Welcome to Juliette et Felicity

From a very young age, I knew deep within me that there were certain things I was born to do. It felt like remnants of my natural genetics or talents acquired in a past life, or maybe even a blend of both. Regardless of the origin, the feeling was visceral, and it simply felt right. As I progressed through life, this strong resonance never wavered, leaving me with no doubt that it was meant to be. I embraced it wholeheartedly, understanding that there was a reason for its presence. This is the story of my inspiring fashion journey as the visionary founder of Juliette et Felicity - my name is Peggy Leder.

Ahead of the fashion curve

I can still recall the first dress I designed as a teenager as if I had sketched it just yesterday. It was the year 1990, a time when pastels, puffs, and pleats were all the rage in fashion. I was living on the Gold Coast back then, having recently moved with my family from New Caledonia. It happened during one of my art classes in eighth grade. I remember drawing a tight-fitting little black dress with delicate shoestring straps and an incredibly short hemline (although the proportions were a bit off). The model I sketched had a slim waist accentuated by an exaggerated backside, reminiscent of the popular influencers we see all over our Instagram feeds today. Looking back, I guess you could say I was ahead of the fashion curve even at a young age.

As I admired my creation, I felt a sense of destiny knocking on my career door. From that moment onward, I knew with unwavering certainty that I wanted to create beautiful clothes. That very night, gathered around the dinner table with my family, I couldn't contain my excitement and proudly shared my ambition with my mother. However, her response was stern and unapologetic, accompanied by a penetrating stare. "You need talent to be a fashion designer," she declared firmly. In that instant, it felt as though my childhood dreams had been swept away, vanishing out the kitchen window forever - or so I believed at the time. Little did I know that this setback would only be temporary.

The fashion dream never left

My fashion designer aspirations were left high and dry. Heeding my parents' advice, I decided to pursue studies in finance, business, and IT at Griffith University, succumbing to the belief that this path would offer a more lucrative career. After six years of intense studying, I finally graduated and embarked on a career in IT, taking on administrative and managerial roles that quickly propelled me up the corporate ladder. However, my enduring fashion dream never faded from my imagination.

Despite the doubtful words spoken around the dinner table a decade earlier, I made the decision to stop running away from my dream. In 2000, I took the leap and enrolled in a Certificate IV in Fashion Design and Industry Practices at the esteemed East Sydney Fashion Design Studio. It was a highly competitive institution to get into, and I felt incredibly fortunate to secure a place among a talented cohort of 60, chosen from a pool of 800 applicants. This marked the beginning of a six-year journey, balancing part-time study with full-time work, as I set my sights on a promising future in the fashion industry.

Shortly after enrolling, I crossed paths with my now husband. Over time, we decided that we wanted to start a family together. As a result, my career aspirations took a back seat, although a sliver of fashion study remained alive on the side. It wasn't until 2014 that I finally took an active role in designing my own pieces, honing my unique aesthetic through the practices taught at the exclusive Sydney studio. If I was to describe my vision and approach, I would say, "It's a flirty, embellished, and natural style, often incorporating two opposing ideas and blending them into one cohesive theme."

Sustainability needs to be a well-considered journey

Applying traditional artisan techniques to fashion design and manufacturing is a key element Peggy weaves into her bespoke garments. Her stylistic reasoning is two-fold. Firstly, she prefers the intention and associated quality that goes into handmade pieces that’s fast getting lost to the disposable fashion scene. This is evident through her precise handwork, custom embellishments and organic dyes derived from plants and flowers. Secondly, all design decisions must consider the garments’ life cycle: being an eco-friendly label that uses natural fibres and haberdashery to cause minimal environmental harm is an integral ethos circulating behind the brand. A Juliette et Felicity piece is designed to wear well and last, with Peggy's vision to eventually offer free client repairs through a custom atelier service will allow Juliette et Felicity to evolve into a 100% eco-friendly and ethical brand, enhancing the already well considered journey into sustainability that the brand is taking.

30 year life vision ready to flourish

As the sun sets on my day as a designer, I find immense fulfilment when a stylish woman adores my creations just as passionately as I do, and chooses to acquire a cherished piece crafted from the depths of my soul. Through Juliette et Felicity, my aim is to establish a bond with kindred spirits, women who value exquisitely tailored attire, recognise the artistry behind it, and aspire to make a positive impact on the world by supporting environmentally sustainable and ethically conscious products. The launch of Juliette et Felicity stands as a testament to the 30-year vision that has finally found its wings in the realm of fashion.

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