One Of The Australian Fashion Industry’s Most Luminous Talents, Julie’s Creative And Spiritual Energy Is Seen In Everyone Of Her Gorgeous Handmade Designs.
As An Iconic Australian Fashion Designer, What Are The Creative Influences That Compel Your Business Forward?
My creative influences are wide and varied; from music to travel, photography and even the life events of the women around me.
Our clothes are part of our identity, they are intrinsic to us. My purpose has always been to enable women to adorn themselves in pieces that make them feel beautiful and confident, every day. The Tengdahl Woman is Feminine, Emotionally Intelligent and Spherical. Our clients value luxury, but also want functionality and longevity. The Tengdahl Label is intergenerational; clients range from early 20s through to late 60s – so the influences that are around me are a great source of inspiration, when I am designing, I often have a particular ‘Woman’ in mind.
Do You Have A Daily Routine Or Certain Rituals?
Each day is different but there are some common threads that help keep me feeling rejuvenated, focused and creative; starting with meditation in the morning, and ending with a relaxed family dinner.
A Typical Day In Your Life?
After meditation and a great home brewed coffee I spend some time thinking about how I would like the day to flow, the days’ best outcomes and priorities. Then it is off to the Workroom. My production manager Heather and I usually start by going through samples from the day before of new styles coming into store, the next production schedule and ironing out any fitting and production issues. Not every day is routined – I certainly have a lot of variety in every day!
What Lessons Have You Learnt Along The Way?
It is a common platitude, but I have learned to trust my ‘Female Intuition’. I have also learned that we never stop learning; fashion is such a fast moving and evolving industry, you have to be looking ahead while also putting all of your efforts into the present; whether that is a client I am styling, a new team member I am training, new website I am developing or a design I am finalizing. I love knowing that there is still so much to discover and learn.
“As You Think So Shall You Be” Dr Wayne Dyer from his book, Real Magic.
Your Beautiful Clothes Are Designed And Handmade in Brisbane Australia, Why?
This is probably one of my proudest achievements, we have always produced locally, for many reasons. Firstly, I am passionate about supporting local jobs in the fashion industry. From pattern makers through to machinists, we have some incredible talent here and we need to support these jobs. I am also passionate about ‘Ethical Fashion’ – the working conditions, pay and supply chain has to be sustainable and fair, otherwise the fashion doesn’t matter. Also, producing locally has enabled me to have a unique business model and scalability that has ensured the financial success of the business. I can respond quickly to my clients’ needs, the seasonal changes or tweak designs and fabrics quickly. This provides a symbiotic relationship between my clients, the designs and my own creative direction.
What Hardships And Obstacles Have You Faced Along Your Creative Business Journey?
In the three decades that I have been in the industry, we have had recessions, downturns, natural disasters, the impact of China and online. All of these things have strengthened my business because they have caused me to reflect on my business model, my market and my role in the industry. Developing a strong brand, staying true to my ‘Roots’ and recognising that your clients’ happiness and confidence is intrinsic to the business has helped me overcome these hurdles.
Your Inspirations / Role Models And Or Mentors?
The women around me are my best role models. They challenge me emotionally, spiritually and physically. When I am too serious they always manage to make me smile and realise how blessed we all are.
How Do You Organize Your Business And Time?
With a job that is easy to take home – and can often require after-hours time – it has been an evolving process to perfect the ‘balance’ and ensure I have adequate down time with family and friends. Preserving energy for my family has to take priority; and I also take an overseas ‘Inspiration Journey’ every year on my own. For the past two years, I have travelled to India for several weeks alone, and spent time in remote places that have forced me to centre myself and I find this actually helps calibrate my time once I am back home much better.
Which Personality Traits Do You Admire In Others?
Because I have spent so much time in stores with so many different women over the years, I have come to realize that there are admirable personality traits in everyone. I am drawn to people who think deeply, have a positive mindset and radiate an inner confidence and self-image.
What Is Your Dream Vacation Destination?
Qualia on Hamilton Island is my favourite romantic destination. I can unwind, soak in the sun and rejuvenate spiritually. It is truly the most beautiful place on Earth.
Your 5 Most Desirable Dinner Guests?
Elle Macpherson, Hugh Jackman, Taylor Swift, Barack Obama and Brad Pitt
Tetsuya, Sydney Australia
Do You Travel Specifically For Tengdahl Or Travel And Let Inspiration Come To You?
I used to travel each year to Paris and Milan for Inspiration and to meet with suppliers, but now I tend to mix it up with trips to places that are more off the beaten track. I love my European holidays, where I can mix business and pleasure and in doing so stumble across some amazing influences, but I am also enjoying the journey of far-off places that are less well know, where I can meet Artisans in their street who have spent generations honing their craft, and bring part of that back here to Australia through elements, fabrics or finishings in my designs.
Name 3 Artists From Your iTunes Library?
Deva Premal, Jean Pierre Garatton and U2 are on regular rotation at the moment.
Something You Have Learnt Recently?
To listen to my intuition and understand the flow of life because if we choose a ‘Higher Thought’ everything does really work out for the best.
What Is The Highlight Of Your Career So Far?
In recent years the highlight has been my Spring/Summer Collection, which is launched at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival.
The last two years Collections have bucked current economic trends, to be the most successful Collections of my 30 years in business.
Every year we have built upon the previous year, and exceeded the benchmark set by our biggest days of trading so far. After all these years in business, it is very exciting to still be setting new goals and surpassing them.
In What Manner Do You Relax And Unwind?
On an everyday basis, I unwind by doing Yoga or playing Tennis. I also love nothing more than settling in at night over a family dinner to discuss the days’ events with my family. They are all at very exciting stages of their own lives, and it is replenishing and grounding to hear about the directions, dreams and challenges they are living right now. I also spend a time each year at a Retreat, be it locally or in Ashrams overseas. This can be confronting at first, when coming from a busy lifestyle, but with discipline it has proven to be incredibly valuable in relaxing, recharging and aligning my mindset.
The Best Advice You Have Ever Been Given?
Creatively… ” You Need To Give Yourself Space In The Mind To Dream And Create”
Spiritually ” Sometimes To Have To Be In The Dark To See The Light ”
Is Your Glass Half Full?
My Glass is Overflowing! I am eternally grateful for the abundance in my life; at home, work, within my community and when I am on my own – turning 50 highlighted that to me. There is beautiful aspects to every stage of life, but this phase in mine would have to be described as ‘Abundant’!
Julie’s Beautiful Garments can be purchased at Tengdahl Brisbane Arcade and Tengdahl Emporium Stores in Brisbane Australia and also online at Tengdahl.