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loud and proud locally designed dresses to wear this frocktober

loud and proud locally designed dresses to wear this frocktober


Wear a frock that gets people chatting for a super-important cause.

If you’re like us, you’ve spent much of the last year in your trackie dacks, and you’re fangin’ for an excuse to get gussied up. Though we’ve got nothing against cosy basics or neutral hues, we firmly believe in the mood-boosting power of bright colours and big ol’ prints. And there’s no better reason to don your snazziest garms than to make a difference in women’s lives. 

This year the Frocktober campaign is calling on folks to wear their loudest, most attention-grabbing frocks to spark much-needed conversations about ovarian cancer – an often overlooked disease that sadly claims the life of one Australian woman every eight hours. You can help change that by joining Frocktober in support of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Every October, the OCRF raises funds for the development of an early detection test, which could save the lives of 8,000 Aussie women over the next 10 years.

This year’s theme is 'let's get loud', which means it’s time to pull out your spiffiest duds; hopefully, they’ll start a few chinwags about this super-important cause. If you’re keen to be involved, skip on over to to donate or register a fundraising group. To inspire you, we’ve gathered some absolutely cracking, conversation-starter dresses by our favourite local designers.

Lotta Smock Dress (Variety Hour)
You didn’t think we’d write an article about eye-catching frocks without mentioning Variety Hour, did you? Founder Cassie Byrnes loves bright textiles, so any of her designs would do, but we’re especially smitten with this linen Lotta Smock Dress in the Terra Flora print.

Limoncello Roma Dress (Frank & Dollys)
Let’s be honest: it’s rather unconventional to pair plaid trim with a large-scale lemon print. But if the result is as cool as this colourful button-down dress by Byron-based clothing brand Frank & Dolly’s, we reckon we’d like to see it a lot more. The Limoncello Roma dress was inspired by the Amalfi coast travels of married couple Joel and Rachel Cooper, who started a clothing line in homage to Rachel’s creative grandparents (the OG Frank and Dolly).

Splice Floral Tea Dress (Romance Was Born)
The floral pattern on this boxy Romance Was Born dress doesn’t scream “Disney” (a brand that’s about as over-the-top as it gets). But it is derived from the work of Walt Disney Company animator and artist Mary Blair, a game-changing colour whiz who drew the vibrant concept art for films like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella.

Lovestruck Smock Dress (Jericho Road Clothing)
Need a frock? Obsessed with pink? Meet your sartorial match: the Lovestruck dress by Jericho Road Clothing, run by Brissie-based sisters Chloe and Kate Russell. Covered in matches, some of which are topped with tiny red hearts (cue the awwwwws), this dress was designed in collaboration with wedding stationery brand September Creative.

Babin T-Shirt Dress (Ngali)
Earthy colours can be bold, too. We’re big fans of the striking ochre, grey and white combo on this silk t-shirt dress by Indigenous-owned brand Ngali. Made in a print adapted from the artwork of Gija man Lindsay Malay – who works from the Warmun Art Centre in the Kimberley – the versatile Babin t-shirt dress can be turned front to back for a new look.

Knit Dress (Holiday by Emma Mulholland)
We’re not so grown up that we’ve become immune to the charms of smiley faces (neither are you, we suspect). It’s human nature to smile at something smiling back at you – even if it’s just the adorable daisies on a knit dress. Don this jolly frock by Sydney designer Emma Mulholland, and savour the face-splitting grins likely to come your way.

The Ulo Smock (ULO)
ULO designer Dinzi Amobi-Sanderson grew up in Nigeria, where there’s a rich tradition of folks embracing vibrant and clashing textiles (to delightful effect). After moving from London to Australia, Dinzi started ULO, which means “home” in her family’s Igbo dialect. ULO’s wares are made-to-order in small batches, so they sell quick-smart. But if you’re after a frock that’s as cool as all get out, there’s always something bold-a-brewing at ULO.

This spiffy list was put together with the help of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. They’re calling on folks to frock up throughout October to raise funds for ovarian cancer research. Swing by to learn more.