Five Pots of Paint
A HISTORY OF ROJO OUTERWEAR
Our proud heritage, as told by founder, Jo Buckle
“With a love for colour and fabric design, particularly in printed yardages and one-off hand painted artworks, Roe Clapham and I embarked on a quest to combine our passions for snow and mountain adventures and our love of our beach culture. At the time, snow and surf were heavily dominated by males within retail, sport and industry. However, in 1987, at 22 and 23 years of age, we never saw this as a reason not to start our own label – rather, we saw it as an opportunity.
Our girl gangs shared our passions. Many of our mates were skiers and snowboarders. At the time, we wore gear that related to our lifestyles. In the summer, a men's surf tee over a colourful, handmade Bali cotton bikini bought on the beach at Uluwatu was our go to, and in the winter, we wanted a more original and unique look on the snow that incorporated our degrees in textile design with a cool and colourful surf-wear edge for women. It was obvious that there was a gap in the market for female-designed snow and surf-inspired clothing and accessories. Our mantra became ROJO ... born in the mountains, lives by the ocean.
With 50 bucks each, we purchased three yards of fabric and a few buckets of paint. We needed to turn that $100 investment into a cash positive operation quickly. The aim was to keep it simple. We designed a product that did not need huge cash investments or expensive machinery. At the get-go, it was hand-painted headbands lined with fleece for warmth with an adjustable velcro tab for all head sizes; this was our first stepping-stone. We painted and sewed fabric on the kitchen table that was bright and unique, and we were able to do all production ourselves, utilizing a family-owned singer sewing machine. It offered the wearer a one-off, unique piece of headwear – 'Art For Ya Head' as we called it.
We naively would change into clean clothes, usually with paint all over our hands and in hair, and trot off to sell our wares to various ski shops. Roe had the gift of the gab and I think those first kind customers felt sorry for us and did not know how to say no. 'Ok, let's try a dozen and see how they go.' We were quickly snapped up by a distributor who recognized some potential in our naivety and who saw a growing grass roots following through ski racers and the like. The rest is history.”
Since those early days, ROJO Outerwear has grown from a simple passion for hand-crafted creativity and the alpine lifestyle into an established brand with a cohesive product category offering. All these years later, we are just as passionate and the Rojo team, designers and artists live the same lifestyle as we did when we started out.
ROJO Outerwear is designed by women for women – that has never changed. Following our original mantra, "born in the mountains, lives by the ocean," all styles are lovingly created and considered down to the finest detail to keep you warm, dry and comfortable both on and off the mountain, from first chair to last call.
We specialize in custom, handcrafted artwork, designing our prints in-house and collaborating with like-minded female artists from around the world.
Throughout the line, we focus on using beautifully engineered fabrics and technical features that are developed into classic, flattering fits. Some things never change.
We look forward to sharing our journey with you and we would like to thank you for supporting our Australian family-owned business and for allowing us to follow our passions since 1987, which as always has been
– The community at Rojo