27 January 2009

Where's Canberra Fashion at?

| johnboy
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In the Canberra Times Claire Low has had a look at the local fashion scene, a subject dear to her hear. They’ve even managed to put a slideshow online.

So I’m interested in hearing what Riot’s own local fashionistas think of the local design/retail scene.

And is migration to Sydney and Melbourne a bad thing, or just how the business works with people always moving on?

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Canberra fashion is ridiculous. We get the crap clothing from nationwide fashion stores and everyone buys the same clothes and therefore looks the same. No one has any style, and majority of people are too scared to dress differently because they get frowned upon if they do so.

A very old post I see. I am starting a boutique business in laides wear. Would love to support Canberra designers by sponsoring manufacturing or even selling one-off and limited ranges. Wondering where to find them.

Interestingly though there is a street in Braddon which seems to provide the business necessary to support several high end outdoor shops, and several bicycle shops. These places sell quite a lot of clothing. I suggest that they make more money from goretex and polartec then from climbing gear or bikes. My conclusion is that money spent on “fashion” other cities is, in Canberra, spent on technical outdoor wear, and not $5000 suits.

In fact, if I am wearing my windstopper and tevas I am more fashionable then when I am wearing my nice suit. Now I just need to convince my wife of this.

The high end fashion brands just don’t rate Canberra as a viable market.

It’s an interesting point that Mr_Shab raised. We have a high average income however that is due to a high median income and not necessarily because we have a lot of people who are crazy rich. Perhaps that is why we don’t get high end fashion.

I’m not asking for Loro Piana or Brioni ($50k suits, yes $50k) but I would like to have a bit more choice than a dozen or so shirts at Ken Cook and the small offerings of other shops. Bring a decent designer outlet with gear from last season and people would go for it.

We don’t have people with the six figure pay packets required to support a burgeoning designer market. Canberrans are on average wealthier than Sydney or Melborne, but we just don’t have the lawyers/consultants/financiers/stockbrokers who can shell out for a $5000 suit a couple of times a year. Nor do we have the Amex Black-toting trophy wives and trustafarians who will keep any designer boutiques fed and watered.

neanderthalsis9:11 am 28 Jan 09

Lets face it, we’re in a company town and most of us wear “the uniform”five days a week. Also, we lack the places were the folks can go to show off their wares. There aren’t many fashionable clubs, cafe strips, beaches that are the place to be seen if you’re amongst the fashionable types.

The opening of Hugo Boss should have been the catalyst for decent designer menswear brands to open shops in Canberra. Apart from Blades, Ken Cook and John Hanna, you’re pretty much out of luck if you want designer labels.

As for DFO and Brand Depot, get MacarthurGlen or Chic Outlet shopping to open and show what real outlet shopping is all about.

Granny’s Hit List.

1. Mervyn Keane
2. Mervyn Keane
3. Mervyn Keane

*tee hee*

I think that these days with internet marketing it will continue to become increasingly easier to set up ‘shop’ for yourself, particularly with eBay and support from events such as Handmade Market.

… and I went to Melbourne, and then Sydney hunting for my formal dress, back in 82. I won though, got a punk-styled sharp thing in Sydney. Black/green shot taffeta, very angular. All the “coolios” were in bouffant matte taffeta in pastel colours. Suffer, ladies.

Mervyn Keane10:46 pm 27 Jan 09

Where do those fat gothic girls fit in to this?

Many have tried. Back in the early 80s, there was a brilliant shop run by some TAFE fashion graduates in Kingston, called Perouche. I bought a lot of their stuff. Clever, quirky, amazing colours, very “good” 80s. But they went under. I still have the gear I got from them, it was art. I have known people who battled their way into the fashion industry, wiht talent and flair, did the hard yards, did gorgeous stuff, but the industry just ignored them. People wanted to buy and wear their gear, but teh industry decided it was not to be.

