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Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Editorial, Events, Melbourne Fashion Festival

Tickets on Ourselves

March 17
Model on the fashion runway observed by front row fashionistas and bloggers sitting in "the frow".

Influencers realised they could turn themselves into a business by charging hundreds or thousands for posts, they appointed managers and this led to the ascent of blogger agencies signing talent to work with brands.

Suzanne Carbone


We all know that fashion bloggers and style influencers love fashion events. And why wouldn’t they? So do I. It is the chance to connect with people who live, work and breathe the fashion blog and fashion industry. To literally dive into the arena of fashion, design, styling, and the creative minds behind the expression of the runway is what keeps these events alive. The passion and enthusiasm abounds at events such as VAMFF. My most recent fashion fix. It is also a buzz to talk to likeminded fashionistas whose minds connect through the vehicle of fashion passion. Like all industries however, events like this do come with their problems. It was noticeable to me this time, the passive aggressive feel that lingered across the entire week around the subject of who could be seated in “The Frow”. So called because it is so easy to be seen with a frown!

When did attending a runway show become so stressful? Where one feels undervalued if they are not chosen to sit front row? And, what, if anything, constitutes the right to sit front row? Unless of course, you are, in all seriousness, a serious lover of fashionwho will, during the event, after the event, work generally, consistently and diligently, towards the growth, success and support of the fashion industry?

I would have to question why there needs to be such an unhealthy fixation with sitting in “the frow”, but do agree that the people who do sit on in “the frow”, should have adequate influence in order to create ‘good’ from their premium seating.

In Suzanne Carbone’s article this month in The Age, leading up to VAMFF, she says that “450 bloggers and influencers have applied for accreditation compared with 200 traditional print and broadcast media”.

I would argue that if The Blonde Salad, Gary Pepper, or Rosie of The Londoner was at VAMFF, sure, give the girls the best seat in the front row! With nearly 8 million Instagram followers between them, they obviously rule the blogosphere. Yeah baby! Wouldn’t that just be too cool for the galaxy of Australian fashion!


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I do think however, for a reasonably small event, at least on the world scale, with not quite several hundred fashion bloggers across the country, we should even out the distribution of these seats a little more evenly across the general sector of attendees.

That would mean, VIP’s, fashion buyers, bloggers, journalists, magazine editors, and devotees. Surely there is enough love to share around?

I know quite a few bloggers and style influencers who were not invited to events this year, and were disappointed. Their disappointment in many cases meant they did not attend at all. This I thought was a great shame. It is the bombardment of these faithful devotees which makes these events more interesting, more attended, more photographed, more publicised and generally more successful.

I do think it a shame that invitations on mass cannot be sent out, but I do understand from a costing point of view, that these expensive events need to be carefully curated and funded.

My individual passion is such, that I often pay to attend these events. I am often very fortunate to be able to attend and not pay, but I make sure that I pay back in kind. In the form of a great article, in response to what has been gifted to me. It is fact of life that everything we do, costs money. We all know that nothing is free. Nothing. I do wonder at times, why bloggers think it is their right to be invited to events for free, and even though I am a fashion editor/blogger myself, I recognise the need to support these events with real dollars. This currency, like it or not, is the only way these designers and all other people who are involved in the industry survive. That is the reality.

It is the world we now seem to live in where everyone feels ‘entitled’ to receive something for free. There is a total lack of interest in who pays, as long as we are assured that we don’t have to.

We are drowning in a sea of self importance, and narcissism. We expect our hands to be held in every way, without pulling out the stops, and working ethically towards building one’s following through the vehicle of what used to be the norm. Just sheer hard work.

I love to be invited to events and shows.

It does not equate however to me showcasing someone, or not.

Paying for tickets keeps events going. It support industries. It keeps people in jobs. It allows growth. And secures a future.

If we really believe in our local fashion industry, no matter where it happens in Australia, isn’t it worth buying a ticket?

If we can encourage people, consumers and bloggers alike, to understand why this is such a necessity, then we will sure up a wonderful strong future for the industry we all love, and loose these “tickets on ourselves”.

Until next time,

Jade xx




Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Editorial, Shopping

Gotta Love Women

March 2
Model Irina Shayk in black dress and glasses with long dark hair.

From the editor’s desk …


I’m sure some women DO shop because they actually need clothes, shoes and bags … I just don’t know any of them.


As a long time lover of designer fashion, and a stylist of many years, I have been thinking a great deal lately about being a woman.

As a woman I love being able to enjoy gorgeous designer labels, makeup, perfume and all the lovely things that are so readily available. I take enjoyment from such things every day.

