Stab Magazine | Billabong's Child Of The Bush Collection is Flawless
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Billabong’s Child Of The Bush Collection is Flawless

Roots, bush, beautiful boardshorts.

style // Nov 18, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Otis Carey is one of the few paid to surf who’s got a genuine second string to his bow. 

There’s plenty of surfers in shitty bands, producing shitty art (often by design and hey, we’re all for creative outlets, shitty or not), but Otis’s art practice is absolutely significant for a number of reasons. First up, his modern take on the techniques of his Indigenous ancestors is genuinely beautiful. And secondly, because he’s been producing sell out shows for a number of years now, prompting real entities in the art world to yank their chequebooks from their holsters. Unsurprisingly, when his marquee sponsor lets Otis put his brush to a range, it comes out rather well.

stab mag billabong children bush

Otis Carey: artist, surfer, and proud Gumbayangirr man.

The Child of the Bush collection is the second range Otis has collaborated with ‘Bong on, and the thoughtfulness of the whole process is a rarity. These things often seem so rushed out and concept-less, but everything from the meticulously detailed range to the film (narrated by Otis’ uncle) reeks of thought and effort. It’s a fitting tribute from a quintessentially Australian company to the original custodians of their adopted land. As an added touch, a portion of the proceeds from the range will be donated to the Kulai Preschool Aboriginal Corporation, the school in Coffs Harbour of which Otis is an alumni.

stab mag billabong children bush 4

Clean, simple, effective.

As for the range, there’s not a bum note to be found. The button ups are loose and breezy, striped by Otis, but in a wearable, non-garish fashion. The three pack of socks are just perfect, a mix of dot paintings and an old Billy’s font that never should’ve been discarded. The hats are tasteful and practical for keeping melanoma at bay, and like the rest of the range adorned with the emblematic diamond logo that sat on Occy’s beak for some of his most memorable performances. And then there’s the jewel in the range, Otis’s signature DBah trunks featuring just the most wonderful appropriation of the black, yellow and red flag we’ve come across.

Ultimately, hats off to Billabong for backing Otis and allowing him to cross-pollinate his crafts. If we’re being honest, the Child of the Bush range isn’t likely to top Bong’s best sellers list for the year, but that’s not the point. Backing a talented Indigenous artist and surfer is one of the few examples of large companies investing in genuine culture, and whether his trunks fly off the shelves or not (and hey, they’re pretty damned good, so they just might) Australian culture, surfing and otherwise, benefits greatly from having characters like Otis flowing freely within.

stab mag billabong children bush 3

Shop the entire Child of the Bush range here.

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