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Emmarvelous designer

Think Local

      Avalon has a large number of retail outlets; there are mannequins and coat-hangers everywhere. But when I arrive, one shop-front in particular seems to be stopping people in their tracks. Fittingly, it is Pinko Boheme, the store that gave Emma Walker her big break.

    And so, North Shore Living enters the Old Barrenjoey Road store, and asks owner Jasmine Foster what labels are being displayed on the sought-after clothing racks outside. I'm expecting her to list some of her more established brands like Arnhem or Free People.

    “That's Emma's Rosie & Minx swimwear,”- she smiles.

   The story goes that earlier this year Emma tearlessly walked into Pinko Boheme and asked Jasmine to have a look at her collection. Jasmine was impressed with her confidence and the quality of her product but thought August was a little too early to sell swimwear. Emma persisted however, and her infectious energy and passion was rewarded with prime real estate at the front of the store.

    "I was really impressed (with her collection), I couldn't believe that someone of her age - like she's 21-years-old - had such an eye for detail. I've been in the industry for 16 years and when I actually had a look at the quality I was blown away,” Jasmine tells North Shore Living.

    “The response has been incredible, within two weeks of having it landed in store we had sold over 40 units, which is epic particularly considering it was swimwear in winter.

    "It was a huge blessing to me but also what a blessing that I could encourage her and offer her that support. I'm so proud of her, I'm the biggest fan!"

    From the store, I literally just had to cross the road to meet Emma at her apartment/home office. The former Pymble Ladies College student recently moved from the North Shore to the beaches, and is currently working on her second collection, which is being designed for the Northern Hemisphere summer. Her lofty global vision doesn't take me by surprise because I had heard earlier that Emma had rejected samples manufactured in Bali because as she put it "they were shocking" and spared no expense to have it all done in Australia to a much higher standard.

    “Things like that can be stressful," Emma reveals to North Shore Living. “It's not all fun, the fun designing side of it is probably the smallest side of it, but I'd rather have the stress of owning my own business than just be working for someone else and not having anything to worry about.”

   Emma studied Interior Design at Sydney Design School and says that has helped her a lot despite the change in direction.

   "I learnt all the design programs so it wasn't too hard to make that transition,” she says.

   "I grew up in swimmers and I've always loved fashion, so I just combined it all.”

    She has been overwhelmed by the support of the local community and the response particularly from her targeted demographic (13-25 years).

     “Everyone has been really positive - actually a lot of the younger teenage girls are really sort of passionate about it and has been like 'If you want any help, any modelling, anything we'll do it!'. They get really into it, I think they just love that it's a local brand."

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