With over 18 years of working in the fashion business, Fleur Richardson (Co-Owner and MD) is no stranger to the complexities of the ever-changing fashion industry. This successful businesswoman and fashionista talks about the modern fashion world and how her business, Leina Broughton, fits into it.
From the moment you step in to the studio, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the exhilarating atmosphere. Despite the hype of the upcoming day, which involved a plethora of tasks, given the launch of Leina Broughton’s new season, there is always a calming presence in the room. Fleur provides a peaceful, welcoming attitude to what could be considered a highly stressful situation for many. Fleur Richardson grew up in New Zealand, and as many young children do, fantasised about exciting careers. For Fleur, hairdressing seemed like the perfect career. Well, for all of five minutes that is… Regardless, it became clear that Fleur would inevitably build a creative career.
After finishing school, Fleur trained in a Westpac Bank. This job offered her firsthand experience in the financial elements of the real world. Little did she know that these skills would help her to become the successful businesswoman she is today.
It was at 19 that Fleur ventured off to Europe to travel. This experience was a definite eye opener to the endless possibilities available to her. Upon her return, Fleur gained a position at a popular swimwear company in New Zealand. This job eventually led her to a career crossroads: should she play it safe, and continue to advance her accounting skills, or risk it all to pursue design? The decision to branch out and study fashion design, which would have made her eight-year-old self very proud, is one that she has no regrets about.
She completed her training in Wellington, and gained a job at a men’s suit company. This job brought her to Australia, after she was promoted to their Melbourne office, just six months after starting.
Since moving to Australia, Fleur has faced many challenges, many of which are expected for creative professionals. However, the fashion industry is unique not only in its need for constant adaption to the current trends, but also to retain a signature style. Nevertheless, despite any challenges she faces, Fleur wisely states that ‘When you think you’re at rock bottom due to problem after problem, and seemingly impossible deadlines, there will always be a physical form of beauty emerging from the embers… a real sense of accomplishment and camaraderie on completion’.
"There will always be a physical form of beauty emerge from the embers"
This idea of camaraderie is one that Fleur feels very strongly about. She describes one of the most exciting elements of the fashion industry being the ‘super women’ with whom she is able to work. The fact that in all the hustle and bustle of the fashion industry, it is Fleur's peers who leave a lasting impression on her, says much about this remarkable woman.
The creative industries are often regarded as illustrious, exciting careers envied by many. Fleur, who has seen it all firsthand, says, ‘creating fashion is by no means glamorous, if you’re readily involved in the process’. Especially with today’s advancing technology, it is easy for fashion to lose its uniqueness. Fleur states that ‘Automation can only achieve so …much’.
The personal touch that is given to garments made by Fleur’s brand, Leina Broughton, add to their quality, but also give customers a sense of empowerment. This is definitely Fleur’s motivation when designing and producing garments. The concept of inclusivity of all, or many sizes, is one that is very important to Fleur and her brand. Inclusion, fun and determination are the values in which her business is founded on, and the culture that inspires a very positive growth for the industry.
Customers of the well-renowned brand, such as Tracy Pickett, 2017 brand ambassador, have experienced the power of these signature garments firsthand, not only for herself, but also her friends and colleagues of whom she has encouraged to try the brand. Tracy appreciates Fleur’s effort to select garments that are well- suited to her. In today’s society, where body image issues are worse than ever before, flaunting a dress that is guaranteed to flatter your features encourages women to view themselves in a positive light, rather than the dangerously common personal scrutiny. Fleur says “Something so simple, yet so empowering…why wouldn’t you do it?”
“Something so simple, yet so empowering…why wouldn’t you do it?”
This unique feeling of satisfaction cannot be reflected in many other professions. Hence why although she’s toyed at the idea of leaving her fashion days behind, Fleur has never found another career that rings true to her. Fleur states ‘It’s an all or nothing industry, but I can’t seem to bring myself to leave…So I guess I’m in it for life’.
This article was written by Georgia Mison, who is pictured here wearing our Mira dress in black. Georgia is the daughter of one of our Supermodels, Tracy, and is a really inspiring example of a woman coming through in the next generation.
She interviewed Fleur, collected the facts and submitted this, we love it. Georgia is 16yrs old in Year 11 at Clayfield College and has just been appointed as House Captain for next year, already smashing it!!
For the love of supporting women.