I spend a lot of time thinking about the 1960s — the modern furniture and architecture were at their zenith, the fashion was close to perfection and some of the world’s best music was being written and recorded — laying the foundation for awesome music for decades to come. And underneath the pop culture veneer, fueling it, were emerging ideas that would challenge social and cultural norms for all time. Bob Dylan said, “People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around — the music and the ideas.”
So, the time period probably means a lot of different things to different people. And yet, despite any personal connotations, there’s something amazing about the iconic style of the 60’s that transcends all of this. It’s just cool. Period. We’re not sure why, and we’re really not that interested in finding the answer. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to matter, because the era hangs with us and comes back each season, re-imaginted and re-invented and we can’t really get enough of it.
So, like I said, I spend a lot of time thinking about the 1960s, so when the brief for OFabz Swimwear landed on my desk (no pun intended), I was elated. A local entrepreneur, Olivia Fabian, was creating a swimwear line inspired by vintage 60’s style. She needed a logo that portrayed the vibe of her suits — which is, according to Ofabz.com, ‘a bit on the retro side, hinting at that time in American history when sex was still cute and bomb shelters were en vogue.’ This would be a fun logo to design.
Olivia’s story is pretty cool. Did you know she’s an accomplished ice skater? Curiously, her swimwear line began in an ice skating rink when she was 18 months old: “my mother put me on ice skates. She made every costume I wore as a national competitor and professional figure skater. And not just my costumes. We started selling skating apparel at local competitions and went on to sell costumes to competitive skaters in Japan, Australia, Spain, the UK, and beyond.”
One day, she took her extra pieces of Lycra and applied her talents to making bathing suits. Not only was she after a retro style, she wanted to create swimwear that was usable for more than wading in the pool and getting a tan. She wanted to make a bikini for girls who want to wakeboard and water ski while looking adorable at the same time. Along those lines, she also created the “whim suit,” a mesh one piece garment, that serves as a protective layer over a swimsuit. Pretty neat, really. Cool stuff, all around. We love the throwback quirkiness of her suits. When we first met Olivia, she said “look, you always have fun in a bathing suit, right?” (Apparently, even when you’re cutting the grass, see photo above.) And so, as we set out to design a fun, retro, active logo with matching hang tags for her line.
Inspired by old soda labels and 60’s jazz record covers, the OFabz logo is built from custom letterforms, augmented by an iconic starburst. The design is a little rough around the edges — imperfect even. And the printing is on nice toothy paper and everything has a slightly dusty, yellow hue. You see, we wanted it to feel a little dusty, a little faded. Like something you’d find in a decades-old fashion magazine or pattern book in your grandmother’s basement. The hang tags were die cut into a geometric shape to carry home the geometry-obsessed styles of the time.
Olivia’s busy working on her summer line of suits, and building a new website and online store to sell her merchandise, so keep your eye on OFabz.com for updates. Want to see her suits sooner? As part of Downtown Fort Wayne’s Last Saturdays series, she’s hosting a pop up shop at Lotus Gallery, 1301 Lafayette St., on June 30th. Word has it she’ll be unveiling her new men’s swimsuit, too, which she says will have a nice 60’s mens’ cut. I was intrigued, so I asked her to describe the shorts.
She said, “they’ll be a bit shorter and more slim fitting than the big, baggy, gross surfer shorts that you see everywhere. Think James Bond.”
“Like, Sean Connery in Thunderball?” I responded.
I’m pretty sure I can pull off that look.