With humble beginnings as a a t-shirt pressing business in the corner of a lounge room, Sunday Soldiers has spread its wings far beyond its original birthplace of a coastal town in Western Australia. The brand is now popping up in various other corners of the globe and has just released a new collection ‘Milkbar ’63’.
“Milkbar ’63 seeks to steer away from those corporate logo surf shirts your uncle is still wearing to family gatherings. Instead it puts surf and skate fashion back on the map by creating designs that inspire stoke and reflect our shared passions be it with feet planted on a board or in the beach sand.” Sunday Soldiers
We had a chat to Sunday Soldiers Design Director Elise Doohan to find out more about this great Aussie label and what they have in store.
How did your own childhood effect your inspiration for this brand?
I was lucky enough to grow up with two siblings. The most stand out memory of my childhood is running! We ran everywhere, never walked. Kids are always in such a rush to get to places, but in a different sense to adults. When we developed Sunday Soldiers, we said right from the beginning that we wanted to create a brand that didn’t restrict childhood. We want them to be wearing Sunday Soldiers when they scrape their knees, when they spontaneously jump into puddles and when they nail that first kick flip! Our clothes are firstly designed to reflect the Sunday Soldiers aesthetic of good vibes, and then secondly, made to be comfortable and flexible enough to embrace the chaos of childhood. Both of these factors are non-negotiable for us.
What do you love most about life on the West Coast?
We live in a town called Mandurah, around an hour out of the Perth metropolitan area. It’s technically a city in terms of population, but it’s kept that country town mentality. Wherever we go, there’s people waving from cars, our kids see their friends from school and we end up chatting to someone we didn’t intend to run into. It’s the best, we always say that it feels like we’re on holidays everyday! A lot of people joke and say WA stands for ‘Wait Awhile’ because we’re so far behind the rest of Australia! But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Things definitely move a bit slower over here, but we love it.
What do you look for when you’re shopping for your own children’s clothes?
I try to buy with the theory of ‘buy once, buy good’. When our eldest was born, we definitely weren’t as informed about clothing choices and he burned through so many cheap clothes that never would have made it as hand-me-downs to his brother. In our family, we have 4 boy cousins all born within 3 years of each other. We now tend to purchase clothes from Australian designers, via one of their Australian retailers (supporting two businesses along the way instead of one). I’m happy to spend more knowing that it will be passed down through my boys, and then their cousins, and the clothes are still in mint condition. Reducing our environmental imprint is really important and this is just another way of contributing to the preservation of our planet.
How important are local and ethical considerations to you? Are your clothes made locally?
When we first started Sunday Soldiers, we made a conscious choice to support local as much as possible. By the time our products reach our customers hands, their purchase has supported 5 Australian families. We visit our international factories twice a year and are very involved in support their local communities. Our beautiful seamstresses are all paid above award wages and we’re working on rolling out some more community benefits for the families of our factories.
How do you wish to develop this brand? Where do you see Sunday Soldiers in 5 years?
We have big plans for Sunday Soldiers! When people think of kids, childhood adventures & surf brands – we want them to think Sunday Soldiers. The surf brands seem to have dropped off the radar since the 2000’s. We’re here to bring that back, along with our own flavour.