When I was growing up in Australia in the 70's not many of our school friends had boats and went sailing every weekend. We knew it fascinated people, but we didn't really realize how lucky we were. Well kids never really appreciate how lucky they are.
Here is a photo of myself (red hat), my sister Cristi who does our accounts now (in groovy 70's visor) and my dad, who always grew a beard when we went on long sailing trips. Now his t-shirt is another 70's Australian classic.... XXXX is called Four-X, and it is brand of beer here in the Australian state of Queensland.
Now a few times when we were very young, we were taken out of school for 3 months, and we went on these massive sailing adventures up to the Great Barrier Reef. Our teachers gave us school books to take with us, but I don't remember doing a lot of homework. What I do remember was learning my times tables, parrot style, while we were on the long boring sailing days. 1x1=1, 1x2=2, 2x2=4. So on and so on.... boring, but I do still remember them!
Many of the islands we visited were very remote and had nothing on them at all. One island had this tiny shack built on it, which had reputably been abandoned by previous residents. Passing yachts had claimed this shack for themselves. Inside was sailboat memorabilia from previous visiting boats, and everyone left behind some sort of long-life food item, which could be enjoyed by possible shipwrecked sailors (well that's what dad told us). This was one fascinating shack for a little girl.
Look at my dad in the photo above, isn't that a classic John Travolta stance from the 70's! Here we are inside the shack, dad is reading to us from the visitors book.
Here we are on the boat with our family pet - a tiny budgie who came with us on all our long sailing adventures. We taught him to talk "who's a pretty boy - kiss - kiss - kiss". There were no iPads back then - this was our entertainment!
Is it not surprising then when you look back at these sorts of adventures that I had a bit of an "island obsession"? Here is a photo of us back on our tiny little boat. Obviously my mum was Chief Photographer, as she is in hardly any of the photos. Cristi was the little blondie - how cute is she! I just see my own little 6 year old daughter in myself at that age.
Now I have just noticed something else entirely, which I wasn't even looking for. The boat curtains.... they obviously also had a strong influence in my love of color. Mum made those boat curtains herself, but that swirl of bright primary colors reappeared 15 years later, in one of my Fashion College collections. Here is a photo of the resort wear story I made, which was in the finals of the Queensland Fashion Awards in 1990.... I hand screen printed this fabric myself on the old college tables.
The following year I also made the FINALS of the AUSTRALIAN Fashion Awards, with a different collection of bright primary colors. Click here to read that story.
These days I am still designing "island clothing" but thankfully not inspired by the curtains.