The Europeans have this distinct unique way of expressing themselves through fashion. My love of fashion grew out of my sisters garage in Uki, New South Wales, but flourished in international magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.
I learned to sew in that garage. My sister already had a business creating unique tie dyed clothing for children. My twin sister and I had an obsession with Barbie and had lost our impressive collection when our house burnt down, aged 10. The community came together and we ended up with more Barbie's than we knew what to do with! Kat had the ingenious idea of combining her tie dying with our massive (and losing popularity with puberty) Barbie collection, and thus "Feral Sheryl" was born!
At the time it was all a bit of fun. Designs were glued onto the dolls, along with glitter face paint and hair techno colours, until we were trusted enough to use The Singer - a gorgeous old school sewing machine which we only broke it a few dozen times.
I soon had replaced all my dolls with Dolly, my school books with Girlfriend, and my nursery rhymes with the Spice Girl anthems.
For our 15th birthday I asked my Mum for a subscription to Dolly magazine. I got instead an ex race pony, whom I called 'White Cloud'. I cried for most of the year, and threw tantrums whenever I had to take riding lessons. It was torture having to trade my mini skirts for jodhpur pants, Gel sandals for riding boots, and thats without mentioning my manicure!
Mum questioned her mothering skills, not believing that her decision to raise us in a wholesome Hare Krsna, vegetarian, television-free, wooden house an hour from civilization, would lead to the "shallowest materialistic obsession and career aspiration as Fashion Design".
How could I prove to her, and to myself, that fashion was not just a phase of puberty. Isn't it natural to always want what we don't have? I had dreams of suburban paradise - a brick house with picket fence, pool, friendly neighbours, milk and cookies after school and lets face it, seen as we had to ride the school bus, why not make it a yellow one!
I wanted curly hair and new clothes. I had kinky hair and stained Saint Vinnies outcasts.
My determination to be always right, meant I had to delve deeper and develop my approach to fashion. There had to be more sophisticated meaning to dressing up.
It wasn't hard.
My background being involved Hindu religion taught me that taking care of you appearance was more than just to look good and impress. Everyday Indian women wake up and dress in their finest jewelry and Saris. You can find them doing their housework, head to toe in silk and gold. Dressing this way ensured they would be treated equally despite what caste system they belonged in. The Kenyan Africans are similar, as are the traditional Japanese Geisha's.
For me, it meant an escape from my environment. I could be whomever I wanted, simply by the way I dressed.
We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but how else would we improve book sales? It is human nature to judge. Its part of our survival. Its a beautiful thing when we can look beyond an appearance...
Julian was dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans when we first met. He was confident, articulate and clearly "cool".
Hello Italy ;)