The 14 Most Influential Australian Women Working in Fashion Today
It’s no secret that Australian women have great taste, so we’re not surprised by the amount of inspiring women in the fashion industry today. Though we rarely stop to consider just what (and more importantly, who) influences our style, there’s no denying that a combination of factors are at play regarding the coming and going of trends.
While some careers are undeniably more visible than others, we would be remiss not to mention that our tastes each season are shaped by the culmination of women working together, from all corners of the fashion landscape.
From influencers, to stylists, to buying directors, fashion is a field in which every player has a role—and every role affects the others. To get a greater sense of the extent to which women across all aspects of fashion play a part, we’ve called out a number of notable names in the industry today.
In honour of International Women’s Day this month, we’re featuring some of the most influential women in the industry. Each inspiring in her own way, we have so much we can learn from these leaders. Doing what they do best, and shaping the way each of us dress every season, these unapologetic women are making waves in Australian fashion.
It’s time we celebrate their achievements and recognise just how far-reaching fashion really is. And these 14 influential Australian women make wonderful examples. Trust us, you’re sure to learn some valuable lessons from their success stories.
Pip Edwards co-founded Australian brand P.E. Nation with Claire Tregoning back in 2016. Before founding her brand, however, Edwards also worked for a number of Australian fashion brands, including Ksubi, sass & bide, and General Pants Co. Not only has P.E. Nation been extremely successful since its inception, but Edwards has also continued to inspire women throughout the years. Much like the brand’s clothing, Edward’s focus on strength and health has inspired women throughout Australia and the world alike. And her 114K Instagram followers can testify to this.
Before becoming fashion director at Vogue Australia, Christine Centenera worked as a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar for 10 years. However, her experience undoubtedly extends far beyond the editorial. As reported by Business of Fashion, Centenera has also served as stylist for some of Hollywood’s most fashionable including "Cate Blanchett, Naomi Campbell, Cara Delevingne, Elle Fanning, Gisele, Kim Kardashian West, Miranda Kerr, Lara Stone, Kate Upton and Gemma Ward, among several others." Also known for her exquisite taste, Centenera has gained a cult-like following of fans, being photographed by the likes of The Sartorialist and Garance Doré.
After starting her blog Harper & Harley at age 19, Sara Donaldson (now Crampton) has made a name for herself in the Australian fashion scene. In addition to starring on the show Fashion Bloggers and working with a number of reputable brands, Crampton launched the online shopping site The UNDONE. "Designed for the effortless minimalist", the site has become a go-to destination for Australia’s most stylish women. Needless to say, the amount she’s accomplished so far is truly extraordinary—especially considering she’s still under 30!
Eva Galambos, founder of the luxury online fashion retailer Parlour X, has "earned a reputation as Australia’s most prominent buyer and one of the most influential Australian fashion ambassadors abroad"—and for a good reason. By advocating for Australian designers, Galambos has become a voice for the industry. Winning the Australian Fashion Laureate in 2016 as the best Australian retailer, Galambos’ success has been cemented, and we have no doubt that she will continue to help forward the future of the industry.
If you don’t own any accessories from The Daily Edited, we’re willing to bet that at least one of your friends does. What started as a blog has quickly evolved into a booming business. In an interview with ELLE, Tran shared : "I started TDE with my co-founder Tania as a bit of a hobby on the side of working as a corporate lawyer. Essentially I just wanted the product we created and continue to create for myself and luckily lots of other people love it too!"
Despite the fact that her business began as a side hustle, The Daily Edited is now a global brand, releasing new products every four to six weeks. Take note: if you have a hobby you love, don’t be afraid to share it with others. Tran’s story proves that you don’t have to start off in the fashion world to make it big.
This Sydney-based makeup artist is one of the best known in the fashion industry for a good reason. Even a quick glance at her website will prove that she is undoubtedly gifted. As her website notes, Natoli’s luminous looks have made her a favourite amongst a number of celebrities, including : "Elle Macpherson, Jodhi Meares, Hailey Baldwin, Shanina Shaik, Lara Worthington, Rachel Griffiths and Elsa Pataky." In 2017, the makeup artist was named one of the faces of fashion for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, and we can’t disagree. Her beautiful looks have shaped beauty in the Australian fashion industry, and we’re sure they will continue to for years to come.
