When Gloria Dulcie founder and designer Alexandra Coleborn describes her label, she says with affirmation that it’s a collection of quality pieces with a poetic touch. The brand, just clocking over two years in production, was inspired by over 10 years in fashion, art and design, as well as years of her travelling around the globe and a passion for slow living.
Growing up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Alex rode horses and immersed herself in art. It was there that she got to know and love a slow lifestyle, so it was only natural that her fashion sense would embody that.
After leaving school at the end of year 10, Alex completed a diploma in fashion and set off travelling around the globe, spending the majority of her time in Canada and eventually Bali where she started Gloria Dulcie. It wasn’t until she was there that she saw the opportunity to bring her label to life.
“Living in Bali gave me access to production so it wasn’t until then that I got serious about putting together the collections. That’s where the first two collections were produced, but it was always my intention to bring the production back to Australia.” Alex says.
She quickly realised that having the clothes made in a factory didn’t align with her values, saying that they made the clothes really cheaply and she found it hard to get a straight answer out of the factory manager as to how the clothes were made and how much the staff were paid.
“I’ve never been a big shopper myself and never chased fast fashion or clothes that were ‘on trend’, so it didn’t make sense to me to make clothes in that way. I knew straight away this wasn’t what I wanted my label to represent,” Alex says.
But finding a factory that was run sustainably and up for producing small quantities was not as easy as she had hoped, so Alex set out to bring the production back to Australia.
“That’s when I decided to enrol in the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s fashion accelerator – a business course that helps fashion labels realise and achieve their goals,” Alex says.
“The fashion accelerator really helped me to get Gloria Dulcie off the ground in Australia. It helped me to source fabrics here, find producers, and develop the business. I found the mentors to be really helpful and inspirational, they’re truly dedicated to helping the designers bring their dreams to life.”
Gloria Dulcie is in the process of making its first onshore collection, which will be produced in Brisbane by a local family of tailors. It will be made 100% from linen which is environmentally-friendly in production and at the end of its life cycle.
Alex says she’s going to stick with sustainable textiles like organic cotton and linen, and she’s looking to use wool and kangaroo leather in the next collection as well.
She’s also working on a specialty print that will be used on embroidery that features some of her own artwork of Australian native orchids, which will feature on a modern-style driza bone jacket.
The next Gloria Dulcie collection will launch mid-February 2018. Applications are open for QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s 2018 fashion accelerator program. Find out more here.