Brand History - Rainbird Clothing

Brand History

The Beginning

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

As an early pioneer in off shore manufacturing Stephen began establishing long lasting relationships with mills and manufacturers who specialised in technical apparel. This formed the quality foundation that the brand is still proudly built on today.

Furthermore, to ensure that our high standards were maintained and ensure Rainbird could stay true to our quality ethos, a dedicated quality control team was established based in China to inspect the goods at every stage of the manufacturing process.

The 80’s

Rainbird started trading in the mid 80s, operating out of Carlton in Melbourne and selling widely across the outdoors & adventure industry, with navy, black and olive green raincoats being the go-to colours.

Stephen soon saw the potential for the use of colour and was one of the first to pioneer bright coloured Raincoats in Australia! The introduction of jade green and crimson was a turning point for the brand. At the start, it took a lot of persuasion to engage retailers to stock 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 a wider variety in jacket styles. One of the newest designs in the range was an Aqua coloured jacket, proving to be one of the most popular yet – 35 years on and we’re still producing it! As Rainbird continued to grow a move to North Melbourne gave the head office & warehouse teams the much needed space to expand.

The 90’s

The 90’s saw a kid’s range welcomed into our Rainbird family, further expanding our reach in the market. But this wasn’t all, the last decade of the millennium brought with it further innovation across the industry in waterproof and breathable fabrics, with Rainbird at the forefront of implementing these technologies into our rainwear.

The 00’s

The Rainbird business was growing, as was the team. The early 2000’s brought a re-location to another suburb, 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!

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 a new era of functional weatherproof garments were born.


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

2017 marked the start of Rainbird’s first ever Collaboration collection which launched with Melbourne based street artists Kirrily Anderson and Silk Roy and has continued to grow each year with artists Evie Barrow and George Rose.

Rainbird has grown and changed alot in the last 35 years, but some things remain the same. We believe in quality and performance. We believe in sustainability. We believe that you deserve to be happy, warm and dry – whatever the weather.