I have a purple with gold drawings linen suit I got from a tiny shop in Surrey Hills. The designer ran teh shop, and all she had was suits made from the purple or green linen. I always get questions about where I got it from, years and years later, yet she probably went under.

Something just doesn’t work in the fashion industry.

I disagree stridently.

We have cheap clothing here because retailers are cutting each others throats, but we don’t get the same range as in other cities. There are people that dress well, it’s just the minority. There seems to be little pride in ones appearance in this city – and how people present themselves says a lot about them.

An interesting aspect of the Canberran (born and bred myself and proud to be) is that we’re mostly extremely guarded to any influence other than what we deem to be up to our standard, when we should be open to all influences from all ages, races and socio-economic standing. In other words, we’re retarded snobs who don’t listen to anyones suggestions and act as though any outside influence on the life we’re lazily comfortable in should be not only ignored but derided.
But that’s not all of us – keep the faith

New Yeah said :

a lack of fashion infrastructure
By this does Ms Low mean that Canberrans are dags?

I believe so, New Yeah. Let’s bend her snout!!

; )

a lack of fashion infrastructure
By this does Ms Low mean that Canberrans are dags? As alluded to above, I would think that part of the problem is not that there are no good designers here or that people don’t have the dosh to afford interesting threads, but that people tend to dress the same.

To be honest, I have no locally designed pieces of clothing but plenty of things that I have bought interstate or overseas.

The drain of talent to Syd/Melb and elsewhere is experienced by most sectors in Canberra except the public service.

All the more reason to take realistic photos of real women.

I think taking fashion shots against Canberra tourist attractions is quite a mistake. It’s confronting seeing fashion on normal-sized girls. You can see why the fashion designers howl when they’re asked to put high fashion on size 12, 5 foot 8. Unfortunately, we’re thoroughly tuned to seeing clothes on 6 foot, size 8 frames.

But I have enough trouble buying the same old volleys for a reasonable price now that they are fashionable, I don’t want more selection to choose from.

Of course if you encouraged more local design rather than moaning you might get more variety.

‘Canberra Fashion’ is an oxymoron…..

AngryHenry said :

I am by no means old enough to know better but I would also like to send a message to the youth of our fair city –


I agree, it’s impossible to admire a perky pair of buttocks on a guy when they’re hidden deep in the folds of Mu Mu trousers. On the other hand, or cheek, if they try to bag snatch they won’t run far.

Fashion in Canberra? No such thing. All the people here dress the same and have the same haircut. They all wear the same shirt but in different colours.

I’m just always excited when I’m not wearing somebody’s hand-me-downs!

I am by no means old enough to know better but I would also like to send a message to the youth of our fair city –


VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy3:48 pm 27 Jan 09

The trouble with local fashion is that all the younguns seem to dress the same. Kinda boring, really…

I’m not going all the way out to Queanbeyan when there is a perfectly good Lowes in Belcompton.

Queanbeyan Lowes, anyone?

I have bought things from Ivan’s back in the 80s. Lacy skirts, chunky jewellery, stuff like that. You have to wear it with attitude!

I have never seen anybody buy things from Ivan ‘s…
How does he turn a profit?

Ivans seems to work for me.

Fashion and Canberra in the same sentence. There’s a reason for the popularity of shopping trps to Melbourne and Sydney.

Canberra Fashion is at the intersection of Conservative Street and Short Shorts In Cold Weather Avenue, it’s just up behind the curve…

A friend of mine is a young fashion design graduate, and after working freelance for a while on a line of menswear she decided to get a diploma in education and work as a teacher.

She still works part-time designing childrenswear; but I think it is tough to make it here, and there’s not much incentive. With her family and friends based in Canberra, I don’t think a move to the big smoke was at all appealing.

It’s a shame because she’s got such a creative sensitivity. She’s a highly imaginative and intelligent artist. Her drawings and paintings are superb.

While teaching is a valuable profession, I do think it’s sad because she is an artist at heart and there will always be more people who can teach than people who can create.

Ahhh, “fashion”. I have no words.

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