Fashion and the Sydney-Melbourne Thing: A Speculative Look at Independent Australian Fashion in the 1970-80’s


While no Australian city makes it onto regular listings of ‘fashion’s world cities’ (Breward and Gilbert 2006), that hasn’t stopped fashion originality, innovation and excitement being generated, both differently and similarly, in both Melbourne and Sydney.

What was it about Melbourne that created the ambience for Clarence Chai’s label, Chai Clothing and Accessories, in Crossley Street, Collins Street and the Block Arcade from 1974 until 1984? And what was it about Sydney that nurtured the work of Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee under the Flamingo Park label (from 1974 to 1982) and later under both the Linda Jackson Bush Couture, and the Jenny Kee labels in the 1980s and early 1990s? How did place and time influence fashion design specificities, styles of runway parades, retail environments and business longevity in the two Australian cities?

In this richly illustrated talk, Dr Sally Gray revisits the research for her well-received book, FRIENDS FASHION AND FABULOUSNESS: The Making of an Australian Style, now in its second edition, to investigate how the two cities generated dynamic, arresting fashion, specific to its time and place.

This event is owned and operated by The Johnston Collection, and proudly promoted by Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as part of the Independent Program. Please contact the organiser directly for further information.

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