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Every day is like a scene out of a Western flick at Ginn — the Sydney-based label that caters for the cowboy/girl/person inside us all. Their first drop, a two-tone set featuring prominent belt straps as the stars of the show, has been a hit in the city's Inner West thanks to its striking colourways and sleek construction, which make the garments practical enough to be in regular rotation but daring enough to feature in your next Instagram post.
The more closely you look at Ginn's signature Holster Top and Western Pant, the more detail catches your eye, including a slick buckle closure at the back of the halter neck and a scalloped yoke on the mid-rise pants. As it turns out, there was no time better than the present to lean into the aesthetic, with cowboy boots being heralded as one of the big shoe styles of 2023 and their matching hats continuing to take over parties everywhere. But as founder Aislinn Walker shares with Refinery29 Australia, her designs are intentionally crafted to exist beyond the trend cycle.
"Western styles have really made a comeback recently with the rise of vintage styles, but I wanted to go a step further and design a modern twist on two timeless pieces; these being suit pants and a halter top," she says. "Ginn isn’t necessarily going to fit into one aesthetic. Personally, as a designer, my fashion changes so much from day to day, and I want Ginn to be a reflection of what’s inspiring me at any given time."
Ginn first came to R29's attention as an under-the-radar fashion brand that's on the rise, and the brand has since continued to grow ever since. The label was born out of the first COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, after Walker was stood down from her hospitality position, and turned towards Depop to part ways with her preloved wardrobe items.
The 26-year-old soon began reworking and repurposing vintage finds, but found that while rewarding, this was difficult to sustain as a business model because all the pieces she was creating were one of a kind. "Once [a piece] had sold, it would be impossible to make another," she says. "This is when I had the idea to start creating my own designs, which is something I've always dreamed about."
Walker describes Ginn as being for bold individuals who are interested in making a conscious choice as a consumer, and who crave curated, intentional and innovative designs you won't find anywhere else. It's this creativity and personal touch that makes Ginn stand out, even elevating the humble tank top in a new release this month in dedication to her brother, Con.
"He tends to be a bit of a free soul, which always motivates the people around him with his infectious nature and love for life," shares Walker. "When he showed me his latest tattoo, I just knew I had to incorporate it into a design. The text is embroidered in his handwriting, making the piece even more sentimental to me."
"The hardest learning curve has been how to navigate the fashion industry as a small fish in a big pond."
Keeping tightlipped on the next collection, Walker reveals that we can expect timeless indigo denim to be front and centre in her unreleased designs. It's great to hear that a part of Walker and her story will still be in every piece, down to all the clothes being made locally. Ginn continues to be a one-woman show, with its founder taking all the photographs, packing and sending orders, overseeing manufacturing, creating the website and handling customer service solo.
"As much as I lean on family and friends for support and advice, Ginn is currently operated by a single individual," confesses Walker. "I think a lot of people think that small brands have a whole team working behind them, but most of the time, they don't have the resources!"
Walker shares that she spent the last two-plus years building out contacts in the fashion industry. She says that despite jumping into the deep end, she's finally found her feet, having built a community network around her. "I'm so lucky to have found people who keep the 'repurposed' ethos alive," she says. "I work with incredible small businesses like myself, including talented makers and a local deadstock fabric wholesaler."
But her David and Goliath venture continues to pay off. Walker says that there have been a few pinch-me moments for Ginn so far, including influencer posts featuring her work, several press releases and even international sales. Still, the achievement she's proudest of is always sticking to her ethos, no matter the cost.
"As much as the words 'sustainable' and 'ethical' are thrown around these days, at Ginn, I pride myself on following through and consciously putting them at the forefront of every decision I make," says Walker.
"The hardest learning curve has been how to navigate the fashion industry as a small fish in a big pond," she continues. "Competing for limited resources within Sydney against bigger brands has forced me to adapt and pivot. I’ve learnt how to get things done and not take no for an answer."