Tell us about yourself and Phoebe Paradise...
Phoebe Paradise is my label and I guess my art pseudonym, haha. I'm an illustrator and artist, and have been creating fashion garments under the label for about 2 years now. The label is based out of my home town Brisbane, but I'm down in Melbourne running a pop-up shop with my work wife Vlada Ediripuligge who owns Junky Comics. We had our launch party last week and it was so bloody fun and it's exciting being down here meeting new people and getting the new collection out there!!
Where do you work, and how does your environment influence your practice?
I work from home which is such a double edged sword hahah. I love it so much cos I can be a bit of a homebody, and not having to put on a bra everyday is pretty excellent. BUT on the other side of things it can get a little cabin feverish if I'm really busy on certain months, still trying to figure out that balance. Getting up really early to start my day and be finished work by 6 or 7 so I can give my eyes a break at night from the laptop is the current process. I also love working in my own space as I can spread out and make a mess in a way that I probably couldn't at a rented studio. My work style can be pretty manic and chaotic at times.
Who was your first style icon, and what excited you about their projection of identity?
This might be really cheesy, but like a lot of gals who were young teenagers in the early aughts I was desperately in love with Karen O from The YeahYeahYeahs. Her style was so bright and cool but also had a sense of humour? I used to watch clips of her playing live at like V Fest wearing these glittery giant platform boots and a dress she'd cut in half and couldn't get enough of it. I definitely cut my own fringe into a fucking mess on multiple occaisions in misguided attempts to emulate her.
What about now, where do you draw your influence from?
My personal style is pretty simple these days. I went through years of wearing a lot of wacky vintage and platforms, but Brisbane weather isn't very kind to heavy vintage fabrics and I ended up culling a lot of my wardrobe a few years ago. My wardrobe mostly consists of pieces I've collected over the years that are all black and comfortable, well fitted, mixed in with a few brightly coloured band tees and blouses. It's hard to dress fun in 100% humidity, but I think that's something I wanted to achieve with my own work - something that's wearable and comfortable but still loud and illustrative.
How important is building a relationship with your wardrobe to you?
It hasn't been important to me until recent years. I used to go to Savers twice a week and just build a giant throne of clothes that I'd only wear once or twice a year but that attitude has changed a lot. I think my ethos has changed drastically after making my own work, understanding the process of manufacturing and the importance of diminishing the amount of waste you produce. I'm grateful to have that perspective.
Which item of clothing would you consider to be the most significant?
I think the most significant piece of clothing I own is one that I've had for a long time now. I'd been living in Melbourne for a year out of home and had my first 'real job' as an admin assistant at a Tertiary College. It was the first time I'd had my own money and my Mum's wedding was coming up and I needed to buy something fancccyyy for it. This was back in my 'wacky vintage' days, and I was in Brisbane visiting the family so I was trolling all of the vintage shops trying to find the perfect dress which is impossible.
I came across a vintage shop in West End and there was this insanely beautiful dress in the window with swan feathers and tiny diamantes around the shoulders with a tailored black body. It legit looked like something the Ronettes would wear and was in perfect condition for a dress that was about 40 years old.
I went in and the extremely sassy shop attendant told me that it probably wouldn't fit and that it was $450.00 SOOOO you know'. I tried it on mostly for the principle of the thing, I had never paid more than $20 for a dress in my life. I went in the change room and this thing fit like a god damn dream. Like the impossible had been achieved haha. I have big boobs and the dress was off the shoulder but because of the tailoring I didn't need to wear a bra which seemed like a miracle?
So I bought the miracle dress with the last money remaining in my bank account and have loved it to bits ever since. I wore it to my Mum's wedding which was such a happy time. It 100% does not fit me anymore but I will always keep it. It's a sweet lil keepsake of that time in my life.
The Phoebe Paradise X Junky Comics pop up is open until the end of August at Collingwood's own Magic Johnston HQ.