Fashion designer Lisa Gorman resigns from her own label after 22 years

The Melbourne fashion scene has become even gloomier with the departure of Gorman founder and creative director Lisa Gorman from the business she founded 22 years ago. In a move set to upset the legion of “Gormies,” fans who flood the social media hashtag #showusyourgorman with selfies wearing the brand’s signature kaleidoscopic prints, Gorman announced her decision to part ways with parent company Factory X.

“It is with some emotion, and a lot of gratitude, that I will be leaving my position as creative director of the Gorman Brand. The Gorman label has achieved a level of recognition within the Australian fashion landscape that I could not have imagined when I started out in 1999,” Gorman said in an official statement.

Designer Lisa Gorman in 2019, with model Domanique Hutchins wearing a dress with artwork from Mangkaja Artists.Credit:Janie Barrett

“I thank those that made it happen. My incredible design team, all my staff, partners and the 114 artists I have had the pleasure of collaborating with over two decades.”

Long before other labels such as Aje and Alemais began working with artists, Gorman pioneered colourful collaborations, introducing the work of Rhys Lee, Dana Kinter and the Mangkaja Arts community in the Kimberly, to her fiercely loyal customers.

“It allows me to build a business based on different elements of design,” Gorman told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2016, when she released her Mirka Mora collaboration. “As we’ve grown, the collaborations have grown.”

In 2019 Gorman’s artistic enterprises were marked with a pop-up exhibition at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Heidelberg.

Artist Mirka Mora in her studio in Richmond, wearing the Gorman dress she collaborated on in August, 2016.Credit:James Geer

Despite being outspoken on issues of sustainability in fashion (Gorman first released an organic cotton collection in 2007) the company came under fire in 2016 when Factory X received a failing grade in the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Report because it declined to take part. Gorman defended her principles and since then, Baptist World Aid Australia has thanked Factory X “for making a credible commitment to pay a living wage to employees.”

Gorman’s career in fashion began as a sales assistant for bridal designer Mariana Hardwick, after working for eight years as a nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 1999, she launched Gorman following a successful capsule collection for friends Rachael Cotra and Kym Purtell’s Fat store, in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

The label was picked up by Myer in 2004, defected to David Jones in 2008 and in 2010 was partly acquired by Factory X, owners of Jack London, Dangerfield and Alannah Hill.

A model walks the runway in a design by Gorman during the Aquarium runway show at Melbourne Fashion Week at Sea Life on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“Lisa joined the Factory X team 12 years ago bringing the Gorman brand to the business. We would like to thank her for her enormous contribution over the many years in building up the Gorman label,” said managing director David Heene.

No announcement has been made about a replacement for Gorman, with the brand continuing to operate under the existing creative team.

There are currently more than 50 Gorman stores operating in Australia and New Zealand. Gorman was happy to stay close to home rather than chase international success.

“When I started Gorman, in 1999 … There was a lot of opportunity for small, young designers,” she said in 2019. “I always take inspiration from my local environment. I don’t feel the need to go to exotic places to get inspiration. I get a lot of inspiration from what I get in the street, from people doing their daily thing.”

Gorman, who is married to 20th Century furniture dealer Dean Angelucci, hinted that the “Gormies” may have future projects to look forward to in her departure notice.

“This chapter has now closed for me personally, making way for new creative endeavours. For
those continuing the label into the future, I wish you all the very best and I have no doubt
you will continue to bring the beauty of colour and print into the world of our customer.”

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.

Most Viewed in Lifestyle

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article