International clothing website boohoo.com recently launched in Australia and asked me to be a part of their unique style campaign #WeAreUs. The campaign is about celebrating our unique personalities through fashion, embracing the differences in everyone's individual style, and encouraging us to be our stylists. For the Australian side of this campaign, they wanted to showcase the different style in different states. I was asked to contribute to the Victorian state style snapshot with what Ballarat style is for me. So what is Ballarat style to me?
Like any city, Ballarat has a really diverse style spectrum. Instead of trying to capture a bunch of those styles that others are more experienced at representing, I decided to get into the individuality that the campaign celebrates. What does Ballarat style mean to me specifically? As I've lived most of my life in Ballarat, this is something that deserves a little back story.
I've been to four schools in Ballarat. Two had very casual uniforms and the other two had classic preppy uniforms with knit jumpers, tartan skirts, blazers and neck ties. This preppy style is still something I adore today, even though I was the least happy at these schools.
If there was a Triwizard Tournament equivalent held in Ballarat, it would be the Head of the Lake rowing regatta. A bunch of the schools compete; more schools participate now that when I was at school. Each of these schools also has a beautiful campus, and distinctive uniforms.
If I were to allocate the schools to Hogwarts Houses or magical schools it would be: Loretto College at Beauxbatons (all ladies, all in blue), St Patrick's college as Durmstrang (all gents), Clarendon College as Ravenclaw, Grammar as Hufflepuff (their uniform is actually brown and yellow), maybe Mount Clear as Gryffindor and Ballarat High as Slytherin (they've got the most green). If you're reading this and loudly disagreeing with me, tell me: what Ballarat school would you allocate to which?
When the Head of the Lake rowing regatta comes around, students in their uniforms get competitive and stand around the shores of the lake cheering on their school teams as they cut through the olympic rowing course. It usually involves friendly rivalry between schools before the event. There are always stories of incidents like: the Ballarat High boys firsts crew breaking into St Pats and painting their mascot white cockatoo green; St Pats writing their names in the Ballarat High oval grass in high potency fertiliser that killed off the grass, revealing their cunning weeks later.
The schools have the biggest boat-sheds around the lake, and each has their own war cry that is passed on to future generations of students. I remember one year our whole school got behind our freakishly talented boys firsts crew. All the crews hung banners from the tallest building on campus in the lead up to the event to boost school spirit. The boys first read: first we took the region, then we took the state, then we took the country, you will bow down when we take The Lake. Pride comes before a fall, though. They were thrashed by Ravenclaw, aka Clarendon.
Because I loved the uniform style of this side of Ballarat, I chose three looks from BooHoo: a classy but preppy day style, a casual weekend style and an evening style. All three capture a side of the preppy style that influences my individual fashion voice. I hope you have enjoyed the first in this style series. The others will follow over the next couple of days.
Watch: Daniel Wellington
Photos: Goldfields Girl
Want to add your voice to Ballarat's unique style for BooHoo? Want to include your own city? Share a shot of your style with #WeAreBallarat on Instagram or #WeAre[yourcityhere].