City Announces Urban Couture Ambassadors

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Fashion icons Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson have been announced as the City of Joondalup’s Urban Couture Ambassadors for 2019.

Now in its eighth year, Urban Couture is a dynamic fashion program that aims to support the Western Australian fashion industry and bring emerging fashion designers, photographers, textile artists and creative business entrepreneurs to the northern corridor of Perth.

Each year the program engages with fashion and costume design students at Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and both North and South Metropolitan TAFE.

Kee was born in Sydney in 1947 to a Chinese father and Italian mother. She worked with stylist and vintage trailblazer Vern Lambert at London’s Chelsea Antique Market, and for over 40 years her work has appeared on silk, paper, wool, ceramics and canvas. Her designs are world renowned, exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian National Gallery, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Marimura Museum in Tokyo and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Jackson was born in Melbourne in 1950 and is a designer, fashion retailer and artist. In the 1970s she collaborated with artists such as David McDiarmid and Peter Tully, who hand-painted fabrics for Jackson’s dresses and provided jewellery to complement her outfits.

Jackson has travelled throughout outback Australia, living and working with Aboriginal communities. She was one of many Australian artists and fashion designers featured in the exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum called Australian Fashion: the Contemporary Art.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of June 2018, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson were both awarded an AO (Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia) for distinguished service to the Australian fashion industry as a textile artist and clothing designer and through contributions to the environment and conservation.

One of their most famous collaborations is the chunky-knit koala jumper that Diana, Princess of Wales was photographed wearing at a polo match.

The image of Diana in a knit jumper with a koala on the front and map of Australia on the back made headlines around the world.

The jumper resulted in their store being bombarded with orders for knitwear, including the koala knit, and they were asked to design a ‘Blinki Di’ version for The Australian Women’s Weekly readers to make at home.

Jackson says it is an honour for her and Kee to be the Urban Couture Ambassadors for 2019 and they are both looking forward to coming to Joondalup.

“It means a lot to us as it coincides with us researching into our archives for several fabulous projects,” she said.

“Working together in Sydney in the ’70s saw the beginning of our collaboration and long-term friendship, and it is timely that we can share some of our colourful stories with the young artists and designers in Western Australia.

“It will be exciting for us to see the innovation that is happening in Joondalup and we are looking forward to being involved in so many special programs.” Linda Jackson

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said securing Kee and Jackson as 2019 Urban Couture Ambassadors was a huge coup for the City.

“From their influential Bush Couture studio to establishing their boutique ‘Flamingo Park’ in Sydney in the 1970s, both Jenny and Linda are pioneers and true legends of the Australian fashion industry,” Mayor Jacob said.

“They join a long and distinguished line of featured program ambassadors including Renae Ayris, Samantha Harris, Jaime Lee Major, Romance Was Born, Karen Walker and Patricia Field, underlining the reputation Joondalup has of being a bold, creative and prosperous global city.

“In 2018, Urban Couture supported 14 designers, 15 artists and ten fashion photographers in a program of 14 events, attracting over 7,000 visitors throughout February and March, and we look forward to another successful program in 2019.”

The Urban Couture program runs from 1 to 24 March 2019 and features fashion shows, exhibitions, workshops and designer talk nights.

View the Urban Couture events