This started me thinking a lot about the various roles that we have as women and I noted just a few.

We are mothers, friends, wives, girlfriends, mentors, colleagues, nurses, cooks, ironing ladies, confidantes, step parents, counsellors, sports coaches, taxi drivers, stylists, decorators, gardeners, CEOs, marketing directors, volunteers, and ambassadors.

Often we are all of these things in one day. I know I have been, sometimes 365 days in a row.

Women have so many varied roles to play in their lives. No wonder we often feel pulled in many directions and struggle to get it all done.

I thought I would share some information from a group of women I know about WHY women shop.

It will make you laugh.

I certainly found myself in this list.  Maybe you will too …

Women Shop because

They are premenstrual.
They have their period.
They are turning 50.
They are turning 40.
Their husband is turning 50.
They found a grey hair.
Their husband is turning grey.
They dented the car.
They need glasses to read texts.
Their husband lot his job.
They found out their child is gay.
They found out their partner is gay.
It is the first day of the school holidays.
Their mother is here from London to stay for a month.
It is the last day of the school holidays.
They are having a fat day.
They are expecting a baby that wasn’t planned.
They just ate a cake in the middle of their diet.
Their mammogram appointment is tomorrow.
Their husband just bought a chainsaw when you are desperate for a holiday?

Sound familiar?

The wonderful sisterhood. Yep, gotta love us.

mwah x

Until next time,

Jade xx

Label Ministry logo which is a picture of a stylised coathanger

Bloggers, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, Instagram, Interview, Photography, Styling

To Love, Honour & Instagram

February 16
Anna from Mother Pukka, with her daughter Mae, in Shoreditch. Photographed outside the Splice TV building painted by Camille Walala.


My husband recently showed me a video he thought would interest me. … what an understatement!!!

I loved it!

And I’m pretty sure you will too. With over five million views already, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it hilarious. To all the wonderful Instagram Husbands out there, I’d like to thank you, for lots and lots of laughs.

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate you and love you … our Instagram lives would not be the same without you!

I was so intrigued and fascinated by the way the video was produced, I just had to find out who was behind it’s creation.

Michelle and Jeff Houghton, a married couple from Springfield, Missouri in America’s mid west, are the ingenious creative minds who birthed the concept. They are parents to their little boy, Elias and Michelle is also a counsellor and an artist.

Her Instagram husband, Jeff, is a comedian and talk show host.  Jeff creates a syndicated show called The Mystery Hour, which is what Instagram Husband was written and produced for. Michelle also writes and performs for the show.

“we thrive on keeping things interesting and are driven by a desire to connect with others and chase after our dreams. I am an avid Instagrammer and I love tacos, philosophical conversations, indie music, podcasts, and creative expression”.

Their Instagram account is the “official account bringing support, comport, & praise to all you human selfie-sticks out there …”

It is truly brilliant and hilarious. Quite simply, I’m hooked!

I hope you love this piece as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.





I absolutely love what you are doing … how did you start Instagram Husband?


Jeff, my husband, came up with the Instagram Husband concept and wanted to do it as a video for his show, The Mystery Hour. He thought of it last summer, after having a lot of experiences where taking a pretty photo got in the way of experiencing the moment in both our lives and the lives of our friends.


Is Instagram Husband a collaboration, as often I see many things that are posted by different people?


In some ways, yes, it was a collaboration, in other ways no. We have a group of writers who write for The Mystery Hour and we collaborated on the video for that entity. The idea of Instagram Husband was Jeff’s and everyone who was involved was doing it for the show.


How has Instagram changed your life?


I have a lot of good friends who I have met through Instagram, actually, which is the greatest impact it has had on my life.When I find a new Instagrammer from my area who has similar taste, I follow them and then start commenting on their posts out of mutual respect and admiration. Often that has lead to online friendships which have lead to hanging out in real life. Some of my closest friendships started that way over the last five years. Instagram has also enhanced my connections with my friends because we have access to knowing what is going on in each other’s lives. It starts conversations about things we otherwise wouldn’t know about, and I love that.


Do you feel we have created a problem of “oversharing” on social media in general? Do you feel that Instagram specifically has created an aspect of “oversharing” in our life?


I think we do have a bit of “oversharing” going on in our culture, but I don’t think it is unique to Instagram. I am a counsellor and work primarily with adolescents. To them it’s not Instagram, it’s Snap Chat. For others, it’s Facebook. Regardless the medium, we do go to ridiculous lengths to provide interesting and appealing content related to our lives. I think we are going to look back in 50 years at this time period and see a lot of good things that have come from social media, but we will also recognise a lot of mistakes we have made culturally with regards to our obsession with it. We cannot learn those lessons until we go through them, however. I do see a lot of individuals online who go to extremes to get “likes” and ultimately gain validation from that, which creates a culture of comparison, and as Theodore Roosevelt said …


Michelle Houghton and her Instagram friends sitting around talking in a large room with a big open window on a cloudy day.


