Thursday, 2 September 2021
Statements by Members
Mackellar Electorate: Fashion Industry
[by video link] Too many people say that manufacturing is not possible in Australia; that we have to compete against overseas manufacturers, who offer wages equivalent to modern slavery; that innovation does not allow for well-paid, engaging jobs or for Australia to lead the way. Allow me to offer a substantial counterpoint: Jimmy Stuart, made here in Australia by the genius that is Avalon local Jimmy Grenenger. Thirty-seven years ago, at the age of 21, Jimmy, a prison officer at Long Bay, had a dream. He dreamed of shirts like this, which stand as proof that Australians are only limited by the bounds of their imagination. Jimmy went to TAFE, studied fashion, made his own designs and has never looked back.
As Jimmy will tell you, nothing is easy. He told me that running your own business in the rag trade is a lot more dangerous than prison. His inspiration comes from making garments that own the room, and making them right here in Australia. He told me that this is probably his greatest success. 'When just about everyone else was taking their businesses offshore to China, I fought hard to make my shirts here.' Jimmy admits to his mistakes too, like when he thought it would be a brilliant idea to make a shirt that had an opening at the back and not the front. It turns out it didn't work. At any time it is important for us to support our entrepreneurs, but at this time it is especially important. I urge anyone looking for a shirt that owns the room, including the House of Representatives or elsewhere, to check out Jimmy Stuart.