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Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Putting on a designer show on Fashion Week is no easy task, let alone bringing over the entire Fashion Week franchise all the way to Australia! Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and we go back to the roots of where it all stemmed from - fashion entrepreneur Simon Lock, owner and CEO of The Lock Group.

As always, my admiration for fashion entrepreneurs got the best of me, and was lucky enough to score an interview with the man himself. I heard from him first hand the challenges he faced on the first fashion week in Australia, and without giving away too many details, it's quite riveting. 

I decided to do a little fun interview with him, here is the down low:

Simon, would you like to tell us a bit about your book?

Yup, it's called "In The Front Row", and it was really written to celebrate 20 years of MBFWA, an event I started back in 1996. It's a book that really chronicles, not just the development of the Australian fashion, but also my career as well - what I'm doing now as well as what I've done in the past.

What inspired you to write this book?

Well, I guess it's the 20th year of fashion week, it's such a mile-stone for the fashion industry. And it has taken so many of us to get here, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to tell that story, and also shine the spotlight on how most people made the event how it is. I thought a good way to do that is to write the book, not only to let fashion students know how it came about, but also who is responsible for it, and how we worked together to make it happen.

My blog is about entrepreneurship as well as fashion, so my readers will be interested in how you brought fashion week to Australia...

The book is really, in essence, about an entrepreneurial story. It really is. I mean, it was a really adventurous, entrepreneurial pursuit. It took four years of planning and fund-raising, and being completely innovative and building a business, to produce the event, because, you know, we had to build a company from the ground-up - a company that is capable of producing events like Australian Fashion Week, so that's really exciting. But now, 20 years on, the entrepreneurial story is still going. I just launched, and it is now an online wholesale platform. It does the same thing as all the fashion weeks - showing top designer collections to retailers. And so, it's joyous on this 20th year. Now for the first time, not only buyers sitting in the front row can see the great Australian designers, but 2,500 thousand of the best retailers around the world who couldn't come to this event, can now see these collections and buy them online. So that's a real milestone. It started off and continued as an entrepreneurial journey, so we'll see.

Is your company The Lock Group?


And that's the one that owns fashion week?

Yup, The Lock Group started in 1989, so it's 25 years old now, and The Lock Group has started Australian Fashion Innovators, which is the event that started Australian Fashion Week. 

How does IMG come into the picture of Fashion Week? 

I sold one of my companies, Australian Fashion Innovators to IMG. So they now own and operate Australian Fashion Week, and I'm still the founder of the event, and still very much involved.

So are you still a director...?

No, I'm not with the company anymore, no, no, no. I'm purely the founder of the event, so I was CEO of the event for 15 of the 20 years. The last 5 years, I've stepped aside and developed my new business - 

And you're still very much connected to Fashion Week?

Well, absolutely. Every year, I attend the events, I am speaking at the opening ceremony this year. I'm still there searching for new designers to help and support, and supporting all my friends for many years. So yeah, I will always have an involvement forever with Australian Fashion Week. 

Is fashion week sort of like a franchise then?

No it's not, all of the fashion week internationally, they are either owned by industry associations. London, Paris and Milan are owned by industry associations. New York is owned by IMG. The industry association sold New York to IMG, as I did. And IMG also operates a number of fashion weeks around the world. Some are privately owned, and some are run by industry organisations. 

In terms of the business aspect, how do you see events such as VAMFF? Are they a competitor?

No, they very much sit comfortably alongside traditional trade fashion weeks. And in fact, fashion weeks around the world are becoming more consumer-focused. Like VAMFF, which is completely consumer focused. So if you look at MBFWA this year, two days out of the six are focused towards the public, and the other four days are for the industry. And so we are starting to see a far, far greater focus on consumers, than we are on the industry. And the reason being social media. Now, everyone in the world can attend any fashion week, sitting in the front row via Instagram. And so, people are seeing those clothes instantaneously, and they want those clothes. Designers are realising that there are more value in communicating to consumers now, than there is with the industry. So that's why we created our online platform. Business and business can be done online, and fashion weeks can focus more on consumers.

Simon P. Lock's new book In the Front Row: How Australian Fashion Made the World Stage, published by MUP, is out now. RRP $34.99

Photos by Zak Kaczmarerk

Monday, May 18, 2015


There are some things we need, some things we want, and then, what's blatantly missing on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, are things that we didn't know that we need. The G-star Midge jeans in 'sculpted lift', my friend, is one of them.

These are like push-up bras, but for your behind. I should have known when they named the jeans 'sculpted lift', but instead got a pleasant surprise when I put them on and felt the cushion pads just behind the back pocket. I MEAN, HELLO? WHY HASN'T ANYONE REALISED THAT THIS IS INVENTION OF THE CENTURY? It instantly gives you nice rounded butts that put Kayla Itsines squat workouts to shame. It's like a $200 non permanent butt cosmetic surgery. Think I'll take that over fake implants any day.

Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses via Sunglass Hut
G-Star Raw jeans
G-Star Raw belt
Louis Vuitton 'Lockme' tote
Forever New coat (old)
Billini ankle boots - 'Raven'

Photos by Sophia Phan

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


When it comes to denim-makers, there are a handful of brands that get it right, and G-Star is one of them. I turn down collaborations or sponsorships that do not fit, no matter how attractive they sound. So when a self-confessed denim freak* like me was approached to do a collaboration with G-Star, I knew it was a match made in heaven. 

Here's the first of two installations. We shot this at Bondi Beach on Sunday right before the Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight. The wave was coming strong and the beach stunk from the storm, but we just had to capture the serenity of the ocean and the beauty of nature. This jacket I'm wearing is an ode to the ocean. As a vegetarian, any animals lives are dear to me, so it feels so good knowing that G-Star and Pharrell Williams have joined forces to start a project that retrieves plastic bottles from the ocean and turn it into denim - yup, that's right, DENIM! How, you ask? Check our their coolest site Raw for the Oceans here (with animations!), and shop the collection here

Billini ankle boots ('BAMITS15' for 15% off their site)
Samantha Wills rings and earrings
Victoria's Secret black lace bra

Photos by Myles Kalus

*I own more than 10 pairs of jeans vs one pair of work pants, which is ridiculous, considering I work in finance which requires dressing in business clothing 4 days a week. Won't blame you for calling me a freak, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Lower Body:

Bottoms: Skinny Jeans, Boyfriend Jeans, Jogger Pants, Tailored Pants, Knit Skirts


Shoes: Flat-heeled Boots, Heeled Boots, Knee High Boots, Military Boots/Dr Marten's, High Heels, Sneakers

Bags: Clutches, Totes, Cross-body Bags, Drawstring bags, Handbags

Accessories: Fedoras, Sunglasses, Beanies, Watches, Leather Gloves, Jewelry, Scarves

Upper Body:

Skin Layer (Optional): Skin-tight Tank Tops, Spaghetti-strap Singlets

Base Layer: Turtlenecks, Button-down Shirts, T-shirts

Middle Layer: Cardigans, Denim Jackets, Blazers, Cashmere Sweaters, Knit Sweaters, Leather Jackets, Varsity Jackets, Sweatshirts

Top Layer: Over-sized Leather Jackets, Coats, Puffy Jackets, Fur Coats, Trench Coats

The simple formula, as you would have guessed by now, is 

Base + Middle + Top

I suggest categorizing your outerwear based on their categories above, so in the morning, all you do is pull one piece from each category and voila - you are a layering-pro! Then all you'll need is find a pair of bottoms, shoes and accessories and you're dashing out the door.

Here are 15 of my favorite combinations that will last you for two weeks: 

Turtleneck + Cardigan + Leather Jacket

Turtleneck + Denim Jacket + Coat

Turtleneck + Blazer + Coat

Button-down Shirt + Cashmere Sweater + Puffy Jacket

T-shirt + Leather Jacket + Coat

Button-down Shirt + Knit Sweater + Fur Coat

Knitted dress + Trench coat + Double Scarves

Button-down shirt + Cashmere Sweater + Coat

T-shirt + Sweater + Fur Coat

Turtleneck + Varsity Jackets + Coat

T-shirt + Sweatshirt + Coat

Button-down shirt + Turtleneck Sweater + Jacket

Dress + Trench Coat + Poncho

Turtleneck + Sweater + Coat

Button-down shirt + Sweater + Leather Jacket

T-shirt + Knit Sweater + Puffy Jacket

I hope this inspires you to start experimenting with winter layering! It's actually lots of fun and if you start documenting your outfits by taking a selfie in the mirror before you leave your house, you can have a collection of layered outfits you can refer back to when you are in a fashion rut. Or, you can bookmark this post right now so you can quickly refer to it in the mornings :)

Let me know if this is useful - I'd love to get some feedback! Or, share your favorite layering combination below - I'd love to add it to my list!

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Saturday, April 25, 2015


I love how versatile skirts can be, especially if they are of the adjustable kind. Halfway through the day, the heat got the better of me, and I decided to take my pants off and wear my skirt the way it was meant to be worn. Which look do you prefer?

Elle Louise leather skirt (worn as a top in the first pic, and then as a skirt for the second)
Billini "Raven" boots - "BAMITS15" for 15% off their website

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia ended about a week ago, and I had the absolute pleasure to attend the shows of some of my favorite Australian designers, like Manning Cartell, Alice McCall, Ixiah, Raffles (Any Step was my favorite designer from that collection - I got to chat with them backstage), Jayson Brunsdon, Bianca Spender, Galanni, The Innovators (I loved Worn), Swim Runway (shout out to Jewels + Grace for putting me in front row!), Zhivago (loved the shoes and set music - but more on that later), Leonardo Salinis and so on. I also loved seeing international designers on Australian shore, notably TOME from New York and Wang Yu Tao from China.

