We chat to Alexandra Coleborn, Founder and Creative Director of Gloria Dulcie, about what’s next for the Brisbane based fashion label.
Having worked in fashion boutiques in her hometown on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, while studying a Diploma in Fashion, Textiles and Merchandising, it was Alex’s two-month trip to Europe that finally inspired her to kick-start her own label. Later moving to Bali to be with her family, she began combining her experience in fashion buying, her mountains of ideas, and her own personal style until slowly, Gloria Dulcie was born. Now living in Brisbane, we caught up with her to see what she has planned for the label.
How did you get into the fashion industry?
I left school and studied for a Diploma in Fashion, Textiles and Merchandising whilst working part-time in a boutique on the Sunshine Coast. After graduating I worked three jobs in fashion retail before moving to Canada at 19. I continued working in fashion and after a few years of living between Australia and Canada I travelled Europe before moving to Bali where I began establishing Gloria Dulcie.
What inspired you to start your label?
To create my own label had been a long-time desire of mine. My personal taste alongside my acquired knowledge of fashion always enabled my voice to be heard in the various boutiques I worked in. I assisted in showings and buying trips and found I had a well-developed aptitude for trendspotting. Ever since graduating my diploma, I have never been without a design sketchbook and a hard drive brimming with personal inspirations. After spending two months travelling Europe by myself, I was overwhelmed with ideas for my own label.
What are some of the hurdles you’ve had to overcome in creating your brand?
There has been so many! They’re almost constant haha. My biggest has been ﬁnding an ethical manufacturer that will do limited production runs. I ﬁrst began manufacturing in Bali but due to my mistrust of the factory practice, the misogyny and serious lack of quality, I decided to work towards ﬁnding an Australian manufacturer. I am proud to say our new collection, The Ripening Seed, is all made locally in Brisbane!
What are the three personal traits that have got you to where you are today?
Passionate, considerate and resilient.
Finish this sentence: I wish fashion….
…would slow down.
What has been a pivotal moment in your career?
I was accepted into the Fashion Accelerator Program at QUT this year and spent six months pivoting Gloria Dulcie. I learnt a phenomenal amount about the industry, met invaluable professionals and had the most incredible mentor, Thuy Nguyen. With the support from all of my facilitators during the program I launched my new collection with such conﬁdence and gained industry recognition that I otherwise would not have.
What do you wish you knew early on in the Gloria Dulcie journey?
I wish I knew just how heavily people focus on your “following”. I was in such denial of the juggernaut that is social media. Trusting that people had a little more independence when it came to their consumer habits or taking on a new label in-store. I’ve slowly learnt to enjoy it…everyone loves a good hit of dopamine.
Describe your creative process?
I am so easily moved, many things inspire me deeply. The perfection of nature’s palette, the view from a window, a braid in my niece’s hair, a vintage photograph, a song, a word in a book. These seemingly ﬂeeting moments run in my head, creating a rich world of images and emotions that build and begin to deﬁne the direction of a new collection.
And what do you do when you get stuck?
Go outside and hang out with my plants…then revert to my archives with new eyes and see how things develop. If that doesn’t work, I stop. I’m a ﬁrm believer in creative rhythm. You really can’t force it.
What places, cultures, music, whatever, inspire you?
I am fascinated by surrealism, I have an avid affection for plants and the natural world, I am entranced by the world of David Lynch, am enamoured with Hope Sandoval. I adore surf rock, classic novels and cult ﬁlms. I love the whimsical, the witty, the ridiculous…
Which is your fave piece right now?
The ‘Motion Pictures’ dress from our new collection ‘The Ripening Seed’. It’s that dreamy summer essential that will take you anywhere.
What is your vision of Gloria Dulcie ﬁve years from now?
My vision for Gloria Dulcie is a rather philanthropic one. One of the biggest motives behind my desire for success is the passion to help and inspire others. Particularly Australia’s Indigenous people. I am currently working on a small collection of not for proﬁt t-shirts and tote bags that promote the plight of our Indigenous Rangers. I truly believe their Work on Country is absolutely invaluable in terms of protecting our land and sea whilst providing positive social and cultural outcomes. Timelines kind of overwhelm me but 5 years from now I see Gloria Dulcie stocked Internationally with our own G.D boutique. The most important thing to me is to be a well-recognised Social Enterprise. Which we will be!
Best piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own fashion label?
Really consider the “why”. Sit down and write it out with complete honesty. Any business will lack integrity without a solid foundation of why you are doing what you are doing.
Describe your brand’s aesthetic?
Gloria Dulcie is an independent, ethical luxury label that celebrates the complex sensitivities of modern woman. Inspired by those exceptional creatives, that witty irreverence, honest beauty and spirited conﬁdence, Gloria Dulcie blossomed in the radiance of modern femininity. Our focus is to create quality pieces with a poetic touch. Pieces deﬁned by their subtle details. Gloria Dulcie whilst adaptable and complimentary seeks to re-evoke the desire for personal style.
What type of person is a Gloria Dulcie woman?
The Gloria Dulcie woman is socially aware. She is a lover of music, the arts and exploration. She has embraced her femininity, believes in a sustainable future and communicates her ideals through fashion. Not typically brand loyal, she prefers to blend elements of different designers creating her own unique style. Whilst trend aware she does not allow herself to be governed by it.
When you’ve had a rough day, how do you deal with it?
Haha! Usually with wine and a sook to either my partner, girlfriend, Mum or Sister until they can convince me of how much I have actually achieved…then we make jokes. Then I regain my perspective on just how privileged I am.
Whose style do you admire and why?
There’s really no one particular person. It’s all about those unabashed women whose style is independent of trend. Women who know themselves and seem to truly understand ﬁt and balance. As Cate Blanchett recently said, style is about “Women who know how they look, it’s not all of who they are but just an extension of that, and it’s about women who feel free to wear what they want, when they want and how they want to wear it.”
Stuck in trafﬁc, where does your mind wander?
Wherever Radio National takes me.
What’s the most inﬂuential piece of clothing that you own?
Deﬁnitely my 1930’s silk velvet, bolero jacket. I assume it’s Turkish due to the embroidery and embellishment. It always inspires me and makes me feel like a total glamour.
Finish this sentence…when you wear Gloria Dulcie…
…try not to spill anything.
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