The most un-Melbourne thing to ever happen to Melbourne.

Words by

Rebecca Russo

Melbourne label Gorman is probably the most un-Melbourne thing to ever happen. Bright, brashy prints clashing with stripes, polka dots and lobsters, it’s the beacon of light in a city ruled by black

When the label first launched back in 1999, Lisa Gorman’s eponymous empire was just a flicker in a Fitzroy shop window. Who would have thought this humble brand would be everywhere – and I mean everywhere – a mere 17 years later. 

These days Gorman is a big part of Melbourne’s iconic street style: whether it’s a polka dot raincoat at a festival, a pair of cactus socks poking out of your workmate’s ankle boots, or seeing two girls sporting a Dalmatian-printed jumpsuit at Fashion Week.  

The label has officially become part of the Australian fashion landscape and the “cult” of Gorman is growing stronger as we speak. But, to be quite honest, it’s a little unexpected.

For one, it’s not cheap

The word “investment” gets thrown around a lot here. You know, a piece that you’ll have for years and will interweave through your wardrobe ’til it’s literally falling apart at the seams. 

It’s funny though, Gorman has the stature of a label like Zimmermann or Sass & Bide, but with Sportsgirl-level ubiquity. This certainly has a lot to do with the fact that Gorman pieces are so easily identifiable. But it seems that there’s a lot more Gorman around than you’d expect from a store that sells $300+ dresses and shoes. Maybe this has to do with the label’s excellent re-sell value?

Selling on with passion

By now you’ve probably heard of the infamous Gorman Buy and Sell groups on Facebook. It’s here that someone might all but sell their left kidney for their Gorman “unicorn” (also known as the ‘one that got away’). In these groups, it’s not uncommon for a coveted piece to be sold for over the RRP. Though some groups have explicitly banned this, there are no such rules on eBay. 

These girls are passionate, opinionated but also surprisingly supportive. Girls will post a query about styling their boxy shift dresses and be flooded with handy tips and advice from the greater Gorman community. Which leads me to…

You’re buying into a very special world here

Maybe part of the appeal of Gorman is that it buys you entry into a certain elusive club: the “Gorman girl” aesthetic, if you will. Not unlike a little old French lady who wears solely Chanel, a Gorman piece is like an identifier to other like-minded people. It’s almost a badge that succinctly says who you are and what you like. 

And because their prints and cuts are so easily identifiable, there’s a whole lot of pride that goes into owning a Gorman piece, too.

It’s a whole new world

It can be pretty damn embarrassing to walk into a room and see someone wearing the exact same dress, but with Gorman? It’s something else. This weird thing happens with Gorman girls where they’ll look at each other, look at their matching outfits, smile and maybe even take a picture together, because that’s just what Gorman girls do. 

It’s honestly nice to see something so in-your-face and colourful kicking goals in an industry where overly-serious fashion (and grumpy fashionistas) can dominate. Who knows what the future of Gorman will be… maybe they’ll reach a point where they’ve run out of kitschy prints and will effectively say ‘fuck it’, releasing a line exclusively in chocolate brown. Hey, it could happen! 

In the words of the Gilmore Girls: if you lead, [scores of Gorman girls] will follow, anywhere that you tell me to. IF YOU NEED– yeah, you get the picture.  

I’m sure Gormie will do just fine. 

