Owner and designer of Crystal Queen Stagewear Lindsay Rose Wilkins has worked extensively as a freelance stylist, costume designer and art director in fashion, film and theatre. Her work has seen her designing in both Australia and the United Kingdom, with some of her past and present clients including Laud Magazine, The Conservatorium Queensland, Nigel Shaw Costumes, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Limedrop Nails, Pout Lipstick, Black Magazine, Forcast, Kimbra, Pheonix Keating, Girls Own Productions and Thom Kerr Creative.
Lindsay came from humble beginnings and says she has been very blessed to have had a long time creative friendship with fashion photographer Thom Kerr, someone with whom she staged home made fashion shoots with in her early 20s. “We would customise our clothes and build sets and concepts with what little cash we had. Then we started daring ourselves to heighten our ambitions,” she says. One of her very first jobs was assisting Mrs Jones the stylist of The Scissor Sisters in London 13 years ago, a huge rush for Lindsay. Now, Lindsay collaborates with her twin sister and business partner, Emma.
Another highlight of her career has been collaborating on the creation of Laud Magazine and working on the campaign for MTV’s Geordie Shore. In her ‘other life’, the multi-talented creative is burlesque artist Ms Rita Fontaine. Being passionate in burlesque, styling and designing, Lindsay felt pressured to focus on either fashion or performance and drop the other. However, she refused. “Clothing is the best tool to express yourself both on an off stage. To me, garment technology and human expression go hand in hand. So, while experimenting with my own designs on stage, I have accumulated a large clientele of Burlesque artists which has led me to open Crystal Queen Stagewear,” she says.
When asked what inspired her to open Crystal Queen Stagewear, it was all because of her love and need to help her younger sister who has Aspergers Syndrome. Lindsay wanted to create work for people with Aspergers Syndrome. “She (Lindsay’s sister) is highly capable of work but employers just never give her a go,” she says. The work of crystal application, while creative, is also highly repetitive and task orientated, which suits someone with Aspergers. This was a business plan Lindsay devised for three years where she used her savings to import machinery and initial stock. “I set up and created a business in my mother’s garage on a shoestring budget with help from the NEIS scheme,” she says.
Some of the challenges faced were over cash flow as the business has been on a shoestring budget. That means, no fancy investors. Just a whole lot of gumption, determination and street smarts. Lindsay loves creating one off garments for artists, but in order to expand her business, she says she must sell repetition. The talented individual aims to service fashion labels needing short runs of embellished stock and build the retail and information side of her business.
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