Introducing . . . Otis Butler

Otis Butler
Otis Butler

Who are you?

Annie Davies

How old are you?

Where were you born and raised and where do you reside now?
Born and raised in Christchurch and currently living in the 03

Did you study? If so what and when did you graduate?
Yup! Studied Fashion and Design at CPIT (now called Ara) in Christchurch

When did you launch your label?
I started it about a year ago and guess it is yet to officially launch so I am going to say 2017 haha

Why did you decide to launch a clothing label?
To be honest I didn’t really know what else to do! I had finished studying and took a few months off to do an internship at Georgia Alice and do all the things I wanted to do like learn to make shoes, then got back home and it’s all I wanted to do and could think about, I told my parents I was job hunting but I was planning my own label haha. Fortunately I had a super supportive family and it was kinda a now or never type situation.

Why did you decide to create androgynous and trans-seasonal clothing?
I dabbled in it when I was studying, but you had a lot more freedom then so it was quite a big move to commit to it as a business idea. Also there isn’t too many other people in NZ doing it so I knew I wouldn’t be trying to compete with 500 other labels - I think it’s something that is becoming more recognised and definitely didn’t want it to be anything close to fast fashion, so trans-seasonal made sense. Being androgynous I think it opens it up for people to make it their own - you can still make something androgynous look feminine or masculine - its all about how you wear it.

What are benefits/draw-backs of creating trans-seasonal clothing for both men and woman?
I guess the risk is that people always want new stuff and still stick to a summer/winter wardrobe ideal, so you’re kind of asking people to change the way they think. Especially being gender-neutral as well, all of a sudden you are asking people to change the way they think about clothes - I like the idea that you can wear the same pieces summer and winter and just change up the other layers around it. I guess I still wear the same things in summer as I do in Winter - just less of it!

What's the inspiration behind the label?
Apart from being gender neutral and trans-seasonal it’s based around the idea of workwear and the idea of having a uniform (without actually having one) clothes have the ability to make you feel a certain way and I think that’s rad - the pieces are minimal but functional and stick to a pretty neutral/monochromatic colour palette so it’s nothing too offensive. I don’t think clothes need to be labelled as ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s’ I think if you like it you should wear it. I believe in buying good pieces that you can wear until they are falling apart and trying to get people away from buying $5 t-shirts just because they’re cheap.

What kind of people do you envisage wearing your clothes?
Anyone! I guess I kinda picture a person off to work and they have teamed one or two Otis Butler pieces up with other pieces in their wardrobe - I love the idea of wearing something from the op-shop teamed with an Otis Butler piece and layering it up.  I suppose I don’t have a specific person in mind but I think anyone who appreciates something made in NZ from lush fabric will enjoy it! For me my wardrobe consists of mainly white and black and basically just a variation of the same thing - and mostly always with Doc's so that's probably been my main guide haha.

What styles do you create, using what fabrics?
The first collection is covering all the standard pieces like t-shirts, pants, shirts, hoodies but there are also a couple of things like bibs that I have added to make it signature Otis Butler and add a bit more interest - I think as time goes on I’ll establish a sort of signature look and maybe branch out, but for now its keeping it simple but making sure I do it well. Currently, I only use natural fibres but that’s just personal preference - I love cotton and use some wool and silk.

Do you create seasonal collections?
Not necessarily seasonal, but I suppose I do include a few more pieces that are relevant to the upcoming season in each collection - I try and offer a range but I suppose I wouldn’t do a wool coat if summer was coming up - I keep it in mind but I’m definitely not in sync with other labels who drop 4 times a year - maybe one day!

Where can people buy Otis Butler?
Otis Butler will hopefully launch very soon online! And hopefully eventually some retailers, but the plan is to start small and let it grow, gotta try suss this industry out first before I try do too many things at once - it’s only me at moment so I got a bit more hustlin’ to do yet.

What's the meaning behind the name Otis Butler?
It actually started off as something else but I didn’t want to use my name so about 6 months in I changed it - my mum’s maiden name is Butler and I’ve always really liked it but it wasn’t enough to use by itself so I decided to add Otis to it - I didn’t want to use my name so had to come up with something that encompassed what the label was about so Otis Butler was born… eventually.


Actually, very hip. If we'd had Otis design instead of Otis porridge and Otis lifts, we would now have inspo and be living in the 03.