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Our chat with Eclectic Ladyland

What it takes to be one of WA’s coolest retailers.

Eclectic Ladyland is a magical corner store that almost appears as a mirage in Albany.

In the small country town where lovely people and amazing views preside, fashion was not a big deal. Until now.

Thanks to owner Shannon Fox and her team of Ladylanders, Albany’s shopping scene has been given a serious update. Eclectic Ladyland has brought the people of Albany a selection of Australia’s best independent labels. Think Emma Mulholland, Nixi Killick, Jenny Kee, House of Cards, Nomadic, UNIF and more. 

We had a chat to Shannon about Eclectic Ladyland’s success, what it means to be a Ladylander and why Albany just works. 

How did Eclectic Ladyland begin?

I moved to Albany because I thought living in a little cottage by the sea would be romantic. But what I didn’t account for was how hard it was to find work down here! Especially in music or radio (which is my background). After a failed attempt at starting an indigenous radio station, budget cuts (which meant my role teaching radio at TAFE was over before it began), and even trying for pet stores, CD stores, etc. I decided I would have to make my own work. It was actually kind of on a whim.

This cute little store was about to be up for lease and I wanted in. With no retail or fashion experience, I just wanted to give it a go. I’ve always loved clothes, and used to talk about opening a shop when I was little. So from making the decision to being open there was probably only a space of four weeks or so. The store is named after Jimi Hendrix’s album Electric Ladyland and we opened on the 45th anniversary of its release. So there’s still a musical thread….

What does being a ‘Ladylander’ mean to you?

Being sartorially bold for a start! Not to mention chameleons. We often say we have multiple fashion personalities, but it’s just dressing to your whims that day. I might be in a tutu and sparkles one day, then jeans and a tee the next. But it’s much more than that. Our ladylanders, staff and customers alike, have a strong feminist streak. We like what we like and are not apologetic for that. It’s about confidence, high self worth and being a dreamer. Empowering other women, being body positive and HAPPY! And probably a love of kittens.

Why Albany?

Being from Freo, I really wanted to bring down some garments that you couldn’t find down here. Things that were unusual, up-and-coming designers, the things I missed when I moved down. I thought it might work here because, although Albany can be conservative, there are lots of really stylish women and their options were a bit limited.

What would your ultimate outfit include?

Ultimate outfit currently would be just about anything from Erdem. Any of his beautiful, embroidered dresses please. And some Saint Laurent glitter Mary Janes from the Babies collection. I do love a bit of sparkle and embellishment! That said, I’m loving all these seventies-inspired collections too.

What do you like to do when you’re not running around from your Fremantle spot in Many 6160 to your Albany store?

Well lately I haven’t been doing much beyond working! I had a double lung transplant at the end of December, so officially, am stilll recovering haha. Otherwise, I’m still a music lover, so if I get to catch the occassional gig I’m happy. I’ve done a few DJ spots recently too (by DJing I really just mean pressing play and having a wiggle with friends). Then it’s the usual: books, food, friends. 

If you could be any celebrity who would it be and why? 

Kathleen Hanna! She’s amazing, so intelligent and gutsy. Imagine being credited with starting Riot Grrl? Not to mention, I’ve always wished I was a rockstar haha… And she is definitely a style icon, to this day.

Is there anything new and exciting in the works for Eclectic Ladyland soon? 

Yes! We are looking at designing an exclusive EL jewellery line, which will be loads of fun.

If I could tell all the girls around the world one thing it would be… 

You are 100x cooler than you know!

eclecticladyland.net.au

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