Brian Rochford
Australia Crest

Stocky, grey streaked bearded, 63 year old designer of everything from hats to stretch denim jeans and cycling gear, but noted mostly for his ladies swimwear.

Ladies swimwear designer extraordinaire and the King of Swim. The man who put Aussie into Cossie.

Brian designed the pink bodysuit and taffeta skirt worn by Jerry Hall (aka Mrs. Jagger) when she launched the Australian Fashion Week some three years ago.

Rochford claims to have given Elle Macpherson her first job.

His designs and use of lycra won him more fashion awards than anyone in the history of the industry in Australia and won him his place in the Hall of Fame.

He began designing hats in a small millinery run by his mother Eugenia in Surry Hills and after moving to swimwear design built up a business with a turnover of around $15 million per annum and a factory at Chippendale turning out stock for the 29 Brian Rochford shops around the Australian coastline, including the mega tourist destinations of Cairns and Surfers Paradise.

Unfortunately, Brian's business went under just three days before Christmas, 1998 leaving 150 people jobless and him in mega financial trouble. Let's hope he will arise from the depths, like the phoenix from the Ashes, and go on to even greater things. A merry Christmas to the accountants and banks.

Just two weeks beforehand a crowd at the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, including Maggie T, Ken Done and Trent Nathan had wildly applauded his 1999 collection as the best ever.

Maggie Tabberer remarked that his troubles were "just one of many challenges he has faced and overcome in the past, not the least of which was making a swimsuit that would fit me".

Brian insisted in being patriotic and manufacturing at home whilst the competition moved production to low-wage countries like China. Is this the price to pay for doing the right thing, the Australian way?

Good news! a former director of the company, Rob Hartman, has bought the Brian Rochford business and kept Brian on as designer. Hartman's company, Genuine Article Group, is the Australian licensee of Osh Kosh B'Gosh children's wear.

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