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Hobes Girls

Johanna Howe, Caves Collect

Meet Johanna, our latest #hobesgirl and one half of the creative duo that make up Caves Collect. We stopped by their space in Collingwood’s Schoolhouse Studios to chat about work, the Australian Fashion Industry and Melbourne’s best kept secret.

Describe a typical day in the life of Johanna Howe.
I cycle into the studio from my house, it's about a 40-minute ride, so that's some good exercise to start the day! Our days are filled with designing, meeting with our local makers, sourcing fabrics and emailing our customers. We do pretty regular photo shoots too, so that's always a lot of fun. 

How did you and your business partner Sarah meet? When was the idea for Caves Collect born?
Sarah moved into my share house in Brunswick, Melbourne, whilst I was in my final year of Fashion Design at RMIT. I'd known Sarah loosely for years - we're both from Adelaide originally, and our mums were friends when we were kids. She moved into my house, and we got to know each other a lot better. Sarah has a background in shoe making, she studied in Adelaide, straight out of high school, so she'd been doing it for nearly 10 years! We’d sit on the front porch and talk about what we wanted to do - we both felt very disconnected from the commercial Australian fashion industry and really wanted to do something different. The idea for Caves Collect grew out of those porch discussions. At first, it was more of a creative side project, but then it grew into something we wanted to really throw ourselves into.

What is the inspiration behind your latest collection?
We recently decided that we aren't going to do seasonal collections anymore. As a small business it's hard to stop everything and design a whole collection, and we realised we don't have to work that way. We are creative people and we're constantly having ideas, so now we can constantly design new things. Also, half of our customers are in the Northern Hemisphere, so they're in the opposite season. We want to be able to cater for them too, so disregarding the classic seasonal collections is a good way to be able to do that. We can now design a coat in the middle of the Australian summer!

What has been your favourite Caves Collect item so far?
I'd say all of our pants. I always struggled to find pants which fit me properly, so I'm super happy to have them in my life now!

How would you describe your personal style?
Well I mostly wear Caves Collect now, so I guess that's my personal style! 

Melbourne’s best kept secret?
Coburg! It's the suburb where I live, and I love it. It has the most amazing Middle Eastern Supermarkets, Indian sweet shops and Turkish restaurants. We've actually done a lot of our photo shoots in Coburg and its surrounding suburbs. | @caves_collect

Johanna wears the Boat Hobe in Dove