This spring, Bendigo is further cementing its reputation as a style centre for designers, with Toni Maticevski’s innovative exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee adding their unique splashes of colour to the Living Art Space, and the city’s own retailers and fashion students taking to the runway for Bendigo Fashion Festival 2016.

Writer: Sue Turpie – Photographer: David Field

When Bendigo establishes a reputation, it does so with aplomb. The gold rush during the 1850s saw people from across the world converge on the city to seek their fortune. Today it’s our collections of fashion that have people talking and flying half-way across the globe to see. This season sees a winning combination of stylish exhibitions and events being held throughout the city.
The first is Flamingo Park and Beyond, a boutique exhibition at the Living Art Space of creations by Australian designers Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee. Their bold and colourful creations have made them design icons. So much so that when first starting out found some people at home thought their creations a little too much.
“When we went to Italy… they loved it,” Linda says. “It was fantastic because they just got it. They got the quality, they got the detail and they could see we knew what we were doing. Whereas other people here thought it was all a bit wild.”
Flicking through catalogues of Linda’s, the words that come to mind are vivid, vibrant, unique – much like Linda herself.
“That’s who I was from when I was tiny. I learned to make my clothes when I was quite small. My mum and dad were ballroom dancers, so I had creative and inspired parents. My mum taught me how to sew and I used to draw and paint.”
In her book, Linda Jackson – the Art of Fashion, it describes the first photograph Linda took with her father’s Box Brownie. It was of her doll, dressed in its finest, propped against a tree in the family backyard. There really was no other career for such a spirit.
For Linda, her designs came from a deep-held creativity that wasn’t limited to fashion itself. The fashion was almost a by-product of her own curiosity and innovation. While Linda studied fashion design for a year at RMIT, and worked in the bridal salon of Sportsgirl, she also studied photography with Paul Cox…