Morning swims, rigorous PhD research and at-home fashion shoots comprise a day in Creative Director, Stylist and IP Law Writer Violet Atkinson’s life.
Exceedingly impressive in her balance of logic and art, Violet is an endearing, well-dressed antithesis to the idea that loving fashion equates to unintelligence or triviality. The Bondi-hailing bella paves Instagram with high fashion, low hems, loud colours and fluid lines. It’s all in the law of attraction.
It seems fitting that the colour violet is often synonymous with royalty, known to radiate power, luxury and ambition. This self-made style icon has forged a gallery-like page of frocks and fantasy-dressing. But all these magazine-plucked shots are tempered by her humility, intellect and unrivalled creativity.
A couture-clad chameleon, Violet is dressed boyish one day and hyper-feminine the next. She reminds onlookers that they are entitled to diversified interests, tastes, styles and occupations.
One day I might feel boyish, the next day I might feel particularly feminine. And I can show that in how I dress.
Now, she invites the Harrolds reader inside her multifaceted wardrobe and work-world to see life in ultraviolet for a haute minute.
When did you become so enamoured with fashion and style?
Honestly, since I was a child I was besotted with the idea that a person can be perceived with how they carry themselves, dress and treat others. I would carry around my pocket Encyclopedia of Etiquette, put so much thought into my outfits (particular attention being paid to bags and hats) and wouldn’t leave the house without my lip gloss. I was home-schooled and came from quite a creative and alternative family so individuality was celebrated. This attitude carried with me through teenage years and I began to become more ‘obsessed’ with fashion and style in my University years at law school, where I was surrounded more with peers who had their finger on the pulse with brands and social media became prominent. My taste has continued to mature naturally as I now work in fashion and am exposed more and more to the industry.
Walk us through a conventional (if there is such thing) Monday-Friday in your life.
To be frank, there is no such thing as Monday to Friday in my world! Especially because I have taken on the task of completing a PhD in intellectual property law which means fitting in researching and writing around my fashion work. However, generally I try to keep some structure by waking up with the sunrise, traipsing down to the beach (luckily I live in Bondi) with a coffee to enjoy some moments of peace before heading back to my apartment to get stuck into emails. From there, each day is different. I might be running around Sydney picking up pieces for shoots, attending press showings, in meetings for future projects, attending launch events etc. The list does go on! I try to finish up work before dinner, however if I have a social media job booked in, I will be doing that in the evenings. Or, I’ll be on a teleconference with my professor discussing PhD research.
Fear of God x Ermenegildo Zegna – Oversized Stretch Logo T-Shirt
Fear of God x Ermenegildo Zegna – Oversized Stretch Logo T-Shirt
Where did you grow up and who did you look up to? How do you think this shaped your affinities and interests today?
I grew up on the Gold Coast in a high-rise by the beach! As mentioned earlier, I had an alternative upbringing and I wouldn’t change it for the world – it has shaped me into the person I am today. I look up to my parents. Mum educated me for all my school years and taught me independence and freethinking. Dad is an ideas-man and super creative. He also always has very positive and practical advice. He helps me to find the best version of myself. There are a number of fashion and law individuals I admire, however my parents taught me to be my own person and that is ultimately what shaped me and the path that I want to pursue.
Talk us through your career trajectory. How did you get here? And where to next?
It has been an unexpected journey! I was a creative but very pragmatic child so at 12 years of age I decided law school was the best option for me – despite being in love with photography, fashion and anything creative I could sink my teeth into. At 21 I graduated law school and went straight into working at a litigation law firm on the Gold Coast – I pursued creativity on the weekends, shooting outfits and some odd-modelling jobs here and there. Then 3.5 years later, the opportunity to pursue a PhD in intellectual property law and fashion came up, at the same time that more brands were approaching me to style and shoot content for them, and I decided that at 24 years of age I could afford to take the leap and see where it would go. I left working at the firm and put a ferocious amount of energy into building my network and building my fashion business – in 2019 I moved to Sydney to be closer to the ‘hub’ of fashion in Australia and it has continued on and on from there. At this stage, given Covid’s hold on the world, I do not know where the next steps are. I want to continue working on my craft and see what opportunities come to fruition – it is exciting!
Pinpoint your own personal style for us. What do you feel most ‘you’ wearing?
I feel most you when I am in something unexpected. I enjoy boy-dressing and feeling powerful with oversized blazers. One of my favourite looks would be some bell-flare pants with a t-shirt, blazer and sneakers. But also, what I love about clothing is the ability to dress with your mood. One day I might feel boyish, the next day I might feel particularly feminine. And I can show that in how I dress.
If you could go for a morning beach swim and coffee date with any Harrolds-stocked designer (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Tom Ford. Every. Day. Of. The. Week.
I just think he is the chicest person. Period. His ability to make incredibly beautiful, sexy garments whilst also being insanely talented with film and photography is just the epitome of cool. I just love him.
Most-treasured designer piece?
I cannot choose 1 – that would be like choosing a favourite child. However my top two most worn designer pieces would be the Balenciaga top-handle logo bag (mine is black) and my ACNE white velcro sneakers.
It’s a balmy Friday night and you’re heading out for aperitivo hour. What’s the dress code? How do you strategise your ensemble?
Strappy and sexy. Instantly Christopher Esber and Bottega Veneta come to mind – their pieces are so simple and beautiful and scream of an Italian holiday.
Go-to playlist for aforementioned aperitivo hour prep?
Anything with Rhye. I’m obsessed with ‘3 Days’ by Rhye so I would definitely put the radio playlist on for that.
If you could change one thing in the Australian fashion industry right now, what would it be and why?
More. Support. For. Smaller. Independent. Designers. Australian fashion is so contemporary and unique – and we should guard and protect that. One of the reasons I have chosen to research and write about intellectual property law surrounding fashion (I have been doing this since 2014) is because we need more support for Aussie designers. In France, for example, the disposition towards fashion and design is more positive and encouraging towards it being a real creative industry. Governmental support and nurturing of our up-and-comers could help our industry.
Something that feeds your mind in the throes of a creative slump?
MUSIC. Honestly listening to all kinds of music gives me so much inspiration. One of my favourite things to do is to sit on the clifftop at South Bondi with my headphones blasting classical music and staring at the waves. It helps me a lot to imagine new concepts.
Favourite recent work project? Why?
I don’t have favourites because they’re all different, however I recently shot with Bottega Veneta and adored the simplicity of the shoot. Daniel Lee’s pieces are ethereal and oscillate between looking like art in the way that they have been woven and sculpted and then also quite strong and structured. I shot them on the raw, windy coastline down at Clovelly beach.