ABOUT THE WRITER: Jordan Butler loves fashion in all its glorious forms, from sashaying around in ethically sustainable boutique labels to romping about in onesies.
Modern Queensland fashion is characterised by a beautiful merging between the sophistication of city living and the relaxed nature of our lifestyle and climate. The turning point of Queensland establishing it’s own unique aesthetic first began in the 1800s mirroring European trends. Then, clothing was a symbol of social status, and women with their layers of fabric, and men with their suits felt the burden of the Sunshine State’s climate. The lifestyle did not fit to the fashion of the upper class, so it changed. It was the sun and heat inspiring a shift defining the fashion of the future. In the Queensland fashion world, we now see highly modernised clothing that has grown into the style of the state. Our leading brands have developed their own personal styles and objectives that reflect Queensland in their own way.
Aje has transitioned into conceptual and structural collections across the years. While the brand is Sydney based, designers Edwina Robinson and Adrian Norris grew up in Noosa, something which has impacted their designs. Earlier collections like their winter 2010 collection leaned more towards basic patterns, casual style, and layered outfits. In comparison, their spring/summer 2015 collection carried their signature aesthetic but boasted a more formal style, incorporating much more structure and experimental patterning. This may be a result of being recently picked up by Myer, as one of very few domestic labels joining the niche collection and the only label to fly the Queensland flag too.
As a newer brand created in 2012, Stella Morton brings Wilde Willow to Queensland, incorporating experimental patterning into her own designs while encompassing the Queensland image. Having grown up in Byron Bay, Stella’s clothing mixes the colours, fabrics and patterns indicative of beach culture, merging it with the structure and simplicity of city life. The company stays true to Queensland’s aesthetic but leans heavily towards the beach-inspired.
Gail Sorronda however, remains one of the most unique brands we have to offer. Gail draws her inspiration from her Brisbane roots, but she also relies heavily on abstract inspiration. Like her spring/summer 2010/11 collection, her designs were highly conceptual and structural, mostly based on blacks and whites. Gail is experimentative and while her Queensland inspiration is not as clear, the environment stimulates conceptual ideas that her collections are then based off of. The spring/summer 2012/2013 collection shows her transition towards more colourful and flowing designs as a testament to her experimentation. Gail Sorronda is a perfect example of where the Queensland fashion industry is today.
Queensland fashion is at a point of experimentation. While our lifestyle and climate are heavy inspirations for many of our most acclaimed designers, there is a clear increase in experimentation with unusual patterns, shapes and colours. This experimentation is what is putting Queensland on the radar on an international scale. Our fashion inspires a perfect mix of our casual, relaxed nature and our sophisticated city life, and these juxtaposing themes are most prominent here in Queensland.
With runways such as the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival (MBFF) a showcase of Australia’s best, and Undress Runways on a mission to create awareness and demand for sustainable fashion by collating it from around the globe, Queensland is demanding the spotlight. In this era of merging ideas and experimentation, while still paying homage to our style and history, Queensland is positioning itself with the big designers of leading Australian fashion states Melbourne and Sydney. Photographer: dirty love photography