Back in the early 90s, my fashion icon was the rainbow; specifically, the rainbow from the Rainbow Showbag.
If anyone else remembers, the Rainbow Showbag was adorned with a drawing of an open-armed Moschino-esque bear, ready to welcome little children into a glittering world of fabricated femininity. Given that rainbows were the bomb.com, I sought to dress like one at any given opportunity. Take one look at my work and you’ll notice this affliction has haunted me to this day.
During a family holiday to Sydney, my Mum and I stumbled upon a boutique in Mosman that sold THE most incredible rainbow printed clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. Tropical fish looked up from the fabric and smiled. Frangipanis exploded in supernovas of yellow, white and pink. Abstract shapes danced in bright hues of green and blue. It was fashion HEAVEN and I was obsessed. How could a sewn-together piece of cloth make one look – and feel – sublimely happy?
Naturally, I begged for the jacket (which was 10 sizes too big so I could ‘grow into it’, as per the mentality of every thrifty Australian Mum in the 90s) and was granted that rare bird of a treat: the early birthday present. Sydney-based Rebecca Pierce, whom I promptly put on the pedestal of artistic genius from the lowly depths of Unley Primary School, was the designer of the jacket. I promised myself I would go back to Sydney and find Rebecca one day, letting her know how fabulous her work was.
So that’s exactly what I did.
A mere 20 years later, I found myself sitting opposite Rebecca in Neutral Bay, nursing a coffee, chatting about her art, work, creative process and production methodologies. Read on to discover what it was like to be a designer in the 1980s and operate a successful national and international fashion business that all started from one single t-shirt.
All photos are from Rebecca's personal archives. The tropical fish shirt below is a dead ringer for my beloved jacket! [ NB - I also traded some Babysitters Club books for a scrunchie in the very same design from a kid at school, who also went on a holiday to Mosman]