Who: Easton Pearson (Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson).
What: Easton Pearson is a Brisbane-based fashion duo designing clothing for women under two main labels – Easton Pearson and EP by Easton Pearson.
When: Established 1989, originally known as Bow and Arrow, the label became eponymous in the early 1990s. Its diffusion line, EP by Easton Pearson (a less expensive label aimed at a younger demographic), was established in 2009.
Where: Based in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley (an area with a rich history of retail and garment production), Pearson and Easton met in Queensland’s capital in 1987. Toowoomba-born Easton had been working as a buyer interstate before returning to Brisbane, and North-Queensland born Pearson had started an eponymous fashion label sold in local boutiques. The pair decided to work together on a joint label and have collaborated since.
Easton Pearson present three collections per year, shown at Australian fashion weeks and festivals, and have shown annually in Paris since 1998. Easton Pearson has two stores in Australia, Brisbane and Sydney, and is stocked internationally in more than 100 stores.
Why: Easton Pearson are one of Australia’s most successful and longest running labels. They are also a rare example of a female design partnership in the fashion industry. An earlier Australian precedent may lie in the partnership between iconic Australian designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, who sought to create a flamboyant and Australiana inflected aesthetic. By contrast, Easton Pearson’s work is usually described as traversing international influences, with a focus on hand-crafted finishes and textiles, produced in collaboration with artisans in India. Despite this international context, the label also seems to reference its Queensland and Australian setting through colour choices, looser silhouettes and fabrics that suit our climate and lifestyle. Indeed, their emphasis on surface decoration, colourful textiles and custom fabric prints over closely tailored fit appeal to women in a range of age groups and body types, and offer a counterpoint to the mainstream fashion trend cycle.
In 2009, in the same year as the brand’s 20th anniversary, Easton Pearson became the first fashion designers to receive a retrospective exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). The exhibition contained over 70 garments, largely sourced from Easton Pearson’s extensive archive, as well as private collections 1.
Maynard, M. 2011. Exhibition Review: Easton Pearson. Fashion Theory, 15 (3): 387-394. Berg Publishers.
P. McNeil, M. Wallace, J. De Teliga, and Parker. F. 2009. Easton Pearson. Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery.
Published in Issue 1, on August 27, 2013.