When Melbourne label Otto and Spike decided to make a short film, it was entering new creative territory, but the fun, YouTube friendly result proved a perfect fit for the brand it promotes. Fashion Exposed Online talks to Otto and Spike’s Alasdair MacKinnon about accessories, authenticity and strange goings on down at the Otto and Spike factory…
What was the idea behind the film?
We commissioned “Storming the Castle” as a means to effectively communicate our brand in other markets, where it would be impossible for retailers and consumers to access our brand culture. We believe that the context of our brand is an integral part of the product. The story behind the brand and each style are a large part of what constitutes our unique selling points.
What’s the story?
Directed by Ruby MacKinnon with an original musical score by Julius Miller, “Storming the Castle” captures the heritage, philosophy, character and humanity of Otto and Spike. Shot entirely in our working environment (factory and surrounds) it brings our product to life ‘on the body’. It is a children’s tale about eight girls who discover an open door to a factory and venture in. Believing they are alone – they ransack a castle and stir the ‘scarf monsters’ lurking in the shadows. Their contact with Otto and Spike garments brings the colourful world of the scarf monsters to light. After amusing themselves with the garments they discover they are not alone and flee the factory leaving the ‘scarfies’ to continue their good work.
Otto and Spike is an Australian made artisan product, with all components ethically produced in-house. The garments feature beautiful yarns sourced from growers in Australia and New Zealand and produced with respect for the environment. The brand’s strong identity is the result of a passion for knitting, a desire to operate outside the short cycles of disposability and mass consumption, and the skill and ingenuity of its staff.
Otto and Spike accessories show the results of years of adapting, reusing, salvaging, saving and recycling – qualities that have helped the business to survive for forty years. Their garments reflect a belief in the lasting value of good design.
The story of Otto and Spike also mirrors the regeneration of Brunswick, an inner city suburb of Melbourne, from gritty working class beginnings that symbolised new hope for many European migrants, to the development of a strong aesthetic identity, where industry and diversity are inextricably entwined.