Serina Bird, Founder
You could say that fashion has been in my blood.
I grew up surrounded by rolls of fabric, buttons and ribbons. My mother, the amazing Lee Bird, was in the rag trade and when I was a toddler, I would play under her table as she designed and made patterns. Mum built her retail and wholesale empire while I was growing up. She was big when shoulder pads were big and hair even bigger.
But as a young adult, I rejoiced in clothing but didn’t have the money to buy designer labels. I was gleefully a closet op-shopper – long before it was fashionable. I remember buying a fabulous full-length fake fur coat ahead of a year in China in the mid-1990s. The only problem was that it was so lovely, people assumed it was real and I was loaded. Try haggling in a full-length fur coat that people assume to be real. [Caveat here: I do not support animal cruelty and I’m pretty sure it was fully fake.]
In my adulthood, I became The Joyful Frugalista. I’m still pretty frugal, and I’ve even taken frugal fashion to a new level. It’s evolved beyond occasional op-shopping to embarrassing second-hand as a way of life. Second-hand, opped, free-loved or even vintage – it’s all a fabulous way to practice sustainability and embrace your unique style (aka quirkiness).
In October 2020, I held a clothes swap party for my birthday. After the event, I had bags of clothing. I donated most to my Zonta Club and op shops. But as I was writing an article about selling second-hand clothing for The Daily Telegraph (and associated titles), I decided to see if I could sell some of my clothing second hand. I found that there wasn’t a community that resonated with me.
I wanted somewhere to go that was vibrant, fun and more about style than about having a perfect body. I wanted to buy classic items that I could wear with pride at a job interview. Or at a black-tie ball. And I wanted it to be a bit like the treasure-seeking fun of being in an op shop, but accessible on my phone or computer. Because sometimes, my life is busy and I don’t have much time to get on my bike or in my car and head to a shop.
So I created The Joyful Fashionista. It’s my baby. It’s my joy. I hope you love it as much as I do.
I am grateful for the support of YWCA Canberra and the Canberra Innovation Network, who provided me with grant funding that has been instrumental in bringing this concept to life.
I also wish to acknowledge and support the Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast. You will see items here on sale to aid their charity. They do amazing things to support women and children, especially in the Canberra community, and I am thrilled to be supporting them.