Monday, August 29, 2011

Brand watch: Tommy Rocket & Two Belles

Australian brand Tommy Rocket (boys) and Two Belles (girls) is one of my favorite Australian clothing labels for both girls and boys.

They have been around for a few years and I love how they collaborate with local, freelancing artists in each collection. A while back KidStyleFile had a meet and greet with the two creators, and I thought I would share it here.

Meet & Greet by Angela (
Today I’d like you to meet Brooke Murphy, the design talent behind ultra cool kidswear labels Tommy Rocket, and Two Belles. Brooke and her partner Ben live on the coast of Victoria, with their two children Belle, 9, and Tom, 3 years (the namesakes of the labels), where they enjoy some of the best surf in the country.

Tell us a little about your background.

We live on the coast in Jan Juc, near Bells beach, Victoria. It’s a small community where the kids walk to school, hang over each others fences, and ride their bikes up and down the street. It is the way we grew up, and it is fantastic giving the same freedom to our own kids.

I have worked in the fashion industry for 15 years – I have a technical background in design and garment construction – and Ben, my partner, has worked in the industry for 25 years.

Ben now runs the ladies retail and wholesale operation of our women’s wear label “Ellis and Dewey” – we have 5 ladies stores – and I work in the product side of the business, developing the ladies and children’s ranges that are sold to over 200 independent boutiques nation wide.

Belle (our 9 year old daughter) is a Tomboy who prefers to wear the Tommy Rocket black tanks than any of the Two Belles product, and will run a mile if I ask her to try on a dress.

Tom (our 3 year old son) refuses to take off any of our tees if it has an animal, dinosaur or robot on it, and often carries a favourite under his arm as company for the day.

I am never short of models, and the great thing about kids is how honest they are……we know when we are on to a winner if the neighbourhood kids won’t take something off, and they soon tell us when they don’t like something too!

How did your labels Tommy Rocket and Two Belles came about?

Tommy Rocket and Two Belles came about 3 and a half years ago out of our desire to offer great childrenswear for 3-7 year olds. We teamed up with 2 other business partners to form our own company, and collectively we have over 60 years of combined experience in the wholesale clothing industry.

We wanted to offer children’s street/fashion wear and take advantage of the graphic artists in our area whose careers had otherwise been established in adult wear.

There is an enormous amount of talent that does not get used in the children’s market. We use those artists, and now have a following each season of consumers who want the next Tommy Rocket printed tee.

Tell us about the design process: how you work, and what influences you

We start by looking at what has been well received the previous season. We value the stores that sell our products, and the end consumers, and we are often swayed by what they want to see in the range.

I also travel throughout the year to Asia and the States, where we pick up samples and new ideas of what is coming through for the next season.

The freelance graphic artists that do our graphic t-shirt prints have a big impact on the overall look of the range. We workshop the whole look and feel of the range.

We really believe this gives us an edge – our boys and girls printed tees are what we are known for.

Why did you choose to develop two different labels rather than girls and boys under one label?

Boys and girls are so different, so why do boys and girls clothing under the same label? Tommy Rocket is solely aimed and focused on the Tommy Rocket boy and Two Belles on our girls, they do not cross over, and when we develop the ranges together we focus on each one individually, ensuring individual and strong collections.

Who are your favourite baby and kids designers?

I don’t look at other childrens ranges necessarily; it is easier to put together more original focused ranges when you are not swayed by what other people are doing.

The brands I do look at for inspiration is cool adult streetwear, the labels that do great denim, fantastic graphic printed tees with stripe combos you don’t see everywhere.

When I look at adults streetwear, it is easy to see what we should offer in kids wear.

If you could see your clothing on any child in the world who would it be?

All kids are special; they don’t have to be born into celebrity royalty to have their own great style.

I recently saw a 3 year old boy walking down the street with his Mum. He had on the Tommy Rocket low slung check shorts with our fitted muscle tank, he had a bandana tied around his arm, and he was checking himself out in the refection as he walked past a store. He had a real bop in his step and was loving life.

I have no idea who he was, but it made my day. These are the kids I love seeing in our product.

Most of our printed tees have a vintage feel, and there is usually a great story behind the prints. Our graphic artists aim to develop prints that have a nostalgic feeling for the parents too.

We are often reminded about our own childhoods and great memories we have when we view the ranges before they hit the stores.

What’s coming up for Tommy Rocket & Two Belles?

More great slim line shorts and denim…………our stripe tees with awesome graphic prints, bright colours, great dresses and tops in bold prints.

We always remind ourselves what kids want to wear……in boyswear it is simple – shorts tanks and tees in great colours with cool prints. In girls, the same deal, with a few great dresses for those special occasions.

Complete this statement: “Tommy Rocket & Two Belles kids are…

…individuals, expressing themselves through their warpaint….the effortlessly cool teenagers of the future….the budding film makers, snowboarders, architects, florists, skateboarders, t-shirt designers and chefs of the next generation!”

Tommy Rocket & Two Belles are available here:
Buckets&Spades, Where Did you Get That, Whimsy Child, 5LittleMonkeys

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