fashion designer lisa gorman

Lisa Gorman stands alone when it comes to Australian fashion design. She dances to her own drum. She was producing organic clothes (that were affordable!) when everyone else was coming to grasp with what that was. Her clothes are feminine, playful and colourful while always keeping one eye on trends and the other on wearability. Lisa, herself, is an altogether giving person, as you'll find out...

These images were taken backstage of her Spring Summer 2011 collection, which I was lucky enough to see a few weeks back at The Gazebo Wine Garden.

Which five words best describe you?
Always busy in the mind.

What was your first career job and what path have you taken since?

Nursing. I finished my degree after high school and worked at the the Royal Melbourne Hospital part-time for 8 years thereafter. I’d always thought fashion was more for me, and applied for a retail/vm position at Mariana Hardwick (bridal couturier) in Melbourne in 1995, eventually becoming her designer and then I sort of stumbled into doing Gorman as a one-show-exhibition at FAT52 in 1999. I kept nursing all this time; I liked nursing – it kept me in balance. Gorman evolved into a “real” business in 2003 and I stopped nursing and my design job at Mariana Hardwick to put my attention into my own business. I wasn’t at all keen on business, which is why I avoided it for a few years even though it was somehow growing. In the end I either had to do it properly or leave it… So I thought I should try my hand at business and see what might happen.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t go too fast. Use your instincts. Know which advice to take and which to leave (as there’s loads of it out there). Know when you should be doing it yourself and when it needs a higher level of input. The lessons are endless really… it’s one great big long continuous lesson.

What’s your proudest career achievement?

I’m pleased I stuck with “Gorman Organic” when it didn’t make any money in its first few years. Now, six years on, it was worth the patience and belief it would work.

What’s been your best decision? To find the right business partner when the time was right. Realistically, designers need to focus on designing and creative direction. As a business grows you need to separate yourself to a certain extent so you can have time to do what you do best. This decision for me has meant less work stress, better business results and allows me to pick my kids up from kinder and hang out with them a lot more often, which is super important to me.

Who inspires you?

Everyday people doing everyday stuff… nothing outrageous, more the subtleties of life.

What are you passionate about?

The seasons, colour, nature, social habits of people.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?

I’d like to have met my father’s father, Daniel Gorman. Apparently he was a great man. He has a fascinating moustache in his portrait that makes him a most curious chap.

What dream do you still want to fulfil?

Right now I have a very short-term dream of finishing my AW11 collection by this Friday’s deadline. Other than that, I’d like to live in France or Italy for a year with Dean (my husband) and our two girls before they get too old and think this idea sounds more like torture than an awesomely long cultural holiday.

What are you reading? Dirt Music by Tim Winton.

images courtesy of lisa gorman