“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

– Theodore Roosevelt


Are you addicted to social media?


You know, it sort of depends on what lens I am looking through to say whether or not I am “addicted” to social media. There have definitely been times in my life where I have spent more time on it than others. Also, compared to some people who are rarely online, I am definitely addicted, and yet compared to those who very obviously check their phones every few minutes, I am definitely not. I probably check my Instagram and Facebook feed a few times a day, but I don’t let myself get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending a chunk of time there as much as I used to. I really enjoy photography and curating a space which exudes my asthetic, so Instagram tends to be my “addiction” more than other mediums of social media.


Do you believe that people lead “fake” lives through Instagram, as is often suggested?


I have a hard time saying what is “fake” and what is “real”– with social media, because I truly see a movement toward people sharing the rawness and realness of their lives online. This is probably in response to all the curated lives we are seeing others live through the social media lens. I think it takes a real balance to share authentically what is happening in your life online, because you don’t want to make things “too” pretty or you are not relatable, and yet you also don’t want to over-share your struggles or the not-so-pretty side of things, because if you’re doing that all the time it can come across as humble-bragging, which is equally off-putting. In the end, I think we all want people to see the best in us. It just happens to be on a different platform and a different level with social media.


What was your motivation for starting “Instagram Husband”.


We started Instagram Husband because we thought it was a funny concept. We really enjoy making people laugh, and Jeff has a knack for coming up with relatable concepts to do that. It just so happened that this video connected with a lot of people.


What do you feel are the main differences between Facebook and Instagram and are you fan of both platforms?


I like both Instagram and Facebook. I tend to lean towards using Instagram more because I am such a fan of art and photography, and I follow a lot of people who use Instagram to showcase their work in both genres. I like Facebook to hear about what is going on with family and friends.


What do you see as the positives of Instagram. And, the negatives?


Instagram positives: good photography, platform for people to connect, photos often convey concepts in an easily-deliverable way where people connect to an image, community, and inspiration. Instagram negatives: tends to lead us to compare ourselves with others (just as all social media platforms do), FOMO– personally I have a hard time seeing vacation pictures of other people or people around the world in beautiful places if I’m spending my hours at work feeling uninspired and unmotivated.


What is your opinion of buying followers and likes?


I don’t really know anyone, (well, at least to my knowledge) who “buys” followers and likes–  to me it seems like another marketing ploy mostly for businesses or brands wanting to seem culturally relevant. I would be very suspicious of individual people who do that for personal accounts but I haven’t really dealt with it.


What is your view of people who share a difficult personal moment on the Instagram platform?


I sort of answered this in #7, but I’ll add to it by saying this– I heard a podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong among other books about shame and vulnerability. She asked her about sharing personal stories in what she writes. What she had to say about it really resonated with me. She said that she never publicly shares a personal story that she has not already fully processed. Her rule of thumb being that if her healing is contingent upon what others say about that story, then she should not share it. She says she’s shared her story before she was ready, and learned a lot of lessons from that. When you share a difficult story before you have healed, it is not giving and generous to the people hearing it, and can actually be abusive to yourself. Attempting to gain deep healing from a wound in a public arena is just not the way to go about working out your issues– that is what close friends and therapy is for.


Jenn Fortner and Zac Fortner standing on train tracks for an Instagram pic

She missed another job interview today because the light was “just perfect”

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”.

 – Brene Brown, in her podcast, Big Magic


Do you believe that social media is responsible for people having poor interpersonal and social skills in real life?


People throughout the ages have had poor social and interpersonal skills in real life, so I don’t think social media is to blame. In my career as a counsellor I work with a lot of people who have poor social skills, and there isn’t one specific set of circumstances that lead them to be that way. Some have manipulative or abusive upbringings, some have disorders like Autism where social interaction doesn’t come as easily, and some are just downright introverted, which is fine, but is not always valued in our culture. I know some very inward people who are also successful bloggers or Instagrammers. Just because they are less likely to wow someone in person than online does not mean that blogging is what caused them to be introverts. Blogging, social media, and writing may just be the platform they feel the most comfortable socialising on.


Do you believe that Instagram amounts to modern day narcissism?


