Brand History - Rainbird Clothing

Brand History


Stephen Nowak – founder of Rainbird – has been immersed in the Rag Trade from his early years. Both parents; his father a fabrics distributor and mother a fashion boutique owner in Melbourne, instilled in him through their business dealings the same values that Rainbird still operates on today.


Rainbird started trading in the mid 80s, selling widely across the outdoors & adventure industry, with Navy, Black & Olive Green Raincoats being the go-to colours. The first Rainbird Head Office/Warehouse was located in Carlton.

Stephen soon saw the potential for colour, one of the first to pioneer bright coloured Raincoats in Australia! The introduction of Jade Green & Crimson was a turning point for the brand, it took a lot of persuasion at the start to engage retailers in stocking the colourful raincoats, but the consumers loved them and they were soon flying off the shelves!


The late 1980’s brought with it vibrant colour blocking and more variety in jacket styles. One of the new designs in the range was an Aqua coloured jacket, proving to be one of the most popular yet – 30 years on and we’re still producing it! Rainbird gradually kept growing, so a move to North Melbourne ensued, this gave the head office & warehouse teams more space to grow.


The 1990’s introduced further innovation in waterproof and breathable fabrics across the industry, with Rainbird at the forefront of implementing these technologies into our rainwear. Rainbird now also welcomed a Kids range into the family.


The Rainbird business was growing, as was the team. The early 2000’s brought a re-location to another suburb in Melbourne called Kensington. This was also the era where big thigs happened: the iconic Rainbird STOWaway jacket was designed. An industry leading packable jacket that neatly folded into its own bag or even its own pocket!


As an early pioneer in off shore manufacturing Stephen established long lasting relationships with mills and manufacturers who specialised in technical apparel. This formed the quality foundation that the brand is built on today. Stephen and the Melbourne team established a dedicated quality control team based in China to ensure that our high standards are maintained and ensured Rainbird could stay true to our quality ethos.


With the Raincoat industry ever evolving, Stephen and his experienced design team knew they needed to stay ahead of the curve. Drawing upon their design experience and combining this with their technical knowledge and functional foundations a new era of functional weather-proof garments was born. The team designs great products that are relevant for people with busy lifestyles that demand transitional apparel and have comfortable convenience without compromising style – that’s our specialty.


The most recent move saw the Rainbird team move offices to Collingwood in Melbourne. We have some staff members that have been part of the Rainbird journey for more than 25+ years!

2017 also meant Rainbird’s first ever Collaboration collection with two Melbourne based Street Artists; Silk Roy & Kirrily Anderson – to read more about the artists click here and here.