FIT­TING TRIB­UTE TO JOJO

SUN­SHINE COAST FASH­ION STORE LAUNCHES COL­LEC­TION IN MEM­ORY OF BELOVED FOUNDER JOANNE BRUCE, AS STAFF RALLY BE­HIND DAUGH­TER AND NEW BOSS, 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGH­TER, JEM

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | BIG READ - WORDS: NICKY MOFFAT

THE vivid colours of a kaf­tan worn by the late Joanne “Jojo” Bruce will be im­mor­talised in a fash­ion range launched in her hon­our.

Since Ms Bruce’s death in a horserid­ing ac­ci­dent in June, her 12-year-old daugh­ter Jem has be­come the of­fi­cial boss of the grow­ing JOJO brand.

Five silk gar­ments in JOJO Noosa’s For Jojo col­lec­tion are now on the shelves at the store’s four lo­ca­tions in Eu­mundi, Noosa Junc­tion, Noosa Heads and Sun­shine Plaza.

The pieces are the first of three ranges to be re­leased in the com­ing weeks, busi­ness op­er­a­tions man­ager Maria Feu­trill said.

“We were in­spired by a beau­ti­ful photo that we all trea­sure af­ter Jo’s sad pass­ing,” Mrs Feu­trill said.

“It’s a photo of her in In­dia wear­ing a beau­ti­ful silk gar­ment that she had found.

“I just thought it would be a lovely way of pay­ing trib­ute to her, to re­pro­duce that in a range.”

The silk range was made in In­dia by a cloth­ing man­u­fac­turer Ms Bruce had met in Syd­ney.

The fabric used in the trib­ute col­lec­tion was recre­ated from the piece Ms Bruce had owned, and other de­signs were in­spired by the orig­i­nal kaf­tan.

“There’s two gor­geous styles of long kaf­tans … all em­bel­lished with beau­ti­ful hand-ap­plied jew­els around the neck­line,” Mrs Feu­trill said.

Two shorter kaf­tans and a maxi dress com­pleted the In­dian silk col­lec­tion.

Mrs Feu­trill play­fully de­scribed how the “JOJO tribe” wore the time­less kaf­tan, which she be­lieved would never go out of style.

“These ones are re­ally flat­ter­ing in all shapes and sizes, which is re­ally im­por­tant to us, as our JOJO tribe is made up of all sorts of ladies,” she said.

“I’ve found that the younger ladies will tie up the long kaf­tan in a big knot or bunch it up on the side.

“I’ve seen them worn very el­e­gantly over a clas­sic-cut pant, with heels … and I’ve seen them float­ing along the beach with no shoes on at all.”

Jem has al­ready put her stamp on the busi­ness, launch­ing an on­line shop­ping plat­form that she had worked on with her mother. “I know it’s go­ing to be very hard for her now and into the fu­ture,” Mrs Feu­trill said.

“But I think she’s re­ally very ex­cited by see­ing all these things her mum wanted to do come to fruition.”

The im­proved web­site would launch next month, Mrs Feu­trill said.

Jem’s promi­nence in the busi­ness felt nat­u­ral for the JOJO team, who al­ways ex­pected her to “take over the em­pire”, Mrs Feu­trill said.

Jem was grow­ing into her role at JOJO while study­ing at school, with the help of her ded­i­cated fa­ther, Mrs Feu­trill said.

“She’s got a won­der­ful sense of hu­mour; she’s very much like her mum, cheeky and very funny,” she said.

“All of the ladies in the shop, as we were friends with Jo, we were all very close to Jem as well.”

The process of cre­at­ing a trib­ute range for Ms Bruce helped Mrs Feu­trill through her own grief, she said.

“For me, go­ing there ev­ery day and work­ing on both the con­tin­u­a­tion of the busi­ness and projects like this, has def­i­nitely proved to be very ther­a­peu­tic,” she said.

“Es­pe­cially, I know Jo’s wish of keep­ing this busi­ness alive and thriv­ing for her beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Jem — that’s re­ally what drives me as well.

“We dis­cussed it many times prior to her leav­ing us, and I have no doubt that this is what she wanted for her daugh­ter.”

She hap­pily re­counted the feel­ing of open­ing the first box from the new range.

“When it ar­rived on Thurs­day, I couldn’t be­lieve it — I was so emo­tional to see it there,” she said.

“These won­der­ful ideas that we’d all had tran­spired into some­thing solid in front of us.

“It is very im­por­tant for us to keep mov­ing for­ward, be­cause we may have lost Jo in the phys­i­cal sense, but we all feel her with us ev­ery day.

“I feel that she would have been re­ally proud of this hap­pen­ing. She would have found this re­ally beau­ti­ful … and I think it’s why my­self and all the man­age­ment team are so proud of it all.”

The next two ad­di­tions to the For JOJO range will be in stores mid-oc­to­ber, Mrs Feu­trill said.

“It was im­por­tant to us to in­volve all her friends … overseas,” she said.

“Ev­ery­one was her friend that worked for her overseas, in put­ting to­gether this col­lec­tion.”

Pic­tures: Bian­con Me­dia and John Mccutcheon

HEART­FELT: Ab­bie Breck­en­ridge wears a dress from JOJO'S For Jojo trib­ute col­lec­tion at Noosa Main Beach.

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