Ofabz headed to Austin Fashion Week

Here at Pattern, we always get excited to see the recognition of Indiana fashion on a more national scale. That’s why when OFabz announced they were heading to Austin Fashion Week on April 30, we jumped on the opportunity to see what their company was all about. The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based business specializes in retro swimwear and is run by the Fabian family. Ashely Minyard caught up with Olivia Fabian, the daughter of the mother-daughter duo, as she filled us in on the fashion show excitement.

As I walked into Starbucks for our interview, Olivia was immediately recognizable. Sporting bright red lipstick and a cheetah print fur coat (which you can see in a few of their photo shoots!), she was clearly a pro when it came to all things retro.

“I was afraid when I told you how to find me you’d think I was crazy,” Olivia joked, referring to our email exchanges. “Not many people wear cheetah print coats!”

Olivia is only half of the OFabz business. She explained that her mother, Cheryl Fabian, is the creative drive for the company while she handles most of the business side. However, both of their tastes integrate fully into the products.

“I have a love for all things retro and Cheryl has a love for all things polka dot, mixing prints, and the unexpected,” says Olivia.

The two put those aspects together to come up with retro swimwear in updated fabrics and fit for the modern body type and style.

For Austin Fashion Week, they’re unveiling their new suits for 2014 along with a few for 2015. The show is primarily spotlighting their women’s swimwear line, but also has a few children’s suits and complementary palazzo pants that work well as cover-ups.

The inspiration for all OFabz products stems back to retro trends, but they also have an underlying theme of inclusion and girl power. This empowerment is stressed through the branding, blog posts and social media of OFabz.

“You can still be modest and cover it up and not look matronly. You don’t have to wear a tankini to be cute in a swimsuit,” says Olivia.

And the swimsuits are certainly not matronly. The cut and fit of the suits accentuates the curves of the body in a flattering manner, and the prints are fun and carefree. Olivia gave me a sneak peek of the line, showing a flirty Tahitian print, a bright suit with sporty influences, and a hand drawn floral printed suit with fruit punch ruffles that, “Mary Tyler Moore and Betty Draper would have fought over.” (And I would certainly be fighting right along with them).

These swimsuits, along with others, will be strutted down the Austin Fashion Week runways in the coming weeks. It’s the first big runway show for OFabz and definitely a step into the right direction for their business. The company originally started by creating figure skating costumes, but transitioned to the swimsuit business in 2011. In 2013 they launched a wholesale campaign, with accounts like Modcloth, Unique Vintage and boutiques sprinkled across the US along with Australia, Germany and the UK.

“2013 was a whirlwind of a year for us and we learned a lot,” says Olivia. “I think the coolest thing about this fashion show is that we don’t know what we’ll learn.”

OFabz plans to meet with boutiques in the Austin area, hoping to spread the business further and trade industry knowledge. They are one of two swimwear lines walking the runways and will be in the company of designers of varying experience levels — from startups to famous Project Runway winners. The appearance in Austin will give OFabz a chance to appeal to warmer climates, extending further out of the Midwest and using Austin Fashion Week as a stepping-stone towards Miami.

Austin Fashion Week is handling most of the basic production of the show, taking care of models, hair, makeup and invitations for the show. This makes it easy for OFabz to get their start on runway. They are only responsible for the clothing, accessories and props. With plans to have retro surf-vibey music and covers by French speaking women, the show will be a throwback that aligns with their aesthetic. Other than retro, the fashion show won’t have much of a theme.

“We want women to be able to look at the suits and say, ‘I could wear that’ — not, ‘that’s a costume’,” explains Olivia.

 For the most part, OFabz is making a steady rise upward in the industry. They keep true to their retro, girl power style and Indiana roots, yet go where their business takes them.

“Our motto is: Keep your mind open. You can be inspired by anything!”

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