Scroll through your Instagram feed and the boring sameness hits you repeatedly.
There’s the “inspirational” quote, sweetly designed, long on promise, devoid of any depth and substance, but pandering to the easy and quick Insta double tap.
The soft hue of baby pink favoured by women aged 20-35, and so cliche in fact, that marketers have dubbed the colour “millennial pink” for its visual dominance in female Gen X and Gen Y-targeted advertising.
Not to mention the snorefest that is a model/blogger/influencer/social media darling spruiking a fabricated lifestyle with products to boot, fanning the flames of envy, escapism, dissatisfaction, and the sinful wealth-without-work.
It’s easy to become cynical amidst the egocentricity of social media and a community star-struck by fame-seeking Pied Pipers. Step away from the manufactured internet spotlight though, and you inevitably find a treasure trove of real people, equipped with genuine stories and bringing creativity, decency and humanity to the forefront.
Cool people have no need for social followers, fans or likes. They’re above internet cool.
They’re simply cool.
Name: Bronwyn Thurling
From: Tablelands, North Queensland
Spotted: Paddington, Brisbane
I spotted Bronwyn when she arrived about five minutes late to the organic perfumery class held by One Seed Perfumery at the Organic Index store in Paddington. She caught my attention with her red-black-white eclectic ensemble and her Amelie bobbed hairstyle that defies current fashion trends in favour of bold uniqueness. She plonked herself in the empty seat beside me and when the two and a half hour class finished, I zeroed in on this impeccably-dressed woman with the avant-garde style.
I compliment her on her unique sense of style. She seems shy at first, but I can tell the kind comment disarms her. Bronwyn explains that her outfit was “quickly chucked together.” Chatting away, I learn she’s a maximalist whose style has evolved from high school “gothic” through to wearing the pinup style of the1950s. Bronwyn says she’s been recently seduced by the 1920s and “normally wears 1920s flapper vintage”.
An ex-vintage store owner, Bronwyn tells me that she still has heaps of vintage clothes left from those days in business, and plans to sell them on Etsy. A vintage fashion aficionado myself, I press her for Etsy store details. She hasn’t created it yet. But she “will soon, hopefully”.
Do you always gravitate to historical and nostalgic fashion? I ask.
“Yes, I really love it. The more I read up on it, the more interested I got in it. The old decades are just cooler than the newest ones.”
I press Bronwyn for more information. Is it because it has a creative soul or something?
“There’s just a lot more style. The people who did design back then, they just seem to give things a lot more thought, whereas today [fashion brands] have the attitude of “just get it out there and chuck it on the shelves” whereas back then it was more artisan, more thoughtful.”
Bronwyn tells me that her style icons are Louise Brooks and Clara Bow. My brain cells won’t cooperate when trying to place these names. They sound like names in a song. Bronwyn tells me that they’re 1920s flapper girls. Aha, I say. Makes sense. For a modern day style icon, Bronwyn’s impressed with Dita Von Teese. That too makes sense, I tell her.
With a penchant for vintage fashion, Bronwyn does most of her shopping online. What online shops do you recommend?
“I buy vintage from random shops on Etsy. And eBay, but not so much as it’s not that good as it used to be. I love Etsy because you can still find genuine one-of-a-kind, real, unique vintage.”
I grab Bronwyn’s Instagram details so I can tag her in on the post once published. Her bio reads: “Collector of faded elegance”.
Bronwyn Thurling. Collector of Faded Elegance. Quirky As Hell.
You can find Bronwyn on Instagram here (though she’s so above internet cool, she’s on private).
Photography: Jennifer Nini
Location: Flowers of the World
Skirt: Kmart, $8
Shirt: Dotti (“from like a hundred years ago…”)
Jacket: Portmans (“it’s pretty old, maybe 3,4, 5 years old?”)
Bag: Vintage, embroidered
Rings: Vintage, 1930s art deco
Sunglasses: Vintage, cats eye