In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is the another instalment in "Collective Conversations," a weekly series focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to Julia Browne, the woman behind the alias STYLE SHIFTER. Using her platform, Julia shares styling tips, tricks to make the most out of your wardrobe and is constantly promoting the work of local and independent designers. Her style is colourful, bold and eclectic- much like her.

  1. Describe yourself in three words?

    Playful, supportive, determined.

  2. What does heritage and tradition mean to you?

    I'm English/Welsh/Antiguan and up until recently the only representative in Australia from my side of the family, and so I feel it's really important that my daughter has a connection to my family, her heritage, and herself. I've recently connected with my Dad's family who originates from Antigua. He was one of 21 children so there are literally 100's of Browne's across the world and we found out a couple of years ago that we have a cousin here in Melbourne (who now just lives down the road from us), which is amazing.

3. Something that you’re passionate about? 

I'm passionate about championing emerging and independent fashion talent here in Melbourne. We are so incredibly lucky to have such a unique and diverse pool of amazing designers! I love clothes that are designed with love and intention and help the wearer tell an authentic story about themselves. I also feel that independent and student designers are the future of fashion as they are best placed to respond to the ever-growing need for responsible and ethical business practices.

4. Who do you most admire? 

Hands down my Mum. She became a single parent when my sister and I were still young and held down several jobs to make sure that we never went without. Then in her 30's, she re-invented herself, studying at night school so she could start a career in community service. Growing up, we never had a lot of money but our Mum taught us we shouldn't make it an obstacle to reaching your goals, and that there are always workarounds to achieve what you want in life.

5. What is a weekly/monthly/fortnightly ritual or tradition you do for yourself? 

During our current lockdown, I always ensure that I give myself at least a couple of hours of "me time" in a separate part of the house.

6. What is something you’re proud of?

I'm really proud of becoming a certified telephone counsellor/support worker for Wire - Women's Information. They offer a free support, referral, and information service for all Victorian women, nonbinary and gender-diverse people. I'm so very proud of the incredible training I undertook, the amazing team who work and volunteer there, and the fantastic service they offer. Post COVID I'd love to explore opportunities of volunteering with them again.

7. What's something you do to be kind to yourself?

I dress up. Planning what I'm going to wear gets me energised and makes me mentally and emotionally ready for the day ahead.

8. What are some traditions that you’ve adopted from somewhere or someone else? 

I know it's a bit of a contentious holiday here in Australia, but I absolutely love celebrating Halloween! It's one of the only holidays where you get to see your neighbours and see children and families filling the streets. It's beautiful. It will be interesting to see what Halloween will look like this year.

9. How do you align and connect with your intuition?

I use my intuition for my styling tips on Instagram. I find the tips I provide when I don't overthink and just go with my gut, are always the ones best received.

10. What's an assumption others make about you?

Because my British accent is still so strong, people always assume that I've only been in Australia for a matter of weeks, and not that I've been living here for over 15 years.

11. Is there an item you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future? 

Your own line of headwraps!

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