30 Nov Katie Harvison and Red Fish Blue Fish
with Katie Harvison from Red Fish Blue Fish at the Original Eumundi Markets – a Long Story Short series
The Original Eumundi Markets is renowned for its “make it bake it sew it grow it” mantra – and Eumundi local Katie Harvison of Red Fish Blue Fish is now celebrating 20 years of “making” and “sewing” her colourful retro towelling garments.
After moving to Eumundi in the late 90’s, Katie figured it was only appropriate to embrace the market culture and come up with something fun to make and sell.
“A friend’s vintage 1960s beach coat proved the inspiration for the first towel shirt, and so it all began!,” Katie says.
From the outset, she was keen to make the garments bright and bold in colour and pattern, but also seriously practical.
The shirts proved great for kids at the beach, for swimming lessons, as a bathrobe; and excellent for grown-ups with a passion for swimming, surfing, fishing, or anything vaguely aquatic.
“Aside from the practicality, there was also a nostalgic appeal,” Katie says.
“Customers who’d grown up in the sixties and seventies remembered the much-loved towelling garments of their youth.
After a couple of years of making just towel shirts (under an earlier business name of The Eumundi Towel Shirt Co), Katie realised the need to expand her range.
First came the three-quarter length towel pants, then mini skirts and short shorts – all made with a drawstring elastic waist for comfort and mileage (children invariably get many years wear from each size).
“The towel pants in particular are loved by many,” says Katie.
“Adored by surfers to put on when they get out of the water but also popular with people keen to wear them on road trips, to festivals or simply for comfy hanging out at home or a Netflix binge!”
“They have bright patterns like board shorts but are comfy like tracky daks – but with a lot more groove,” she says.
There’s nothing remotely mass-produced about Red Fish Blue Fish, with every piece cut designed and handcrafted in Eumundi (about 100m from the markets!)
“Every garment has its own personality and they are truly limited edition,” Katie says.
Over the years, Katie also traded at the fabulous Mindil Beach Markets in Darwin (where she lived for a spell) but her main base has been the Original Eumundi Markets (the biggest and best market in Australia), where you will find her every Wednesday and Saturday.
Katie is passionate about supporting locally designed and made products.
“Living in the creative hub of Eumundi, I’m blessed to be surrounded by an incredible bunch of talented artisans – potters, painters, jewellers, foodies and more,” she says.
“It’s so important to support our arts community and help the makers to keep making!”