Karen’s accomplishments in fashion began in 1993 when she won an Australian Fashion Design Competition, sponsored by Woman’s Day magazine. She had entered a sketch of a striking black and white evening gown. Her prize included construction of the gown by a Sydney couturier, and a trip to Europe to view her gown in a global competition held in Brussels. Here, Karen’s design achieved 3rd place, amongst 52 countries.

Karen Elizabeth Young Karen Elizabeth Young Karen Elizabeth Young

Ironically, she was a primary school teacher at the time, with no formal training in design. Just a love of drawing, sewing and memories of childhood creations.

“As a child I was always drawn to fashion. My mother made me lovely clothes, until I acquired her skills and made my own. I loved spending hours looking through fabric shops, pattern books and clothing stores. I was very artistic as a child but eventually persuaded by family into a teaching career. I followed my parents wishes, but always dreamed about fashion. When I saw the design competition in the Women’s Day, I knew this was my moment! ”

Karen Elizabeth Young Karen Elizabeth Young

Karen followed her instincts and proved to herself and many others, she had natural talents for professional fashion design.

“It was a very exciting time for me and a thrill to see my Australian winning gown, paraded on a European stage. I was delighted to come 3rd, behind France and Italy. But funnily enough it was the outfit I wore, that caused the biggest stir! I could literally hear increasing murmurs through the Brussels audience as i proceeded towards the stage to collect my trophy. I had also designed a matching 2 piece ensemble of lace shorts and an off-shoulder top for myself. Those unlined lace shorts were a little “daring” back then, but remain very current in today’s trends and a sentimental favourite to me. I often have a quiet giggle recalling the attention they received.”

As exciting as those achievements were for Karen in 1993, the timing still wasn’t conducive to begin a fashion career. Karen was soon to be married and needed the security of teaching.

“In hindsight, I wasn’t regretful of a teaching career. It was very rewarding and I acquired confidence, leadership and people skills. It also gave me time and opportunity to expand my creative skills”.

However, a shock diagnosis with Breast Cancer in 2019, motivated Karen to follow her true calling and re-ignite the dreams she had buried for so long….