Gemma achieved her goal even though the pieces came out priced a bit more than she expected.
I found that a common revelation when working with fashion students. I think if everyone in the world had the opportunity to go through this process they would appreciate how their clothes are made a whole lot more.
Gemma's dream has culminated in the launch this week of To Barwyn and Back.
Barwyn was Gemma's grandparents home in Kilkivan, Queensland. Her Grandpa Barney built it in 1964 for his wife Elwyn - cute! In time, one of her uncles built a house on the hill adjacent and the space in between these two home contained the type of childhood adventures that made for loads of fun and lasting memories.
Gemma's debut collection features garments that are reflective, water-repellant, quick dry, antimicrobial and insulated.
Pieces are made in limited runs locally by award compliant manufacturers and To Barwyn and Back has achieved accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia.
To Barwyn and Back launched at Grub Food Van in Fitzroy last night with a happy mixture of fashion and bike enthusiasts.
Read more about Gemma's brand and buy her debut collection here.