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NAME: Gaby and Lou De Mattia
AGE: 27 & 30
PLACE OF BIRTH: Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? Glenbrook, a small town at the foot of the Blue Mountains, backing onto the Blue Mountains National Park. We both moved to Sydney to study at University and ended up running a muck there for most of our young twenties.
HOW WAS THAT? We’re two of eight kids and it was as loud and chaotic as you would expect. Many sibling fights amongst it all, but with 10 in a house what do you expect? Lots of backyard time, sports, cooking, playing, crafts, sewing. We were left to our own devices and as long as we were outside, or looking after younger siblings. We have a huge appreciation for this as we’ve grown up, as now we’re all very close and it’s probably why we can remain impressively calm in stressful situations, can talk to almost anyone and are always looking for ways to bring people together!
WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO THE NT?
Gaby: I took the plunge in May 2018, wanting a change from Sydney, I decided to take a nursing job at RDH. It was a place I’d never been before and had always wanted to explore. I accepted the new job and a few days later arrived in Darwin, not knowing anyone.I ended up moving in with a 50yr old man and his humongous dog. It was a brief stint, he did not live up to his bio.
Lou: I was living on the NSW North Coast in Sawtell at the time and came for a holiday to visit Gaby 3 months after she moved here for Darwin Cup and a Kakadu trip. I ended up getting an interview on the trip and moving two weeks later. I missed my little sis and was totally taken by the Darwin aura.
WHAT DOES THE NORTHERN TERRITORY MEAN TO YOU BOTH?
What a fulfilling, gorgeous, adventurous, chill, fun, spontaneous place to live. What we thought would be a fleeting year or so to top off our late 20s has turned into a place we now get to call home. A place we feel very grounded in, surrounded by friends we’ve
clearly been destined to meet. We feel so lucky to feel so connected to the Darwin community.
WE’VE SEEN A RISE IN RECYCLED FASHION - HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO PRACTICE SUSTAINABLE HABITS IN 2021?
This is extremely important to us, and the driving force behind our business. We’re both deeply concerned by climate change and feel a responsibility knowing what we know, to commit to reducing our carbon emissions, and hopefully educating and encouraging others at the same time.
The fashion industry is the second largest greenhouse gas emitting industry worldwide and yet there is a massive disconnect between purchasing an item and understanding the lifecycle journey of that product, who made it, what it’s made from and the environmental impacts of this, who owns the company and what is going to happen to that item when we no longer deem it ‘fashionable’ or wearable.
Fashion has the power to be a positive way to engage on climate change and sustainability. Sister Buffalo hopes that shopping second-hand and building a long-term relationship with clothing can be the beginning for many more buffaloes as they learn more about the impacts our purchasing decisions have on climate change.
TELL US ABOUT HOW SISTER BUFFALOES WAS BORN.
We were totally taken by the empty space with huge potential on a hungover stroll in Nightcliff last September. Two seconds later we phoned the real estate agent. It was in whipping up our business plan that we realised how badly we wanted this to happen... three weeks later we signed on the dotted line. We wanted to create a space in Darwin that challenges the community to lust after second-hand clothing like they normally would of fast fashion.
As for the name, we’ll just leave it at ‘Not tonight, Mr. Buffalo’! Taking stock of our chosen name, which was intended to beg curiosity, we see ourselves aligning with the buffaloes in many ways. We can be a bit of a pest ;), we grew up in somewhat of a herd, and it grounds us to where we are right now, the Northern Territory.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A FEMALE LED BUSINESS IN THE TROPICS?
Well have you seen our power suits? Starting a small business in Darwin was probably what made Sister Buffalo possible. We’ve been overwhelmed with the support from the community and are really proud to be able to use skills we’ve developed over the years
in our other careers to create a space led by females, which in turn helps empower other women in Darwin to see that it is possible to do what you love. We drew our inspiration from our local surroundings and have been impressed by other young people in Darwin going out on their own giving it a go. Getting to run a business with your sister is an added special treat. Being able to do this together has been truly an unknown dream come true! Can you guess which one of us is the boss?
3 FAVOURITE BOOKS:
Running with Scissors
Not That Kind of Girl
I am Pilgrim
FAVOURITE CAMPING SPOT IN THE NT: Definitely the Jatbula Trail, but also ask us after our June Gove trip!
WHATS NEXT FOR THE SISTER BUFFALOES?
Hollywood, baby. But seriously get us back overseas and to the flea markets to bring home the bacon.
Digging our claws into our creative juices and giving the people what they want. Burning that midnight oil as we work towards designing and creating a debut Sister Buffalo home-sewn collection.