Justin McLean for Aevoe

Leave a comment


Just when you thought you'd heard it all.
Blue skies and sunshine.
An ethical collaboration between RMIT grad's Nessie Croft and Gabrielle Leavesley.
Who knew so much wrong could result in so much right?
A look at the generation of local labels championing local production.
Encouraging people to push boundaries and stand against hate.
Home hangs with Emma and Alice.
It's called 'Women are the Future', for starters.
Exploring the Fashion and Textiles collection.
Satisfy your inner bohème.
And it's everything you dreamed of.
It's really nice to know Limb.
Because your furry friends should be able to dine out too.
We love coffee but we don't always like you.
Celebrating bigger and better than ever.
One collection, a fusion of eras.
The beauty of imperfection.
Gold, sliver, crystal and stone.
The best week of Melbourne's music year is on the horizon.
Shining some well-deserved light on Melbourne's best retailers.
The essence of spring.
Horn-rimmed glasses and leather shoes.
Styled like a celeb.
Ft. Pleats Please and Bao Bao Issey Miyake AW15.
A new cool kid on the virtual fashion-block.
Reminding you that spring is on its way.
Upgrade your winter wardrobe.
Time to meet the make-up king.
Textured accessories for leather handbag lovers.
We can finally get our hands on a pair of those kiss print knickers.
Dainty and delicate goodness.
Inspired by the suds and star-studded ceiling of a Turkish Bathhouse.
Shopping for baby and mama.
Linen and denim, need we say more?
Talk about an ephemeral love affair.
Pioneering wearable ponchos and leopard print for men.
Gorman and Jörgen, reunited and it feels so good.
Charming. Confident. British. Handsom.
G Star Raw launches at Melbourne's Emporium.
Is there anything more 'Melbourne' than a laneway party?
Melbourne's models unite for a beauty story of magnificent proportions.
The time has come for LIFEwithBIRD's Melbourne warehouse sale.
Absence must make the heart grow fonder, as Chet Faker announces an Australian Tour after a year of worldly adventure
There's a new kid on the block.
It's getting hot in hurrrrrrrr.
...but only for a few more days!
Styling is made easy with FME's latest InSideOut summer collection
The eclectic Finders Keepers Market is back in Melbourne for Spring/Summer 2014.
Attention everyone: this one involves presents.
You keep doin' you, Lazy Oaf.
gorman's done it again with it's latest collaboration with Kate Kosek.
Fans of sculptural silhouettes and minimalism flocked to Melbourne’s Emporium last night for the opening of Dion Lee Site 02.
Fitzroy based minimalists Handsom are spreading their sports-prep wings, expanding their operation to a brand new pop up on...
Bold colours, traditional patterns and modern designs come together for unique label Asiyami Gold.
Champagne flowed, a nail polish collaboration was launched and most importantly, there were donuts.
Kuwaii opened their second store in Melbourne and the people rejoiced.
For Me By Dee combines design experience and passion for illustration to create a dynamite collection of hand-drawn gift cards...
Steering their signature kaleidoscopic prints in a more spiritual direction, Romance Was Born brings you their latest “Ohm-my-god...
We need you. Like seriously, send us an email already.
Gorman is in a constant state of flux - but in a good way.
There is one thing that sucks about working at Fashion Journal - you can't enter the giveaways.
Dusen Dusen is about perfecting the basics and then making them more interesting.
Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is a wonderful time of year.
Fashion Journal faves Pet Shop Girls has teamed up with stellar Melbourne label Dress Up for a capsule collection.
Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles!
The Australian Centre of the Moving Image has announced their annual Fashion on Film program as part of Melbourne Spring Fashion...
Melbourne-based label Aura Home is the stuff that homewares dreams are made of.
Bringing back the days when hanging out was a full-time occupation.
Forget a backyard jumble sale, The Lover Jumble Sale is one you won't want to miss.
Just like Cinderella, you too shall go to the ball... wearing Rachel Gilbert at up to 70% off.
Melbourne artist Beci Orpin has turned her genius to homewares and we couldn't be more excited.
Ashlea Chong branches out from POC denim to create her own eponymous label.
New label, Skodia, has released a beautiful new lookbook for their maiden collection.
Reminiscent of those 50c lolly necklaces that used to stick to the neck after a couple of stretchy bites, Melbourne based...
Lulamae is all about stepping outside your comfort zone for a whole new you.
Open since 1976, Dakota 501 is as current as ever when it comes to casual style.
Champagne, gift bag and a chance to see Yves Saint Laurent before anyone else.
When Melbourne-based label PER-TIM launched last year, they were like the glass of sparkling water after a particularly strong...
In case you needed more reasons to go shopping, TALULAH are having their Melbourne warehouse sale this Saturday.
Cheap Monday wants to sell you stuff for cheaps.
Melbourne institution Alpha60 are having a sale! 30% off all their first winter drop.