Zebart is an Australian owned fashion label designed for the modern woman.
Debra Heyes, is a textile artist, designer and founder of Zebart. Why Zebart? There were two reasons – firstly, Debra’s fascination for Zebras, each having a unique signature of stripes. Secondly, because Zebra became her treasured pseudonym; acquired almost as she entered the world. “My grandmother mistakenly thought I had been named Zebra!”.
Deb’s passion for fabric began at high school where she specialised in textile art. “Using textiles as a medium allowed me to create paintings in three dimensions.” The intricate details came to life through appliqué, embroidery and the textures of the fabric.
Debra released the first Zebart range in 1990. The main focus was original fabric prints and was first introduced to the trendy markets in Red Hill, Balnarring and later Mornington. The range included bags, bed linen and children’s clothing. Demand grew rapidly and the focus developed more toward clothing design. Although Deb says, “I only came into the clothing business by chance…” it’s clear she had a natural creative flair that she was able to turn into brilliant easy to wear, natural fibre garments that really filled a niche. Deb’s interest in culture, heightened by travels throughout Polynesia and Asia, have provided a strong source of inspiration. The wonderful energy that she has, coupled with empathy for women, whether size 6 or 26, have contributed significantly to the success of the Zebart story.
For years we have operated as an Australian owned company, designing & manufacturing solely in Australia. With the closing of many mills and the difficulty in acquiring fabric in Australia over the last few years, we have begun to source fabric and trims overseas. As a sign of the times, this has led to producing with a small boutique off shore manufacturer, which has enabled us to excel in quality and experiment with new cuts and styles.
We have decided to change our direction and pass Zebart on to the next generation of designers, and keeping within the family, Freya Barrett is the new face of Zebart, now managing and designing, married to our son Aidyn and together they wish keep the business alive and thriving, although we are always going to be a part of Zebart as mentors and founders.
New Company Director
Freya Barrett, had a passion for fabric and design from a young age and after finishing her studies in clothing production and achieving a Diploma of Costume for Performance at Swinburne University of Technology, she began her career in costume making for theatre, which taught her many skills and techniques in design, sewing, and costume construction. This opened up a world of colour and movement which led to working in film and television for productions such as ‘Wentworth’, ‘Winners and Losers’, ‘The Doctor Blake Mysteries’ and newly released”Molly’. Working with high fashion and period clothing broadened her knowledge and skill in dressing people to shape, working with clothing from past eras, and communication with performers and creative people.
Zebart now designs clothing and fabric for a wide range of women of varying age groups, manufactures mostly offshore to ensure competitiveness, and distributes the extensive range to over 300 retail stores across Australia. Zebart looks forward to providing an exciting new range for young women while retaining the founding values of creativity and innovation, individual design, use of natural fibres where possible, sustainability in manufacturing, and value for money.
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