In terms of production, I was absolutely moved by Jayson Brunsdon - the first and only time this year a designer got my heart racing. The set was gorgeous - as you walked in, buckets of red roses were lying in the middle of the runway next to white benches. The theme was, evidently, Romance, and the collection was made up of dresses and suits in reds and blacks. The music was also about celebrating love, and towards the end of the show where the models came out in a line together, red confetti started falling from out of nowhere - it was a shower! I stole a red rose on my way out - I hope you don't mind, Mr. Brunsdon!

Here is a breakdown of what I wore:

Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse heels
JAG 'Audrey' skinny jeans (it's on sale now! wee)
Samantha Wills necklace
Samantha Wills Bardot ring in white and gold

photos by Michelle Xu and Jang Yooon

Monday, April 20, 2015


Sidewards rain and defenseless umbrellas are causing me to reminisce about summer and the beautiful lace dresses I wore all throughout it. The intricate lace details on the back and the sleeves of this dress makes me feel like a delicate little princess.

I shot this dress a while ago with Michelle, towards the end of summer. We felt like tourists in our own city, ooh-ing and ahh-ing about the coloured walls and the sun diffusing through the leaves of a tall peppercorn tree. The Rocks seems to have hidden staircases that lead to interesting European-looking buildings and cobbled-stone paths. At one point, we were stopped by a group of tourists who got lost, and if it weren't for Michelle keeping track of where we came from, I'd probably have to redirect them to an app called Google Maps.

seed heritage shoes
equip accessories headband

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Beyond excited to be able to finally release these photos as my entry to the Staple style challenge. Dennis and I wandered around the streets of Sydney and found this cool red phone booth that screamed 'editorial-worthy'. It was actually a little awkward, as while we were shooting, tourists were walking past and giving us weird looks as if we were crazy!

The unexpected red from my dress sleeve inspired me to put on red lipstick, red nails and red shoes. I wanted red roses for this editorial too, but alas, I realised that no one sells red roses on Sundays. WHY? What's wrong with Sundays and roses?

Massive thanks to Staple the Label, Naked Vice, QT Gold Coast and Minimalist Store for this opportunity. You can view the other entries from my fellow Australian blogger friends by going through the hashtag #StapleStyleChallenge on Instagram.

sunday somewhere sunglasses
louis vuitton red shoes
louis vuitton chain louise in black
mango leather jacket
samantha wills rings
elegant touch nails
YSL red lipstick via Sephora

photo by dennis ardel

Monday, April 13, 2015


For some inexplicable reason, attending fashion week always leaves me in a fashion rut rather than a fashion #inspo fest. I think it has to do with the over-thinking of outfits and knowing that people within the industry will be judging you based on what you wear.

This is when fashion formulas come in handy for me. I mix my combinations up quite a bit, but lately I have been pulling together outfits with this simple formula in mind: black, leopard and khaki/olive.

Inspired by the wild life and natural habitat, all three of these colors work so well together. Who would have thought that Sir David Attenborough would have an influence on my sartorial choices?

So, I've got a mission for you for today: pull out all your khaki and leopard pieces/accessories you own in your wardrobe, and start playing mix and match, incorporating your blacks. You'd be surprised at how effortless morning dressing can now be, without defaulting to monochrome.

louis vuitton leopard pumps

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Sunday, April 05, 2015


I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair of white jeans for AGES now, so I am so glad I found these Uniqlo ones! When I was trying it in the change room, there were unfortunately way too long for my petite frame (it was 33"). Thankfully, they offered a free altering service and I was able to pick my jeans up on the same day! I highly recommend Uniqlo for the great service, comfort and affordability. I think I mentioned this on my Instagram before, but I seriously swear by Japanese denim! 

You can see from the photos that I'm wearing my jeans with the cuff folded on the ankles, but that's because I wanted to reveal my ankles for an illusion of longer legs (GREAT, handy tip!). I like the fact that I can easily fold them down again for full length should I want to tuck them into knee-high boots, which I will, come winter!

I wore this outfit out to a friend's birthday dinner, and my guy friends went "Jo, why are you wearing your bra on the outside?" I had to explain to them that it's fashion! So, to continue on the #BreakTheRules series that I started... (see last post), wear a black crop top or swimsuit over your white T-shirt! Something for y'all to experiment with over the long weekend, perhaps? ;-)

keepsake the label iphone 5 case
louis vuitton leopard pumps
st frock white tee (ps i think the model here is the blondie from Sketche SHE! wahhh)
nails by elegant touch
eylure lashes in no. 121
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