I think Instagram can portray a sense of narcissism, yes, but I also believe most people don’t go out and create Instagram accounts because they want validation and “likes”, and thus are essentially narcissistic. I think to some extent we all want positive social interactions, and naturally that is a healthy thing. When someone spends an inordinate amount of time curating a space online that looks nothing like their real life in the hopes of gaining followers and likes, however, that crosses the bounds of healthy living.


What is your view of Instagram advertising. Do you feel that it is effective?


Every form of advertising is effective if it gets people to buy things.


What has been your personal response to Instagram Husband?


My personal response to Instagram Husband? Wow, there’s a lot in this one question. I’ll start by saying that I have been a supporter of my husbands show since he started it in a crappy basement of an improv theatre 10 years ago. It has been his dream to consistently showcase his talents of writing, acting, hosting, and performing on a large scale, and Instagram Husband got him, as the creator, a lot of the attention he deserved because the video was such a big hit.  My biggest response to it therefore is just sheer happiness. Mostly because of the story of our struggle. For him to be doing what he loves in a very obscure way.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun posting the Instagram photos on our @ig.husband account, and have had a great time connecting with people all across the world who relate to the video through that, through interviews, and with people reaching out after they saw it. It’s weird that so many of us have had this phenomenon in our lives– asking our husbands (or wives or girlfriends or friends or sisters or whatever) to take our photos so we can later post them– and we didn’t have a term for it up until this point.


Do you enjoy your food less when you are always wanting to photograph it in it’s untouched state first?


Heck no! I enjoy it MORE! I love anything that is well presented, and especially food! It’s fun to snap a picture of it before it’s all gobbled up. Obviously the line of  “we used to eat our food, now we just take pictures of it…” is a comedian’s take on prolonging eating things when we are taking pictures of it– but I promise I would never sacrifice tasting food for a photo!


Do you feel a certain pressure to constantly find new and interesting material to post?


Yeah, to be honest, sometimes I do. If it’s been a few days since I last posted a picture, I start to think about what I should post, or why I didn’t post. To me, snapping an iPhone picture of a scene or a person or a thing that happened during the day is a way to look at it with a focused lens– to not miss the beauty of that moment. If I am just going through the motions of my days and I don’t stop to REALLY look at my surroundings, I notice because I generally don’t have any pictures from that time. Now, of course, it CAN go the other way, where you take so many dang pictures that you miss the moment entirely, but I do think there is some balance. There is always something beautiful right in front of you, you just have to take a moment to really see it. I just happen to do that sometimes with snapping a photo of it.


Is your husband generally interested in Instagram?


He’s so-so about it. He definitely doesn’t spend much time on it– a lot of his pictures are of our son or of something funny he sees and wants to share.



“Vacations make the best Instagram posts…”

– Michelle Houghton


What do you think of the selfie?


I have so many mixed feelings about the selfie!! I have only recently upped my selfie game, realizing that people who follow you like to see YOU, but before that I mostly felt self-gratuitous and weird about taking them. It was when I read an article somewhere about how selfies actually promote people LIKING themselves (gasp!) when I started to see the logic in how it could be a good thing. We’re often so down on how we look or who we are. I don’t think its a bad thing if you like the way your face looks in a particular light to take your own darn photo.


Do you believe we are over the selfie and the duck face?


I am so over duck face. I’ve always been over it. That and women standing with their hand on their hip and their butt curved out. WHO STANDS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!?!?!


For people who are looking for followers, what is your advice of increasing one’s following on Instagram?


Offer something unique, special, genuine, and worth following.


How often do you personally post to Instagram?


I post to Instagram about once a day or every other day. It depends on what is going on in my life at the moment and how busy I am.


Do you believe that posting to Instagram at a certain time is important? Why?


I never really took the time to think about what time of day to post to Instagram for maximum exposure until I started curating the @ig.husband account — then I asked my friend who curates a famous blog about timing, and she gave me some tips. If you want to reach your audience, you need to think about when they are going to be online. So yes, I think it is important. Is it the be-all-and-end-all? No.


What is next for Instagram Husband?


There are some things in the works for what is coming next, but at this point we can’t share what that is. For now, we’re just trying to focus on putting out quality work with The Mystery Hour, and are having a ton of fun doing it!


Where do you see yourselves in five years from now.


I HAVE NO IDEA! As an artist, I just started selling my artwork online and in local venues, so I am hoping to get more exposure with it and incorporate it more into my life. I also LOVE counselling, I am planning on starting a private practice and other ventures where I share my expertise on a community platform. While all that is going on, The Mystery Hour is also a huge part of my life, and I hope that my husband and I continue to work together on the show or in some capacity to put out comedy to the world. Jeff is so incredibly talented and I LOVE working with him in that arena.


