Meet the designers: Brisbane Arcade - Visit Brisbane

Meet the designers: Brisbane Arcade

In a world of fast fashion and fast trends, the idea of having something timeless made for you by someone local is the definition of luxury.

Undoubtedly the historic and prestigious Brisbane Arcade is home to the highest concentration of Brisbane’s local fashion designers. Inside the storefronts of the 95-year-old gallery mall you’ll find small fashion houses and couture designers. Step inside a boutique and chances are you’ll be speaking with the owner or head designer themselves.

Here we’ve profiled four of Brisbane Arcade’s top local designers who over many decades have honed their craft here and overseas and continue to bring the finest couture, European fabrics and  designs into our subtropical city.   

Pia Du Pradal

Known for chic, comfortable and sharp tailored corporate wear, special occasion, racewear and mother-of-the-bride outfits, Pia Du Pradal clothing is a Brisbane-made label with more 30 years to its name. The namesake designer migrated from South Africa in the 1980s as an anthropologist, drastically switching careers and following in her mother’s footsteps with clothing.

Over the past three decades Pia has dressed many leading Australian women in her sharp tailored designs and European styling including former Governor General Dame Quentin Bryce. For the last few years Pia has been collaborating with Indigenous artist Louise Numina Napananka, printing her stunning paintings onto luxurious fabrics to make dresses, skirts, scarves and more. Every piece is made in Pia Du Pradal’s inner-city studio, and you can shop the latest collections at her ground-floor store in Brisbane Arcade.

Darb Bridal

It’s hard not to swoon over the stunning, timeless romance of a Darb couture gown. Inspired by old-world opulence and 1950’s Dior glamour, designer Brad Webb reworks centuries-old ideas and contemporary couture skills to craft exquisite dresses for clients that demand more. A master of couture with two decades of experience, Brad is a three-time winner of the Australian Fashion Design Awards Supreme Award, plus nine category awards.

Darb Bridal

During a series of private consultations, the bride can try sample gowns and Brad will dream up the vision for her dress in a collaborative process. Each creation is made-to-measure for that perfect fit, with Darb Bridal sourcing the finest Italian silks, French lace, speciality fabrics and deluxe embellishments to hand stitch each dress. 

Irma J. Smith House of Fashion

Irma J Smith House of Fashion

“Always be overdressed rather than overlooked” and “ life’s too short to wear boring clothes” are the two mantras that define this label’s bright and fabulous signature bespoke suiting and garments. The 50-year-old family fashion house has been creating its made-to-order pieces within Brisbane Arcade since 1993, with designer Bronwyn Smith continuing the legacy of her late mother Irma and sister Marabeth today. 

Irma J Smith House of Fashion

Each piece is tailored to fit and flatter a woman’s individual frame, designed for individuals who love originality and high quality of workmanship. Incredible fabrics are imported from France, Italy, England and Europe, which Bronwyn uses to create bright classic suits and evening gowns from custom measurements.

Tengdahl

Julie Tengdahl

Brisbane label Tengdahl transcends age groups and trends with its luxurious and relaxed style. Award-winning designer Julie Tengdahl takes creative inspiration from her regular travels. Her signature style is influenced by sustainable, ethical production, impeccable craftsmanship and exquisite, unique textiles. It’s for these reasons and more that she chooses to keep production in Brisbane, resulting in a smaller, artisanal and slow fashion approach for the label.

Julie Tengdahl at the Brisbane Arcade Spring Collection Runway Show

Tengdahl garments are timeless in style, following the philosophy that beauty lies in high quality materials, longevity and simplicity of form. As each garment is crafted in the label’s studio and workroom, which is on an upper level of Brisbane Arcade, Tengdahl delivers a demi-couture label where clients can request custom designs, size or length alterations. Julie opened her first boutique in Brisbane Arcade three decades ago.

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