Another turn on the local catwalk
I was always smug in the belief that when I became a mother-of-the-bride I’d have the perfect excuse to buy a new Easton Pearson outfit which would make me look and feel like a “glam”, mature-age, trendy woman who looks too young to be such a thing.
My envious, young and svelte daughter’s friends would flock around exclaiming “cool!”.
And I would dispel all the myths that the MOB (mother-of-the-bride) always wears a frumpy, grey two-piece suit with a big brooch on the lapel for some bling.
But no! Last month Easton Pearson announced they are closing their doors forever to move on to other projects.
The Brisbane-based, internationally renowned designers Pam Easton and Lydia Pearson, also Super Boomers, are feeling the need for some down-time after their 25 years of running a successful business and are shutting up shop.
It’s not all doom and gloom, but this hasn’t been a great year for Brisbane-based fashion.
In early 2016, Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane announced that after 10 years it would be packing up the show, leaving no public showcase for local designers.
And in January, the iconic Thea Basilou from Blonde Venus announced she was closing her Brisbane store and heading to Melbourne; again Melbourne add to their lineage as the fashion capital of Australia.
So, being the child of an era when these names were synonymous with everything stylish and fashionable about Brisbane, I am bereft about the gaps this is leaving in the marketplace.
While the introduction of international mass-market labels has opened up choices for us as customers, it has also taken its toll on a local industry which I remember as being colourful, vibrant, entertaining and uniquely Queensland. Who remembers the Retailers Association of Queensland (RAQ) Awards and names like Daniel Lightfoot and Keri Craig?
Those were days when local designers were feted and we Boomers revelled in the excitement of buying Queensland fashion at an affordable price.
Today, the local choice has decreased, but hats off to labels such as Sacha Drake, Maiocchi and dogstar who have cemented their place as the go-to names for those of us searching for economical but designer pieces.
And here’s to Lorna Jane who has blitzed the activewear market and whose outfits now grace North American department stores and every gym junkie, old or young, throughout Australia.
But the word “fashion” means change and those of us embracing the fashion world and all its craziness know that sometimes this can be the beginning of another new and exciting time.
Young, local design entrepreneurs are now entering the market. Look out for names such as Gail Sorronda and Edwina Sinclair of SOOT.
They offer beautiful garments with many silhouettes – a perfect fit for more mature bodies. Both of these labels sit in my wardrobe and allow me to applaud and promote good local fashion when I travel overseas for work.
For those of you who remember the halcyon days of Queensland fashion, Remotely Fashionable: A Story of Subtropical Style by Nadia Buick and Madeleine King will happily take you down memory lane.
With a preface by Pam Easton and Lydia Pearson, this book highlights and celebrates the history of all things Queensland: designers such as Paula Stafford, Patrick Ogilvie and Gwen Gillam and iconic retailers such as TC Beirne, McDonnell and East, McWhirters and Bayards.
The collection of photos and stories are a great reminder that fashion comes and goes but Queensland has been – and will remain – a major stakeholder in the Australian marketplace.
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