Women who inspire: Meet Kelly Atkinson, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Showroom-X

There are few women as committed to championing Australian fashion, design and art as Kelly Atkinson, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Showroom-X. When we first met Kelly, with her husband and business partner Richard, we were blown away by her warmth, creative vision and effortless style.

Kelly and Richard launched Showroom-X, a multi-brand ecommerce platform for elevated Australian fashion, with the fundamental belief that less is more, a philosophy centred on slow fashion.

With the upcoming launch of her once-loved wardrobe on The Harmonic, we sat down with Kelly to talk circular fashion, standout Australian designers and personal style.

What inspired you and Richard to create Showroom-X?

Rich and I are dedicated to our industry. We have the same motivation today as we did 2 years ago when we launched and that is to champion the best of Australian Design on a global stage.

Our designers have such a unique and effortless approach that yields a beautiful, wearable aesthetic.

You’re passionate about art, design and fashion; does any particular one inspire the other?

For me they are intertwined. Fashion is always inspired by culture and pop culture helps define the way we live our everyday lives. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship.

Kelly Atkinson Founder of Showroom-X

What does circular fashion mean to you?

To me circular fashion is making an informed choice at your point of purchase.

We realise that the fashion industry isn’t going to change overnight (even though we wish it would!) and that circularity is part of the long game. 

We try to educate our customers on the importance of building out your wardrobe with investment pieces that will stand the test of time and to opt for designers that are sustainably minded and ethically aware. 

We are so excited that the re-sell market is gaining so much momentum as it further extends the life of these treasured pieces.

Who do you think is leading the way in sustainable fashion in Australia?

Charlotte from ESSE Studios is trail blazer in this arena. Studio Amelia also have such a strong determination to manufacture within Australia and I really admire that.

Have you ever sold your own clothing or bought pre-loved?

Absolutely. For Christmas last year I got myself a vintage Céline dress I had been coveting for years.

I am time poor but also love fashion (that’s why I do what I do..) so I like to shop with businesses like the Harmonic that have done the hard work for me by curating amazing shoppable collections. 

Is there a particular item in your wardrobe that you could never part with? Why

My mum’s white knitted David Jones jumper x It’s a part of our story xx Fashion is so much deeper than just the fabric – it’s our lives we live in these pieces x

What should every woman have in their wardrobe?

Amazing tailored black trousers and a plain white tee. They are the essential bones of any good outfit & wardrobe.

Are there any particular new Australian designers we should be keeping an eye out for?

I really love Ilio Nema. They are a small brand with heart producing some beautiful artisan pieces.

Ileo Nema

Who was your favourite designer at AAFW ?

ESSE is always one of my favourite brands – Charlotte has such a beautiful aesthetic and marries the line between effortless wearable style and fashion pieces so well.

The difference with ESSE is the quality is always so amazing. Her show was by far my favourite as you could literally see the quality in each and every garment as it walked past.


Where would you like to see the fashion industry in 10 years?

Transformed. The relentless sales cycles and insatiable appetite for fast fashion must stop. This is where we think re-sell can really make a huge impact as it offers a more palatable price point and gives people choice.

What advice would you give young females who have watched your career trajectory and would love to follow in your footsteps?

Trust your gut, always hear people out as they may have good advice or a new perspective and never give up.

Can you tell us about any exciting upcoming projects for you and Showroom-X

Our beautiful collaboration with RUHA. 

Keep an eye out on the Harmonic for some amazing styles, coveted pieces and all going to a wonderful cause helping women affected by domestic violence.