Celebrating Women

At David Lawrence, International Women’s Day is one of our favourite times of the year because it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate the women who lead our business. This year, we #PressForProgress and shine light on five exceptional women who challenge stereotypes, influence the beliefs and actions of others and forge a positive visibility of women.


Melinda is our company’s quiet strength. Melinda truly understands what women want and is passionate about creating clothes that will make them feel good and help them embark on their personal and professional journey.

Who is the woman that inspires you the most and why?
Phoebe Philo, the previous creative director of Celine, is a shining example that both family and an exciting, successful career aren’t mutually exclusive. She consistently comes across as grounded, despite being such an incredible designer. Her collections effortlessly capture what the modern women wants – simple, beautiful and timeless pieces that don’t compromise functionality.

How has designing for women changed over the years?
With fashion being accessible via online and social media platforms, customer preferences are increasingly diverse and customers are able to actively engage with a larger number of designers. To survive in this environment it is vital to have a strong brand DNA as well as an accurate and evolving view of customers’ preferences. Dedicating enough time with our retail team and other sources of market research to get a good view on customer feedback is really important.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?
The quote “Its not the destination, its the journey” rings true for me when I think about achievement. Rather than a single achievement, I am proud of the journey I have taken so far. I also have a few main goals in the next few years. After being raised in Lithgow, a small country town in the Blue Mountains, I was always excited at the idea of exploring the world and doing something creative. Since then I have lived and worked in Barcelona and London as well as travelling globally with work across Asia, the US and Europe. My role as Senior Designer gives me a rewarding creative outlet. I love when customers feel good in the clothes that I have designed.
Looking ahead, I have recently started a Masters in Design and I am looking forward to getting inspired and broadening my knowledge in new facets of Design and Business.

What is the biggest challenge you face when designing a new collection and how do you embrace it?
When setting the direction at the start of a collection you need to consider many factors including global trends in design, fabric, print and colour as well as what has worked before and what hasn’t. Design is subjective so it is always nerve racking seeing these decisions come to life, hoping that customers will like it. These decisions are not made by any one individual, but need to be embraced by the team. Making these decisions, within challenging timelines is always a challenge! I am lucky to work among inspiring individuals so this is a fun and creative process with lots of healthy debate!


Tina is our mentor. With her strong resilience, Tina has challenged stereotypes for the past 20 years and forged her career into a leadership position. She firmly supports the growth of not only the business, but of everyone in it.

Who is the woman that inspires you the most and why?
There is no one woman who I can single out and say is my most inspirational, but I am inspired by women who have been pioneers in their field, particularly those in male dominated fields. Those women who dared to be the first, breaking boundaries, challenging the norm and stepping outside their existing roles. Women like Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Emmeline Pankhurst, Coco Chanel, Rosa Parks. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, we should “do one thing every day that scares you”.

What are the challenges you have faced as a woman in a leadership position? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been to face women stereotypes, and as a woman leader, it required to be extremely confident and resilient to overcome this.

What skills do you think are essential to be a great leader?
Authenticity, good communication, honesty and integrity and must be able to inspire.

What is your definition of success?
One can measure success of managing a business by the achievement of financial KPIs, but leadership is measured by three aspects. Firstly, whether people are motivated to want to come to work every day, and whether you have a happy, engaged team. Secondly, are people empowered to be successful and are they given credit. Thirdly, have I, as a leader, inspired someone to realize their full potential.


Kim started working in store 25 years ago and has witnessed how much women’s fashion has changed over the years. Kim knows how to make women look great and feel great, which is why customers keep coming back to her.

Who is the woman that inspires you the most and why?
I would have to say the former editor of Women’s Weekly, Ita Buttrose. Now in her mid 70s Ita has retained her timeless sense of style and has remained a fashion icon throughout her career. I particularly admire her intelligence and am fortunate enough to see her shopping in the David Jones Bondi store occasionally!

How has women’s fashion changed over the years?
Fashion and dressing has changed so much for women, I can remember when I first worked in stores 25 years ago our uniform was much more formal and we weren’t even allowed to wear pants. Modern women now have the freedom to dress how they wish and express themselves through what they choose to wear.

What can you tell us about the kind of DL customers you meet everyday?
We have a very loyal customer at David Lawrence. Many customers I meet in our Bondi concession have been shopping with us since the early ‘80s. The brand has such a versatile range of pieces for every occasion. Our loyal customers return season after season in addition to a new generation of customers who are just discovering the brand. David Lawrence is a brand which empowers women; it’s run by women for women and this is why our customers have continued to shop with us for the past four decades.


Marisa is the creative force behind our collections. Marisa continuously impresses us by juggling work and family time with her two sons and makes it look easy. She proves that women can have it all and shouldn’t have to compromise in life.

Who is the woman that inspires you the most and why?
I would say the most inspiring women are the single working mums. Parenting is an extremely hard job with 2 parents in the home but doing it solo is something else.

How did motherhood change your perspective on life?
Having kids puts a focus on how you behave and act around them, as they are sponges and will absorb it all. You begin to really consider your actions more carefully and how it impacts their behaviours, both good and bad. You also begin to identify the things you can control and the things you need to let go of to let them learn from their own mistakes.

How do you achieve work-life balance?
It’s very rare to achieve a perfect work/life balance, and this balance is a moving target as your children go through different ages. Usually you slow your career down when they’re little but it can accelerate once they gain independence and are at school age. When you are working fulltime and have kids at home, the minute you walk in the door your second job begins; homework, projects, sports, etc.


With her positive, take-on-the-world attitude, Alecia embodies the modern Australian woman. By fulfilling her own dream at work, Alecia is able to empower her team and encourage them to unleash their potential.

Who is the woman that inspires you the most & why?
I am lucky to be surrounded by inspirational women every day & I would also say that there have been many women that have inspired me over the years but the one that stands out is Anita Roddick (founder of The Body Shop). She was an amazing woman who was fearless in the pursuit of change. In order for us to evolve as people we need to be able to action, adapt & command change. We also need to be the best version of women in order to set good examples for the next generation of women.

How would you say the Australian woman is changing?
Australia is such a wonderful & diverse country. We are lucky enough to be able to make our dreams reality – now more than ever, Australian women are going out and living their dreams & aspirations especially in the workplace.

What do you love the most about your job?
I love being able to go to work each day and lead & inspire the wonderful team I work with. I love setting teams up to succeed and sitting back & watching them do that gives me great joy and I am proud to be able to do that. I also love going out and meeting, talking and engaging with new people & stakeholders in our business.

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