Designer shifts base
26 November, 2020, 7:45 pm
Bondi Beach in Sydney is one of Australia’s most iconic beaches, popular with surfers, holidaymakers and health conscious people who go to enjoy the dramatic scenery.
Nadi-based Tracey Farrington brings that vibe alive in the resort wear she has produced for over 25 years that the fashionable holidaymakers can pick up at some of Australia’s biggest upmarket department stores.
The former Sydneysider became a fashion designer with family encouragement and now operates her fashion lines; Bondi Beach Bag Company and Bondi Bondi out of her Nadi business; The Farmers Club which was also her Fijian base.
“I studied fashion design and garment construction for 3 years full time at East Sydney School of Fashion. After completing my course I moved to the South of Spain where I lived for 3 years,” Farrington said.
“On my return to Australia, I started my first Australian fashion business, this was in the ’80s. I have been designing, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing since I started, I have always been self-employed.
“In Australia my major customers are David Jones and Myer, these are the leading department stores in Australia, I have been supplying them with my resort wear collections of garments, hats and bags, for over 25 years.”
The Nadi resident, who made Nadi home 10 years ago with husband Tom and son Jayden, has in the past decade designed all her garments from Fiji although producing them in Australia.
“Fashion and design has always been my passion from a very young age. My mother has been a huge influence in my life and my career, mum is the person who chose my career for me, she put me into fashion school and launched me into my life, I’m so grateful to my mum. I love to create designs, whether it be garments, fabrics, hats or home interiors.
“Designing and manufacturing has been my life, opening retail stores is an extension of the design process, being able to take my creations from start to finish and sell to the end user, my consumer.
“In Fiji I have retail stores and I supply wholesale to the island resorts.”
Like many designers operating out of the region, Farrington is inspired by colours and the natural beauty of her surroundings, making her clothes perfect for the beach scene and the weather of a summer holiday. Farrington’s quality is in her control over her entire production process.
She designs all the fabrics used in her garments and drafts her patterns too.
When that process is done, she applies the fabric design to her garment pattern and her signature trademark, the feature that tells a customer they’ve bought a genuine Bondi Bondi garment is in the trimming.
“I add my border trims around the necklines, hems, side seams and all stitch lines, the border trimming is what sets my garments apart and makes each design look so special, I love using jewels as my border trims, jewels make a really interesting overlay to the fabric design.”
Since COVID-19, she, like many others in the economy, had to rethink her production process and that has meant making Fiji her main production base.
Her first ever Fiji made collection will be part of a power-packed line-up of 15 of the country’s best fashion designers who make up the Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) Resort Luxe Show.
“On March 16th this year, life changed, our retail stores were closed due to COVID-19, our stores are in the hotels in Fiji and as the hotels closed so did our stores, this also meant that our wholesale business also stopped because there are no tourists in the hotels.
“My husband Tom and I also had a Bar Restaurant in Nadi Town for the past 10 years, but has also closed now due to COVID, so life has really taken a new turn.”
Resilience and creativity being the new norm for many coming out of the pandemic, Farrington has got around to rethinking her entire modus operandi.
“Tom and I would like to turn this negative situation into a positive one, it’s given us time to rethink our lives and what we want to do.
“We think of this as a new opportunity, time to do something new with our lives, and one of the new things I am doing now is making my garments in Fiji, this is the first time for me to make Fiji made.”
Showing at FJFW for only the second time since her Fijian debut in 2014, Farrington is excited.
“I have been producing my production offshore since 1997, and this year is the first time I am showing my Fiji made collection and I’m really excited!”
She describes her resort collection as “true resort” because of how it can be worn by the pool or the beach as a cover-up to swimwear then move to the bar for drinks or out for dinner.
“My customers are women of all ages, age is a mindset, it’s about how you feel, not necessarily how old you are,” she said.
“When my customers wear my garments, I want them to feel confident that they look glamorous and chic, which makes them feel great. I use bold colours to contrast in my prints.”
Her resort wear fashion tip is the currently trendy palazzo pant because asshe says, “it is a very cool item that is on trend at the moment, and perfect for resort wear” and hers are made of “soft fl owing
georgette fabric which moves and swings in the breeze.”
Tickets to the FJFW Resort Luxe Show priced at $60 are available via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lice Movono is a freelance writer and communications specialist.