A diverse group of skateboarders give Pearl some shine

Tobi Stanley started Pearls clothing just before Covid-19 hit, and says it gave her the opportunity to focus on growth. Photo: Josh Sabini
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The pandemic gave Tobi Stanley a chance to focus, without distractions. The result was a boon for her fledgling clothing brand. Josh Sabini reports.

“I want Pearls to be a brand for everyone,” says Tobi Stanley, owner of Pearls clothing.

“I am trying to make something that looks a bit different from everything you’ll see and push some new styles and designs.”

Tobi started Pearls clothing in 2019 as a way for her to combine her two passions – skateboarding and fashion. Her sixth clothing range is out next month.

Tobi studied fashion design for three years and went into the fashion industry, soon realising she “hated” it. 

“The vibe, the people and the whole thing – it wasn’t for me,” she says.

After getting into screen printing, she realised she could make the clothes she wanted without being involved in the fashion scene.

Originally from Perth, Tobi credits the move to Melbourne as a major influence on Pearls. It came through making connections in the industry and “the growing diverse group of skateboarders here”, she says. 

Pearls Clothing is a female-owned and operated skateboarding clothes brand, which gives Tobi and her friends – “who happen to be a lot of females, non-binary and queer people – an opportunity to shine”.

A diverse group of skateboarders give Pearl some shine
Picture by Sheridan Lee.

She wants to create a space that can inspire other non-male skateboarders, as “there aren’t enough different people to look up to” in the male-dominated industry.

“I’m inspired by ’90s skateboarding, books, art … almost anything. Sometimes it’s a child walking down the street with a cool shirt or toy.”

“I am trying to make something that looks a bit different from everything you’ll see that is fun and exciting. No one wants to buy a T-shirt they’ve brought a million times over.”

With the pandemic beginning within the first six months of Pearls starting, Tobi says the pandemic has been “the biggest help”, as she’s been able to help her put all her focus into that, without other distractions such as travel and socialising.

“I don’t think things would’ve moved as fast if the pandemic didn’t happen. Online shopping has definitely increased sales,” Tobi says.

The clothing line is now being sold in a growing number of retailers all over the country. Pearls has found itself having caught global attention with people buying the clothing from the USA, Canada, Japan, England and Sweden.

Tobi is now working on a skateboarding video for Pearls, which will showcase her friends.