Retro vibes & Hollywood glam

Fashion designer Bree-Lacey loves the glamour and flattering designs from the 1940s to the 1960s.

“I have always adored vintage fashion growing up,” says Bree-Lacey, who is wearing one of her own designs, a gorgeous ruby-red dress with a tight bodice and flowing A-line skirt.
“I loved Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe and all of the beautiful Hollywood films. I just loved how feminine and elegant it was, but at the time, it wasn’t readily available.

“I didn’t really fit into modern, Australian styling, and with my pale complexion, I just can’t do the blonde, beach tanned look. “I also grew up in the church and had always wanted to find something that I could do to make the world a better place. “But I knew I wasn’t a schoolteacher, a missionary or a nurse.”

After travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia and seeing firsthand how poorly workers in the fashion industry were being treated, she “decided to go into the fashion industry, to design the feminine fashion I adore and have it produced ethically, to provide jobs and income, particularly for women.”
Right from the start, she combined a vintage inspired aesthetic with a strong focus on quality, pieces that are “done well and will last a long time.”

At first, Bree did all the sewing herself but now has some of her designs manufactured via Fair Sew, providing a living wage for women in Cambodia.

Bree-Lacey in her charming Hunter Street store. She sews some of her own designs, as well as to-order pieces in-store.

Her shop, With Love Bree-Lacey showcases her own designs, inspired by the trends of the 1940s to the 1960s and carries vintage-inspired fashion from a carefully considered short list of other, high-quality fashion labels, such as House of Foxy or Gatsby Lady, going back all the way to the roaring 1920s.

A lot of her customers are looking for an outfit for a special event, but she also offers casual, every-day wear (“Even Audrey Hepburn wasn’t always dressed up for an occasion.”), a range of children’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

“Vintage is such a flattering style and so easy to wear. Many people think it’s not very forgiving, but it actually is. I love when my customers try out vintage for the first time and realise how well it suits them.”

A colourful future

Between extended construction projects in the East End, a global pandemic, and large shopping centres drawing customers away from the city centre, both Alie Jane and Bree-Lacey have weathered some tough times.

But with travel restrictions easing and special occasions being celebrated in style once again, business has been picking up. So let’s all support our local makers and creatives. See you on Hunter Street!

289 Hunter Street, Newcastle East. Open Tuesday to Friday 10am – 5pm; Monday and Saturday 10am – 4pm

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Frank Schulze