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 Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - FEATURE - WORDS: DENISE RAWARD PHOTO: JERAD WIL­LIAMS

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.”

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