Photo of a girls reflection in a mirror



What is your greatest dream?


My greatest dream would be for Jeff and I to both be simultaneously employed doing what we love. “Chase your dreams” has practically been the motto in my house for a long time, but it has not come without sacrifices. More than anything I want us both to be happy creating unique things to contribute to the world, and to do it while providing for our family.


What is your favourite food, country, and fashion designer?


Food- tacos. Hands down.

Country- Croatia. I visited there last summer and FELL IN LOVE.

Fashion designer?? Hmmmm… to be honest I’ve never been able to afford designer labels, but if I would name a few that speak to me I would say Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Rachel Comey. I tend to shop H&M, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Need Supply, and Madewell the most.


Have you ever visited Australia? Do you intend to?


I haven’t, but its definitely on the bucket list. I’ve heard that it’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I’ve never met an Aussie I didn’t like.


Lastly, what subject do you believe makes the best Instagram post?




Michelle Houghton sitting in a window box drinking coffee.


If you have enjoyed reading about Instagram Husband check out The Mystery Hour.


Feature Image:


Anna Whitehouse  “This photo took 15 minutes of her standing in front of that wall with the kiddo writhing like Gollum to get out of her grasp. It took 45 more minutes just for the little one to stop snot-crying”.


Photography Accreditations | Instagram Content | Appreciation :


Michelle Houghton @michellehoughton Jeff Houghton @ig.husband @themysteryhour

Jen Fortner @jennfortner  Zac Fortner @zachfornter Anna Whitehouse @mother_pukka Johnny Fly @johnnyflyco

Love Instagram Husband

I do!!!

Until next time,

Jade xx

Label Ministry logo which is a picture of a stylised coathanger






Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Editorial, Wedding, women

Love & Nuptials

January 3
Bride stepping out of the vintage Daimler at the church.


Bride stepping out of the vintage Daimler at the church.


Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

– Anon.


Well. For those of you who know me well, you will be aware that I recently got married to my darling sweetheart heart-throb. Miss Label Ministry is now Mrs! Not being of the fashion blogging world, he wishes to remain somewhat anonymous … here is the long awaited Label Ministry wedding post, Love & Nuptials …
It was the most beautiful day, almost surreal because it is blurred by happiness, adrenalin and disbelief at the sheer abundance of beautiful moments experienced.  The heavens shed tears for our happiness, and the beautiful blanket of grey misty sky blessed us with a veil of quietness and serenity and saw that the trees were the most beautiful green hues ever seen.
It is the time in one’s life when you truly stop for a moment and give gratitude for one’s blessings. All beautifully gift wrapped in the form of wonderful family, exceptional friends, unspoken alliances, and forever lasting bonds which seem to know no time or space.
Ours was a morning wedding. An 11 am church ceremony meant that we had an early start and a lunch time reception. My journey to the church was spectacular in a beautiful vintage Daimler, loaned to us for the special day, courtesy of Richard Rolfe.  My two beautiful bridesmaids dressed in white lace Lover dresses slipped into a shiny new Mercedes. We were all adorned in Natalie Barney fine jewels.
We arrived at the church to the sound of bells tolling. My heart rippled with love and excitement as I walked towards the church draped in the magnificent silk lustre of the eponymous Australian designer, Johanna Johnson.
The Canberra Chamber of Music string trio started to play …………… our moment had arrived. The church ceremony was full of tears and happy people and the ceremony, magnificent and serene.

The rest my dears is pure joy!

Until next time,

Jade xx


I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


I awoke at 4am. Excitement had overtaken sleep. In the preceding, chaotic weeks, everything else that needed my attention meant that I had still not finished my speech. The beautiful quiet, reflective moments of the early morning was the perfect time to finish the articulated sentiments that needed to be shared in the coming day.

My dear friends and bridesmaids talked about the coming day as we lay about waiting for the morning to dawn, and before we knew it, it was 7am, and our hairdresser had arrived!

We were greeted with champagne, fruit and yoghurt to start the day and much chit chat in the midst of a flurry of white dressing gowns and excited girls. Our expert styling hairdressers, Aqua Hair of Canberra, were patient, and professional.  The platinum tones of my own hair were accomplished by the gorgeous Susie, from Sydney hairdressing salon in North Sydney, Platinum Blonde Hair. Most importantly, our hair was amazing!

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Editorial, women

Hashtag #Crisis#

December 8


From the editor’s desk …

We have birthed a modern day crisis. The social media kind. Is our addiction to social media ruining our world? Have we officially entered the age of over sharing?

