Sydney doesn’t quite outshine New York, Paris or Milan as one of the world’s great fashion meccas, but there’s no shortage of fashion creativity and vision being born right here on our sparkly shores.
From the labels that pay tribute to Sydney’s coveted city beach lifestyle, to those that have completely shaken up the industry and skyrocketed to global style royalty—here are seven of the best fashion and accessory brands that kicked off right here in Sydney.
Created by husband and wife duo Renee and Gibson Fox, Daisy is a powerful cult label with a major celebrity following. Since launching in 2015, Daisy has been worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez. The vibe is Marie Antoinette with a 90s twist; punchy and fun with a tonne of sex appeal. Think corsetted mini dresses, neon green slip dresses, frills and sheer camisoles, hoodies, cropped slogan tees and bike pants.
Great for: House parties, club nights, trips to Vegas, picnics.
Romance Was Born
Easily one of Australia’s most exciting fashion exports in the last decade or two, Romance Was Born is the creative genius of Sydney duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales. Vibrant, theatrical and breathtaking, Romance Was Born collections are more like a fashion dreamscape steeped in a rainbow fantasy, as opposed to regular wardrobe staples.
Each item is a collector’s piece, featuring hand-worked details of appliqué, embroidery, beading and sequins. A series of Romance Was Born creations are now kept in the textile and fashion collections at the Powerhouse Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria.
Great for: Special occasions, parties and milestone moments, anyone with a love of sequins and standing out.
Former Ksubi designers Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones reinvented the Hawaiian shirt for a new set of Bondi beach ravers when they launched Double Rainbouu in January 2016 (pronounced “Double Rainbow”).
The label celebrates seaside culture in a fresh way, fusing floral prints with streetwear concepts, and it’s played a huge role in reigniting the surfwear trend all around the world. Double Rainbouu’s MBFWA Resort ’20 presentation in the Chinese Garden of Friendship cemented their creative power, featuring an army of alt-travellers, a collab with Poppy Lissiman, another with Superga and another with macramé artist Rachel Rutt.
Great for: Party shirts, beach coverups and the sort of get-up that can easily take you from the café, to the beach and on to poolside drinks.
Co-founded by Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning, P.E Nation has completely shaken up the wonderful world of athleisure with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Gigi and Bella Hadid coveting their graphic, retro-inspired tights, crops, tees and bum bags. At MBFWA this month, the label dropped a denim line and a collab with Aussie swimwear label, Speedo too.
Great for: Pilates, hill sprints, spin class, dance class, weekends, lounging at home, post-Pilates lunches, drinks or dinners.
Launched out of Sydney in 2019, Raela is a new player in the “it bag” world with a sleek line of handcrafted clutches, shoulder bags, totes and top handle bags.
Raela has a more ethical spin on statement bags. The idea is to preserve the slow but meticulous skills that have been passed down through generations of traditional Indian craft. As well as this, $10 from each bag sold is donated to South African children’s charity Thandi House and Kasturi and the Mehfuza Charitable Trust in India, which helps upskill the families of the artisans who create Raela handbags in Northern India.
Great for: Date night, long lunches at fancy venues, dinner parties with mates.
Holiday The Label
Dreamt up by Sydney-based designer Emma Mulholland, Holiday is a label that’s all about extending your summer vacation glow. Featuring 80s and 90s souvenir-inspired looks designed to stir up a life’s worth of vacation nostalgia, Holiday is a cult favourite the world over.
You’ll know her signature slogan “Someone on holiday loves me” in a retro-style font, which she’s slashed across tees, one-piece swimmers and cotton caps. Holiday also dishes out laidback but fun slogan tees, hoodies, hats, scrunchies, patterned pants and cute accessories.
Great for: Cute tees, retro vibes, crazy pants.
Created by legendary Aussie restaurateur Maurice Terzini and his partner, stylist and creative director Lucy Hinckfuss, Ten Pieces is one of the more progressive labels to emerge out of Sydney in recent years. The messaging behind the design is simple and sustainable—ten key pieces in your wardrobe that can be worn by either gender, and easily styled into a unique uniform for any occasion.
The vibe is modern streetwear; androgynous and artistic. There are limited drops that defy seasons, each with a simple sense of luxury and utility.
Great for: Amping up your office look, dinner with colleagues, the skatepark, your next trip to NYC.
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Image credit: James Adams.