We were sorry to hear that Anna Thomas, an award-winning and internationally renowned fashion designer, passed away on 29 May after a three-year illness.
Anna commenced her journey into a career in fashion as a Humanities student at Curtin in 1988, followed by fashion training at Bentley TAFE. Her interdisciplinary design foundation studies at Curtin and TAFE provided an experience that culminated in her winning the Australian Wool Corporation Young Designer of the Year in 1991.
After travelling the world working for designers in Paris, London and Italy, Anna returned to Australia in 2002 and achieved her great ambition of opening her own label. Drawing on her foundation studies in design and international industry experience, Anna soon established a reputation for quality and built a business with stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
Anna’s designs express an aesthetic sensibility reflective of her foundation studies in design, enhanced by the experience of working with iconic Italian fashion label Max Mara. She was a designer known for beautifully tailored garments, reflecting sophisticated integration of colour and sometimes quirky prints. Her collections were admired and sought after by women from all walks of life.
The fashion industry has lost the leadership of an iconic designer recognised for her integrity and clear vision. Anna was ahead of her time working outside trend cycles and instead producing quality timeless garments that imbue the wearer with confidence. The astute application of design thinking resulted in the establishment of a business and fashion brand that will continue to be guided by the legacy of her values and direction.
Anna and her designs hold a special place in our hearts here at Curtin, and Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry AO would like to give her personal condolences to anyone who knew and cared for Anna.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of Anna’s passing,” said Professor Terry. “She was an extraordinary Australian designer and I like many others, love wearing her beautiful, timeless designs that have brought colour and vibrancy to boardrooms and beyond. She was an inspiring leader in her field who achieved enormous success and respect and we are very proud that her stellar creative career began at Curtin.”
Anna is survived by her husband, David Barrington and their three children, Lilla, Angus and Oscar.