A couple of years ago, I was talking to a Gen Y about social media. I was interested in what they thought of people’s obsession with celebrities and communicating with the new type of human. A screen. It seemed to me that the world had changed forever and I was right. Their response fascinated me. They told me that young people did not know how to communicate, even with their friends. Their screen addictions were their answers to connecting with the rest of the world, their peers and their families, through largely pubescent and anxious eyes trying to carve out a future for themselves. What I found most bizarre was their obsession with communicating online, email and even text when their friends lived close by. Their behaviour was the same with their family members also. My own child used to text me or request that I email him even when we were in the same house. Sometimes even in the same room, if the time I had chosen to speak to him did not suit. I thought a great deal about this and like many, watched the development of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with interest.


We are now addicted to a barage of everyones’ images and perceptions of life through social media platforms. Their new G string, a picture of their dinner, their new hair, their latest visit to the nail salon, and their morning coffee. It is this obsession with the finest details of everyones’ life which I find most worrying. All under the guise of fashion.

This is not fashion.

It is modern day narcissism and it’s prevalence amongst our youth and even those who are not youthful is extremely worrying.


I am not against social media at all. Nearly all of us use it now to  broadcast our voices and ideas, not to mention our work. I am worried, however, when I notice that social media platforms, particularly for young women and men, has become a way for them to advertise themselves in scantily clad clothing in the name of fashion.  When did fashion become a vehicle for soft porn and why do our societal values now seem to be almost entirely shaped by what is tolerated on social media. It seems that we have entered the time of “everything goes”, and a world of “over sharing”.

I am all for women and men, regardless of age, making the best of themselves. I think there is nothing more pleasing than someone who is carefully presented in every way, including their choice of fashion. I love to see anyone who wholeheartedly embraces their sense of self and has the courage to be the beautiful individual they are.

My point of difference however is that it seems that young women and men, and society at large has lost its way. Our obsession of self and the hidden, albeit epidemic, levels of self-loathing have become one of the most serious and worrying aspects of health in our modern society. The silent rules of acceptance of ourselves and others and our engagement with others are deeply entrenched and unmistakably linked with narcissistic tendencies encapsulated within the world of fashion. We have entered unchartered and dangerous waters. These are territories we have not visited before and I for one, feel great trepidation as the world of fashion as we know it, has changed forever.

I read an article not so long ago on Reddit about a blogger who described in the greatest of detail, a day where she started her menstrual cycle and was not prepared.  The entire post was dedicated to every detail of her discomfort, her appearance and her various emotional responses. All for the world to read, and for complete strangers to empathise about. A strange phenomenon I feel, about a topic which would once, have been extremely private if nothing else. Feel free to google period stories on Reddit and like me, you will find a whole sub Reddit dedicated to the topic. Am I the only one who thinks it strange?

And then, we have the “over the top”, over publicised, and over documented story of the instafamous Essena O’Neill. The story of a just turned 19 teenager, who describes herself as having a “career on social media”, and who apparently has quit all social media because it is fake and making her unhappy. I could write a whole post on this kind of ridiculousness which pervades every day of our lives, but I won’t. I simply can’t be bothered.  I will say a few things however, that I feel are necessary for the general population to think about for a nano second.

First of all, this teenager claims to have had a “career on social media”. Can someone please tell me what that is? What teenager has a career? And what constitutes a career on social media? She says she is a model, a social media influencer, and surrounded by the most famous, wealthy and successful people.  According to Essena these people, even though they are enjoying phenomenal success, are all miserable, depressed and disillusioned about the representation of their lives on social media, “because social media is fake”. Whatever that means. I think we all know that social media is not the real world, don’t we? How very frightening if we don’t. 

So let me get this right. She spent hours taking photos to find one that she was happy to post, used these images to endorse brands, for which she was paid, and then posted the photos for likes and followers. Apparently, this is a career in social media. Really? Is that it? By her own admission, brands will often carefully stipulate exactly what needs to be posted, when it needs to be posted, how often it needs to be posted. Her “career” is driven almost entirely by brands deciding that their newest form of advertising should be through the vehicle of the blogger to reach the young demographic of current spenders.

I watched a 17 minute video of explanation, crying, drama, swearing, and gesticulation exclaiming that social media is evil and that the lives represented on it are fake. Well, I post often on social media and I am not fake. I connect with many other people on social media who are not fake. My life, my posts, my opinions, my connections, and my line of work is not fake. It is in fact, extremely valuable and of great benefit to many in my industry. I don’t have 500,000 followers on Instagram, nor do I have 260,000 YouTube followers. The truth is I don’t care. How normal. My self worth is in tact. I am not miserable or depressed about my own, or others, social media.

