TIME FOR A COMEBACK
AFTER A DECADE ON THE STYLE BEAT, GOLD COAST EYE’S FASHION POLICEMAN IS HANDING IN HIS BADGE TO REDISCOVER HIS PASSION FOR DESIGN AND RETAIL
The spark of creativity can be fanned in mysterious ways. For Jay Pask, one of the Gold Coast’s favourite fashion sons, it was seeing a woman wearing one of his creations from a 15-year-old collection that lured him back to the sketchbook after a selfimposed break from the game.
“I was on my bike at Runaway Bay cenotaph for Anzac Day,” Jay says.
“I saw this fabric on a woman, burgundy shot black stretch in a mandarin collared jacket with a demi sleeve and covered buttons — covered buttons, no one does them any more — and I said ‘is that one of my pieces from 2002-2003?’
“’Yes’, she said. ‘I wear it all the time’. Mine was the first shop she went to when she’d moved up to the Gold Coast from Sydney and she’s been wearing it ever since. I couldn’t believe it was still being worn 15 years later.
“That was it. I thought that’s what I want to do.” The missing word there is “again”. Jay has already had a successful 16-year career as a fashion designer and boutique owner with a focus on special-occasion dressing, race and evening wear with shopfronts on Chevron Island, Marina Mirage and Tedder Avenue.
He left the game for a couple of years but, as regular Fashion Police readers will attest, never lost his incisive eye for fashion and design.
Now he’s got back on the clothes horse with an 18-piece collection currently in production. He’s aiming for a December 1 launch and, in the meantime, is working on a late summer release and some winter designs.
This time around, he says, he’s going to play things a little differently.
“It’s going to be more product focused,” he says. “When I first started out with a label, I think I personally became the product.
“It was me selling dresses because of my personality. This time it’s all going to be about fabric, cut, shape, style.”
That said, he’s looking forward to reconnecting with people and spending time each day in his boutique (at a yet to be revealed location).
“People say retail’s dead but if you do it properly, I believe there’s money there. You’ve got to have something that people want,” he says. “You have to make a woman look in the mirror and say I feel fabulous.”
The son of late Gold Coast motorbike identity Donny Pask has learned from the best. As a law and arts graduate from Bond University, he travelled to London to undertake postgraduate studies.
No sooner had he arrived when the Asian financial crisis hit, plunging the value of the Australian dollar overnight and blowing out the cost of his Masters program.
He decided he needed a job and walked into Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre’s store in London to ask for one.
“I said I’d like to work here and the European man there said ‘We don’t have jobs for you from Australia’,” Jay says.
“I was probably being a spoiled rich kid so I went back the next day to tell him how rude he was when he said ‘OK, you can have a job’.”
It was there he got acquainted with the rarefied made-to-measure department which serviced clients such as the Prince of Qatar and Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone.
He returned home and worked at highend women’s fashion boutique John Cavill before striking out on his own.
Jay describes his signature look as stylised, symmetrical and minimalist in design but with feature detailing.
His new range uses five different fabrics and includes staples such as sharp suits and cigarette pants. It also comes with signature flourishes featuring wiring, feathers and plunging silk cowls.
“It’s not designed to be disposable as so many people are doing these days,” he says.
Jay’s high-quality manufacturer in Asia, which handles many global up-market labels, paid him an early compliment, describing his relaunch as “an intelligent range”.
“I took that as a good sign,” Jay says. “I looked at going all Australian made but it’s just not viable these days unfortunately.”
Jay says there’s already been a bit of buzz about his return among those in the know.
“People have said to me you’re going to have to step up your social media,” he says. “But I’m not a fan of social media to tell the truth. I don’t really want a size six girl who hasn’t eaten in a week to go seeking a free top and saying they can work with me.
“I’m more catering to women over 40 perhaps who can see the value in something that works for their lifestyle.
“Size 16 or 18 women can benefit from a well-placed dart, a strap lift.”
Jay will reveal the location of his new boutique shortly, optimistic that his customers will be the ones who remember the “romance of retail” that online shopping will never match.
“HE LEFT THE GAME FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS BUT, AS FASHION POLICE READERS WILL ATTEST, NEVER LOST HIS INCISIVE EYE FOR FASHION AND DESIGN.”