Denim jackets with a calming edge, Emily.

“I’ve had a lifetime battle with anxiety but it was really exacerbated with the onset of chronic pain, due to a series of severe back injuries 18 months ago. I realised the only way I could gain control over my body was to learn how to ease my anxiety. One thing that could always calm me down was the presence of my housemate’s cats. They released an undeniable calm due to their soft touch and distraction. I wish I could take a cat with me wherever I go but because I can’t, that’s why I’m launching a classic denim jacket with a wellness edge – fashion with an ‘edgy’ look but a calming effect.” We hear from Geelong designer/artist Emily Rastas. “My dream is to see people wearing my jackets and benefiting from them.


“My jackets work by harnessing our sense of touch to help relieve nervous energy, anxiety and stress. I’m leveraging a Kickstarter campaign to drive my world-first designs into production.

“My denim jackets are like a wearable stress ball and security blanket. Each jacket has six different tactile elements to play with that can help ease your inner tensions.

“I want the jacket to help wearers feel more secure and confident. To be a security blanket for when you are feeling insecure so people can distract themselves in a positive way.

“Our clothing engages one of the most powerful senses, touch, as a calming stimulus. Hidden between the outer layer and a soft lining, the tactile elements include faux fur in the pockets – it’s like being able to stroke your cat – spinning buttons and a secret patchwork maze.

“Emipeli, the name, comes from Emi taken from my name (Emily) Peli a noun for the word ‘play’ in Finnish (I’m half Australian/Finnish)”

Emily’s business, Emipeli Design, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to move the unisex jackets, available for all ages, into production. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects that does not charge pledgers unless the project reaches its funding goal.

Emily’s target for Stage 1 of her project is $30,000. After that, as each $10,000 is raised, Emily will release another design. She has eight designs ready to go. “If you pledge $150 or more, it will secure you a pre-order of the first run of manufacturing. I can’t wait to get my idea out in to the world and see people wearing my designs. I’ve added a funky sticker option, as a pledge reward, for those who’d like to contribute a small amount. Please share with your friends, family and anyone who could benefit from these designs.

“I always knew I wanted to design, but I also knew that I wanted to help people – I’m able to combine both passions with this clothing line and it’s my dream to get it out there.”

Emily is also taking orders for reusable cotton masks. For more information on Emily, Emipeli Design jackets and the Kicktarter campaign, please contact 0458 538 305 or visit


Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: supplied