And here’s the reason why. Social media is “part” of my life. A very small part. I can and do, connect and talk to real people. I have real life meetings. I understand that whilst I may form a connection on social media, it does not define my value, my judgements, or my self worth. I understand that social media is a platform that can be used for good, but is not always. Social media does not affect my ability to life my life fully in other ways, and I don’t sit around waiting for people to follow me and like my posts.  If Essena believes that her social media career is causing her grief then I applaud her decision to ‘quit’, but it seems to me, she hasn’t quit. She has in fact received more publicity than ever, and feels quite comfortable in using the biggest form of social media, the Internet, to gather momentum for her next venture. I counted more than 40 accounts on Instagram in her name and when I finished writing this article, I set about as I always do, to find some great images to accompany it. It fascinated me that I could not find one image of Essena O’Neill which I was allowed to use commercially for this post.

She has now launched a website called, “Let’s be Game Changers” where she asks people to support her newest quest for self expression, but also tells people to please support her by donating any amount they feel appropriate to pay her rent. Hello? Yep. You heard me. Pay … her … rent. Gosh, I would love someone to offer to pay my rent! What planet do these entitled, narcissistic, children come from? If you ask me, any girl at nineteen who has had so many opportunities should be feeling, at least, incredibly grateful but mostly just downright blessed.

Quit social media eh?  I don’t think so … my final word on the subject?  What a spoiled brat!

Kelly Hume, a writer for has written her own article on Essena O’Neill. In it, she says, “I’m under no illusion that O’Neill has an agenda: with the launch of her new website, Let’s Be Game Changers, which requests money from her readers, it seems her change of heart was, at least partly, a publicity stunt. But she did succeed in raising the issue that social-media influencers, who are paid to promote products by showing off their perfect bodies and perfect lives, do create insecurity in young women”.

Yes. It certainly does. And young men. A social media influencer? I think not.  A young, confused teenager with more attention and success than her emotional age and maturity can handle would be an accurate assessment. Young people, any people, do not need this type of influence. And if we are going to accept the evolution of “the social media influencer”, for God’s sake, please make it someone who has some wisdom to share! What we need is not to make social media the evil one, but to understand that it is a tool to be added to an already balanced set of skills and opinions.

This ever growing obsession with taking pictures to portray and indulge in the perfect life, the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, boyfriend, car, apartment, travel itinerary and stylish brunch, lunch, and munch has become a joke. It is a fantasy and should be exposed as such.

As Kelly Hume continues in her article, “this age of the selfie isn’t healthy. Why are we measuring our self-worth by the way we look and the number of likes and followers we have?

Earlier this month, an Australian Psychological Society survey on social-media usage and FOMO found that one in two teenagers felt they are ‘missing out’, while 48 per cent felt worried if their friends were having fun without them, and 42 per cent were anxious if they didn’t know what their friends were doing.

I’d rather that we focused our energy on being well-rounded individuals, learning to be kind and considerate of others, being intelligent, and having a varied skill set. Instead of taking selfies, why don’t we learn to cook? Why don’t we read more? And why don’t we interact and have a proper conversation for once?”



Wow. Such wisdom. My hope has been restored.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Label Ministry logo which is a picture of a stylised coathanger


Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Editorial, Styling

Cimon Vozzo … Adelaidean Style

September 14
Model standing outside with arms crossed and a white jacket around her shoulders.j
Model standing against a var in black jacket, black pants and flat black shoes.

Stylist: Cimon Vozzo

Recently, I caught up with Cimon Vozzo, Fashion Editor of the Sunday Mail in Adelaide, Adelaidean stylist and fashion blogger whilst she was visiting Sydney for the recent launch of the spring collection at David Jones.  

We chatted about Australian fashion designers, styling, the emerging fashion market, and what we hope for, for the future.

Adelaide fashion is something that is growing fast and many labels that we know and love were born in South Australia. Cameo, Finders Keepers, and The Fifth just to name a few. It is so encouraging for me to see that wonderful emerging designers and more established designers are finding their way into our major department stores and speaking to the broader population no matter where they have been birthed.  As a nation, we are now being recognised in a significant way on the global stage of the fashion community and I believe we will continue to witness continued growth. Next time you are browsing through David Jones, take a look for yourself.

Who cares about where the labels are developed? Talent is everywhere!

I for one want to see each and every state in Australia contributing to our wonderful fashion industry which I am totally in love with, as you all know!

We are all Australian gals, wearing fabulous Australian labels, and I want to see more of it!

