Today is Australia Day and more than any snag on a barbie or esky filled with beer, the true spirit of Australia has been shown in Queensland.
It’s just two weeks since Brisbane experienced flooding, the likes of which not seen for 37 years. Since then I’ve witnessed the most incredible displays of guts, grit and determination. It stirs a patriotism in me that no Aussie flag tattoo will ever do.
This week I got news about one of my favourite fashion labels, Dogstar. The workroom and head office of this label was based at West End. The label’s designs were all crafted from this workroom. In an era when this is a rarity in Australian fashion, it had always seemed like a privilege to witness this whenever I visited.
I use the past tense here as, like so many homes and businesses, the Dogstar workroom and office succumbed to the muddy brown waters of the Brisbane River.
Designer Masayo Yasuki waded through the waters to salvage fabrics for her autumn/winter collection, aptly titled “Panic Attack”.
“The creek near my home had isolated my house since Monday, so when I finally got into the workroom it was already up to my ankles; the sewing and cutting machines are so heavy, for a moment I thought it would all be lost,” Ms Yasuki said.
“But then team members and friends starting arriving and we loaded most of the machines into cars or up to the top level of the building.”
The flood stopped rising inside the Manning Street warehouse at 1.8 metres, submerging furniture and fabrics that had to be abandoned when the waters reached shoulder height.
“As soon as the waters receded we were inundated with people wanting to help; in time I will find a way to thank them all, but for now I want them to know that the hope and strength they have given us will never be forgotten,” she said.
Dogstar has not been able to put a dollar value on its losses yet, but a third of the label’s fabric has been lost and it will take many months for the building and its contents – which could not be insured against such floods – to be ready to accommodate production again.
Despite the significant savings available to the label if they took production offshore, Ms Yasuki is determined to rebuild her business in Brisbane.
“We have always been a locally-crafted label and I am passionate about keeping jobs and creativity here in Brisbane so we will just have to find a temporary space as soon as possible so we can get started again,” she said.
With the label’s autumn/winter collection due in more than 70 stores across Australia and New Zealand next month, Ms Yasuki asked for anyone with a workroom and office space to contact [email protected]
Editor’s note: Dogstar has a huge following in Brisbane, around Australia and overseas. Ms Yasuki brings her Japanese heritage to the designs and each piece is a timeless fashion statement. Diehard fans wear head-to-toe Dogstar. Like all my fashion, I like mixing it up. I have a grey wool Dogstar tunic featuring an arrangement of red and white buttons that I’ve worn with jeans for two winters now – and it always attracts comments.
Below are some looks from Dogstar’s current collection: