Tell us how you came to be interested in fashion…
I am a visual artist so anything visually stimulating is of interest to me. I wouldn’t describe myself as being fashionable. I am particularly interested social history and my involvement with The Fashion Archives has been to reflect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to fashion.
Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?
As fashion is not my usual area of research or expertise, I am inspired by my friends, colleagues and acquaintances and their work that naturally comes to my attention. I see amazing style in fashion photographs by Wayne Quilliam, in designs from Aboriginal designer Nicolas Donlen with his Unearthed Iwp label, designs by Torres Strait designer Grace Lillian Lee, textiles of Shelley Monkland with Djarainj designs, Yatu Widders Hunt’s Eco-fashion blog, jewellery by Amy Rodgers-Clark in Ama’s Creations, artwork on clothing by the young Chern’ee Sutton, Sandra Georgiou’s Black Bold and Beautiful Calendar and BBB Woman’s Luncheon events, street wear by Blinded Lights Clothing and jersey designs by Banggarru Deadly Wear, just to name a few.
What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?
A few years ago I sat beside an Elder at a community gathering and I was introduced as Gwen Hayman’s granddaughter. The older lady responded by saying how beautiful my grandmother was and how she was always dressed elegantly and in her youth she was the one that other girls would look to for style. I was bewildered as I had never heard anyone describe my nan like that before. When I thought more about it, my grandma has always dressed immaculately; she wore her Sunday best the whole week through. Even now, at age 88, I will visit her nursing home without prior warning and she will be dressed, often with pearls or a brooch and always with stockings and shoes. My nan had a hard life and was not rich but still took enormous pride in her appearance. I think some of this was because of the pressure of assimilating into white Australian society, but that’s another story. Although I don’t tend to spend a lot on my wardrobe, I too take pride in my appearance, a trait I inherited from my grandmother.
Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…
Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?
Queensland is the sunshine state and this is reflected in its style; fashion is bright, fresh and colourful.
Published in Issue 3, on September 24, 2013.