Fashion Folklore is a series of interviews where real people unpack how Fashion impacts their life. This is Julie's story.

Have you ever been told you’re too young to feel a certain way?

At age 20, Julie knew she needed a fresh start. How do you explain to your parents, your friends, anybody really, that there’s nothing wrong per se; it’s just not what you want.

Australian field girl walking

Growing up in a small town in Western Australia, Julie struggled to put a finger on what exactly it was she was looking for, but there were two things she knew for sure;

1. She would know what it was when she found it

2. She would not find it staying put

Julie tells me all this over coffee and cake and goes on to say how she moved to the city and this is what I imagined;

She has on Cat Eye ‘sunnies’ and a red scarf as the wind is playfully wafting through her hair and she rides into town in her vintage convertible… turns out she came in on a bus.

Australian field

Visually, maybe not as impressive, but the vibe was there. She was ready for her fresh start.

Her relationship with clothing was, as usual, symbolic of her overall issues; she wore clothes, of course, she wasn’t a maniac or anything, but she didn’t exactly go gaga when it came to garment shopping.

For example, 10-year-old Julie would frequently go shopping with her grandma in thrift stores… stores that were filled with abandoned clothing nobody found interesting, so why would she? - she thought.

Her early relationship with Fashion was tattered. For a long time, if asked about what she thought about Fashion, she would tell you she didn’t think about Fashion; she wore clothes for practical reasons.

She wore clothes to fit in, and her style reflected that - monochrome outfits with the express mission of blending in with the crowd.

I’m going to share something with you now (with Julie’s permission of course) that has obviously impacted our protagonist’s perception throughout her life; Julie was diagnosed with autism at a young age. A very common symptom of autism is a lack of expression, especially without the proper motivation to express.

She made this big move in search of, well, herself, and after getting there and looking, and I mean really looking, she found nothing. Nothing that constituted an answer, at least. She found a bunch more thrift stores, but we’ve already covered how she felt about those.

The light at the end of the tunnel started sounding like lore.

After going through a grey, bland hell and putting all her hopes on the most logical solution, Julie was getting desperate. This wasn’t a matter of “I don’t like this job” or “I don’t like this city”; it was quickly becoming a matter of “I don’t like this life."

Julie sought help. A series of positive interactions with “Doctors covered in Stickers” throughout her childhood taught her that hospitals are filled with people who care.

Putting on a brave face for a long time can lead to forgetting what you look like, and it’s not an easy process remembering. Nobody tells you how painful finding yourself is; no wonder people fake it.

With the help of healthcare professionals, Julie was reborn. It was then and there that she decided to study psychology and build a career helping people going through similarly unexplored terrain.

With a new lease on life, Julie was feeling good. Sadly, it was around this time in her life that her grandmother passed away. To celebrate her life, Julie decided to visit a thrift store, for old times’ sake.

She walked through the doors of a thrift store and, expecting a familiar mish-mash of uninteresting garments to peruse while thinking of her grandma, she was instead surprised to find things, well, interesting.

Australian field

"A zimmermann floral dress, which is my very favourite find, and which I only occasionally wear, because I don't want to wear it out and a little stone on a chain, because it's just so sweet." - Julie on her favorite thrifts.

It wasn’t clothing nobody wanted anymore; it was the past, future and present all muddled up as it trickled down into this color-coded archive for like, anybody to just pick and choose from.

For the first time in a thrift store, Julie really saw the clothing.

Instead of using garments practically to blend herself into the crowd, she started expressing herself through clothing.


"A high quality homemade Tudor-era Cardinal costume. May be one of my favourite finds ever. I've never even worn it, as it's for a large man. But I just love it and think it's beautiful." - Julie on her favorite thrifts.

Remember how she felt about thrift stores when she was younger? In her own words, she now calls it “Treasure Hunting”. Grandma would be proud.

In my hubris, I asked her “Do you think people see you differently now that you have found yourself?”

Her response tied it all together perfectly;

“I have no idea. My condition doesn’t allow me to read people’s faces, all I know is that I love this. It’s what allows me to explore every bit of me. That’s all that matters.”