Hannah Roche and Dani Marano’s small print publication, BNE Girls, shines a spotlight on the abundance of talented women who call Brisbane home. Although Brisbane often wins the “bronze medal” in Australian creative capitals, the humidity and relentless sunshine that hits the city seems to inspire work that reflects the day-to-day life in the 4000. BNE Girls contains 27 portraits that celebrate female creativity and highlights the many artistic communities that Brisbane has to offer. We caught up with Hannah and Dani to discuss their inspirations and what’s next for BNE Girls.
Firstly, can you tell me a bit about your background and what you do?
H: I am a fashion photographer living and working between Sydney and Melbourne. I’m interested in capturing the relationship between the female body, fashion and design.
D: I am a renaissance woman. A wannabe everything. I lived in Brisbane for 8 years before moving to Melbourne at the start of the year. I occasionally style shoots for local labels and as a day job I manage a women’s clothing store in Fitzroy.
What inspired you to create BNE Girls?
H: Brisbane is full to the brim of talented creative women working in so many different fields. We really wanted to create a series that focused on and celebrated those women. Dani shared this passion, so we wanted to produce this together. Dani’s a really talented stylist and her ideas translate really beautifully.
D: The amazing women of Brisbane and working with Hannah. Hannah has an amazing eye for detail and really knows how to make people comfortable in front of the camera. I have loved watching Hannah’s work progress over the past few years and am so thankful to work with her.
Where do you see small/boutique/start up labels sitting in the fashion world when there are so many large established labels to compete with?
D: Small boutique labels may have large established labels to compete with but there is still a market for the conscious consumer. Ideally the conscious consumer considers their purchases and prefers to shop for locally produced labels. Being able to control all aspects of production can be used to a start-ups advantage and give them a point of difference against their chain store competition. In saying this it can be difficult for a small label to maintain their brand ethos and identity as they expand. We need to be more aware of what we are consuming and smaller labels have the ability to educate us and promote positive practices.
Has the internet and broader scope of communication made it easier to start a label?
H: Absolutely. It is so much easier to promote your work through the social platforms that exist. I have come across so many new labels to follow on Instagram. Instagram particularly is a great tool and allows for labels (and artists) to get beautiful imagery out there. Because of the Internet and social media you can also start a business from your bedroom, which reduces overheads and ultimately helps to get your business off the ground. In saying that, it’s also a heavily saturated place and people have increasingly shorter attention spans, so you have to be doing something different to stand out.
D: The Internet has made it easier for labels to engage the consumer through clever use of social media platforms. The customer is constantly provided with visual stimulus through Instagram, blogs and websites to create a cohesive brand identity. A designer can run a whole label from their studio or on the run with the help of the Internet.
Do you think Brisbane has a lot of opportunities for creatives?
H: I think there is a lot of creativity coming out of Brisbane – great bands, artists, designers. In my experience it has been a great place to study, learn and collaborate with other artists, but it’s hard to get paid work here. Often people end up moving to Sydney or Melbourne for paid work opportunities.
D: I think Brisbane has a lot of opportunities for creatives to collaborate and develop skills but not consistent paid work. There are always exceptions though, local businesses like Frank and Mimi, Bianca Mavrick, Lovestar and Talty Sargent found their point of difference and are going strong!
What local/Australian artists inspire your work?
H: Saskia Wilson, Miso, Brooke Holm, Phebe Schmidt, Levon Baird, Frances Cannon, Intent Journal is an ethical fashion publication that is constantly inspiring me in terms of mindfulness in the fashion industry.
D: Margaret Preston, Julian Meagher, Miranda Skoczek and Elizabeth Barnett. I am a sucker for a good still life.
Do you think it is harder for females to become established in creative fields?
D: Obviously there are some challenges in areas like architecture and music, but many women I know work in creative fields. They work in art galleries, own cafes, take photographs, make jewelry, create art and they work hard. They are establishing themselves in their chosen fields and gender has nothing to do with it!
What are you trying to achieve with this project?
D: To put it simply we wanted to acknowledge creative women and their contribution to to Brisbane’s creative communities. Brisbane is an underrated city brimming with amazing talent and we wanted to start a dialogue about that. We were also drawn to idea of creating a book rather than an online publication because the more virtual our lives becomes the more we crave the physical. I love being able to interact with an object, feel the texture of a books front cover and flick through the pages. You don’t experience the same interaction with a digital publication and a book stays with you for a lifetime.
What’s next for BNE Girls?
H: We’d love to take it to another Australian capital city so we have to figure out the logistics of that.. Stay tuned!