Primoeza is the brainchild of Melbourne-based Elizabeth Yong. When reading about her personal idea of fashion you can almost envision her two cats – where the name of the brand is taken from– playing together and purring in a bright pure space. Forget about the bling and glitter, Primoeza is all about real, simple life.
Primoeza is an amalgamation of the names of two cats I had at the time of starting the label in 2009. I wanted to find a name that was meaningful and personal to me as I didn’t want a separation of my professional work and personal life anymore. I had so many jobs where I would walk out the door at 5pm and this never felt right. I’m not a workaholic, but I find it so much more interesting and satisfying when my work is interwoven with life. And you say Primoeza like an Italian word with the accent on the middle syllable– pree-MO-za.
Sometimes I’m not sure! But I know I’ve always had it in me, to work with textiles, because even as a young child, when my family were not in the slightest bit interested in anything to do with aesthetics, let alone fashion, I would visit my best friend’s house and admire all the beautiful antique cloth her mother would keep.
I think I'm quite practical and pragmatic in a way, so working with fabric and applying it to something that can be worn and used everyday is perfect for me.
These days I get a lot more inspiration from my friends than people in the media. I know a handful of women who take the time to cultivate their own ideas about the world. They’re strong personalities with their own stories and quirks and more often than not, they’re interestingly and beautifully dressed in clothing gleaned from all sorts of places.
I was thinking about starting my own label for such a long time that I was getting so frustrated and just had to start it! I spent many years working in jobs that I wasn’t happy in and wanted to do my own thing but never seriously believed I could do it, but it got to a point where it was ridiculous and I had nothing to lose by trying.
It’s not a conscious, deliberate message, and perhaps it’s more of a reminder to myself than anything else, that everything in life is connected and everything one does is a reflection of inner thoughts, whether they’re subconscious or not. There are aspects of my work that seem eternally problematic and that I struggle with but I know I can’t really blame it on anyone else, the industry or the market because I think they’re really just battles I have with myself. This stuff sounds so heavy, but they’re things that I think a lot about.
As I get older they become more simple. From fashion to food to interiors I appreciate simplicity more and more. But I will always be drawn to the handmade and the idiosyncratic.
Well, it’s hard, like anywhere else. In Melbourne the cost of production is very high and it’s so far away that it’s expensive to ship goods in and out. But Melbournites are very interested in fashion and supportive of niche brands and of course the internet makes it possible to work in an international marketplace.
Yes, I would love to live in New York for a period of time. It sounds like a cliche but you can feel the creative energy there as soon as you step off the plane. And I also love Tasmania. I think I could be very happy living there.
At the moment life is my big project! I’ve had a lot of changes in the last few months, it’s been intensely overwhelming but I hope this will open me up to a lot of new thoughts, experiences and people which will in turn enrich my work.