We should celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate again, the phenomenal talent we have on our doorstep.

Good on you Adelaide … can’t wait to see what you come up with next!  

I asked Cimon some things that I felt curious about.


Model standing outside with arms crossed and a white jacket around her shoulders.j


What do you see as the differences between Sydney and Adelaide fashion?


People in Sydney are more adventurous, less conservative, more fashion evolved and not afraid to take risks.


What changes would you like to see around Australian fashion?


I would love for things to be made in Australia. Design wise I tend to like the way the Europeans use colour, and I am a fan for a little bit of glamour and dressing up! I would love to see more of this in Australian design.

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Interview


June 24
A male and female model walking through the State theatre in elegant clothing


Cissy Zhang and Warren Pasi sitting on a marina in Sydney for a style shoot for their blog

ZhangPasi Duo. Boy in the black Bow Tie and Girl in the Bunny Ears.


I think fashion bloggers have unconsciously bridged the gap between what has always seemed untouchable and created a fashion language everyone can understand.


This week I caught up with ZhangPasi, the Sydney “brother & sister” blogging duo, Warren Pasi, Boy in the black Bow Tie and Cissy Zhang, Girl in the Bunny Ears.  If you were at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney this year you may have seen them front row yourself!

We chatted about all things fashion and the importance of the emerging and ever changing role of the fashion blogger and other style influencers. We dreamed a little about building meaningful and beneficial collaborations between designers, bloggers, creative teams, and industry professionals in order to bridge the gap between industry and consumers. I think we are beginning to see the importance of breaking down some barriers and having an open and honest conversation about the state of the industry and what we can all do to create a more prosperous one.  For Australian fashion to thrive again it is essential that we support our local Australian industry by purchasing and proudly wearing their designs. Anyone that knows me is aware that I believe we have the best designers in the world … 

It was wonderful to connect with fashion enthusiasts who love the Australian fashion industry almost as much as I do.

Welcome to our little revolution.

Jade xx


What inspired you to be fashion bloggers?


I would always be flipping through Vogue looking at the editorials and one day decided to create my own to be creative and show my personal work to the world.


I really just fell into fashion blogging after studying fashion design.


How did you come to work together as the ZhangPasi duo?


We actually met at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2014.  Although our blogging personas are brother and sister, we are not actually related! We did our first collaboration in late 2014, wearing Lobelia Couture and Vivienne Westwood and a pair of bunny ears each. It was such a great shoot. Every time we worked together, we were completely in sync and had the same vision for our blogs. We decided to become a blogging duo in March 2015.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

Lady like Leopard

May 26
Picture of The Lady like Leopard blogger


Less is more – always. But let’s make this clear: I don’t mean less clothing…

and, as Karl Lagerfeld said, “If you’re not willing to have an ongoing dialogue with fashion, get another job.”



Bloggers: The Prep Guy and The Lady Like Leopard sitting at the House of Mackage show in Canada

The Prep Guy and The Lady like Leopard at the House of Mackage show in Canada


What is the philosophy behind your work?


Everything and anything fashion! With my blog The Lady-like Leopard I hope to bring people together through fashion and give people an inside perspective to what the fashion industry is all about.


What is the inspiration behind your work?


I first studied fashion design in Canada and then journalism at Macley College in Sydney. I wanted to combine my two areas of study and so starting a fashion blog seemed like a natural thing to do. Well, that and I’ve been obsessed with working for a fashion magazine since I was a kid so this is like my own little magazine.


Who are the people from whom you take inspiration and whom do you most admire within your industry?


I admire anyone who is willing to put in endless hours of hard work to achieve their goals and dreams. I’ve met people who start a fashion blog and then quit because it’s “too much work”. You have to be prepared for that. I love the photos that Sydney Fashion Blogger takes and JetSet Justine’s style.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Commentary, Interview, MBFW

Backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2015 … with Serpent and the Swan

April 30
Model standing, ready and waiting backstage at Serpent and the Swan

… inspired by a shared childhood love of the animal kingdom and a somewhat dark and morbid fascination with the anatomy of creatures and their mystical incarnations.

Three models at Serpent and the Swan backstage before the show

Runway Ready.

During Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year, I was privileged to be able to interview some of Australia’s most iconic designers. These interviews will make up a series of articles which will appear on the Label Ministry website in an effort to bring awareness, greater popularity and support to people who year in, year out, dedicate their creative minds and talents to the Australian fashion industry.

This weeks expose is Serpent and the Swan, a Sydney label which has now maintained a strong following and significant foothold within our industry since 2009.

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