The places that made me: Lorna Jane Clarkson, activewear designer and entrepreneur


I was born in England and although I consider myself "Australian", having lived here most of my life, I still think having an English upbringing (and a very English family) has influenced my personality and how I see and interpret things creatively.


Moving to Australia was life-changing for me. I went from being a total bookworm to getting active any chance I could. If we hadn't moved here I seriously doubt that Lorna Jane (or activewear, as we know it) would ever have happened. Maybe I would have been a designer of librarian-wear instead …


In the early days of my business, I would travel to Hong Kong at least four or five times a year organising fabrics, samples and production of my products. I noticed that so many of the businesses were family businesses and I loved how well they worked together. It made me stop and think about how I wanted to run my business and that has certainly influenced the way Lorna Jane operates today.


I went to India six years ago with my girlfriend and her husband to finally meet and bring back to Australia their beautiful twins. Before my visit I had pre-conceived ideas about the people being unhappy because of the poverty, but learnt from my time there that material wealth is not a measure of happiness in the slums of India or anywhere else in the world.


Having a business in LA means I spend a lot of time there and it has definitely influenced my design aesthetic. I think the combination of Australian and LA influence has given Lorna Jane a more global feel than ever before.

Lorna Jane Clarkson sewed her first one-off design in 1989 at her home in Brisbane. There are now more than 200 Lorna Jane stores across Australia and the USA, as well as stockists in Europe, the UK, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. See