Moving to Sydney at age 17 from St. Petersburg Russia, Marina Afonina has swiftly shaped the Australian fashion industry since her first job working in the fashion cupboard at Harper's Bazaar, Vogue reports. While doing so, Afonina has had a range of experiences, never limiting herself to only one title. In addition to styling an array of fashionable Australian women including "Elle Macpherson, Phoebe Tonkin and Lara Worthington", Afonina also launched her own collection Albus Lumen in 2015. Focused on "core elements" (as the brand’s site puts it) we have no doubt that Afonina’s brand helped popularise the minimalist-chic style that has become so popular in recent years.
With her Darlinghurst boutique and online store, Désordre, Shannon Thomas is unquestionably shaping the Australian fashion landscape. Back in 2016, Thomas shared with us: "I spend a lot of time with my customer and engage with her on social media, so I know exactly what she expects to see when she comes into Désordre."
This attention-to-detail definitely comes through in the Thomas’ boutique. As reported by Broadsheet "Désordre is today a fully-fledged fashion hub with a permanent home and a loyal following of both men and women." When a new trend comes along, you can bet that Désordre will be the first to know. The brand prides itself on stocking exclusive pieces from highly sought-after brands, that can't be found anywhere else. It's this focus on exclusivity that helps the brand continue to own its messaging around buying unique and individual designer pieces, in an effort to lessen fashion's contribution to landfill.
Though Julie Bishop’s career field is a little outside of our typical realm, given that she is best-known as the Minister of Foregin Affairs. However, Sydney Morning Herald perhaps put it best in reference to her "unofficial role as Fashion Minister."
Despite her high-pressure career, Bishop has proven that women can in fact have both style and brains: Shocking news, right? As reported by Whimn, "Fashion is a passion of hers, and one Julie doesn't think she should be criticised for. She has proudly appeared in Vogue Australia, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and Stellar and says there's no reason why she can't be a politician and a fashion fan."
We couldn’t agree more, and it’s refreshing to see women in other fields being empowered enough to celebrate their personal style without fear of criticism. We can only hope that Bishop inspires more women to follow suit.
One of the original big names in the blogging scene, Warne is without a doubt one of Australia’s most influential style stars. Establishing her platform before age 20 via the blog Gary Pepper Girl, Warne has been recognised on the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list, as well as Business of Fashion’s ‘#BoF500: The People Shaping the Global Industry’, as noted on her website.
Not only is Warne one of Australia’s most famous influencers, but with 1.7 million followers on Instagram alone, she is one of the most famous in the world. As noted by Business of Fashion, "In just six years, she [grew] her passion project, website Garry Pepper Girl, into a fully-fledged career as a model, e-commerce entrepreneur and fashion consultant." From the beginning, Warne’s style has inspired us and we have no doubt that it will continue to for years to come.
Another big name in blogging, Margaret Zhang first stepped into the fashion world in 2009. However, Zhang has since then forayed into nearly every aspect of the industry, taking on the roles including modelling, photography, styling, creative direction, writing, and so on. Basically, if it happens in the fashion world, chances are Zhang has given it a try. By the way, she is only 24—if that’s not inspirational, we’re not sure what is.
Sydney-based stylist Jess Pecoraro has a fashion sense that is truly enviable. And we aren’t the only ones who think so. With clients including Jesinta Campbell, Pia Miller, Carissa Walford, Mimi Elashiry, Georgia Fowler, and Kate Waterhouse (to name a few), it’s fair to say that she is definitely shaping Australian fashion as we know it.
While we often look to influencers and celebrities for fashion inspiration, how often to we stop to recognise that often there is another genius behind the wardrobes of these style stars? After all, they’re the ones truly recognising and popularising the trends in the first place.
With a number of impressive experiences on her resume including both Myer and UK retailer, House of Fraser, Teneille Ferguson is now the womenswear buying manager for David Jones.
As reported by Sydney Morning Herald, we have Ferguson to thank for the popularisation of Australian labels: "Ferguson is known in the industry for her ability to nurture brands and teach them about the needs of big department stores and their customers. She was crucial in signing cult Sydney label Aje into Myer before she, and then the label, defected to David Jones." While Australian fashion has long been influenced by international brands, Ferguson shared that "Australia is now considered a retail emerging market, so now is a good opportunity to elevate it."
Needless to say, her keen eye and impeccable taste are making strides to bring Australian designers into David Jones, and coincidentally, women's’ wardrobes both here and internationally.
As Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, there's no question that Anna McLeod is an important name in the Australian fashion industry. Among her many responsibilities, McLeod helps identify new talent for the Next Gen and Fashion Week Australia designer programs, as well as overseeing the Australian Fashion Laureate Awards program.
With a hand in the curation of designer and brand activity at fashion week, McLeod's decisions shape which trends come into public focus.