Paris Culbertson, the founder and designer of Melbourne-based bespoke fashion brand Pazadz admits to having a passion for pink, Paris Hilton and everything shiny. Pazadz was launched in 2020, but fashion has been a part of Paris’ life since she was a little girl, thanks to her mother.
“I have worked in fashion for a long time. My mum is a pattern maker and Tafe lecturer, so I started learning pretty young and I haven’t really stopped since then. I worked as a designer professionally for a long time for other brands, but I’ve always done my own thing on the side – and now I work for myself full-time,” explains Paris.
“When I was 17, I started my first fashion business – I made tulle skirts and pink velvet tracksuits – big 2009 vibes – and I sold them in a couple of stores in Adelaide. I also made a lot of custom pieces – mainly school formal dresses at that time.
“I called my business Paris Adelaide … it was meant to be a sort of tale of two queens, one of them being me. Over time – in a classic Australian way, I nicknamed my business ‘Paz – Adz’ when speaking to friends & family about it. I became so comfortable saying PazAdz that I eventually made it official. I love that it sounds similar to Pizzazz!”
Fabulous shiny things
“I love to wear fabulous shiny things and I think that is kind of magnetic to Pazadz girlies! I have had many late night conversations with like-minded strangers on a night out who appreciate the glamour (or frivolity) of my outfits,” says Paris.
“So I realised that there are actually a lot of people out there who like the things that I like, and so I thought why not? There is something special about wearing something fabulous and fun – it makes other people smile, and oftentimes it encourages conversation between strangers.
“It struck me that these fleeting smiles, and wide eyes are just small moments in time; but sometimes when you look back the small things were the big things, and if I could free people from concern in any way, for any length of time, that would be a worthy endeavour. I decided to create the sparkle I want to see in the world!”
While the idea of creating the sparkle came easily to Paris, launching a fashion brand is never easy.
“I don’t want to gloss over everything too much, I have had heaps of issues – fashion is hard! I am super lucky to have an amazing, supportive group of friends and family, but it still can be a hard industry to work in and there are so many things that can go wrong,” explains Paris.
“I have worked in fashion for so long that now I am pretty good at rolling with the punches and just accepting the non-linear nature of the work.”
The magic art of razzle dazzle
Although Paris admits to being a lifelong fan of Paris Hilton, these days she is just as inspired by her clients: “I am inspired by all of the people who wear my clothes and all of the occasions they wear them to.”
Paris says that she is “always thinking about how the wearer is going to feel – always chasing that wide-eyed, breathless swoon – and the confidence that is felt. I love the suspended-from-reality magic that a special moment can hold.”
That “suspended-from-reality magic” is one of the main concepts behind the brand. “Pazadz helps ambitious, independent women shine a little brighter by custom-making special, keep-forever pieces,” she says.
“Pazadz has cultivated the magic art of razzle dazzle. Our girl is over-the-top and unafraid – she likes to put on a show and the world is her stage. Big hair, long nails – crystal champagne glass in hand – she’s glamorous and fabulous with a twinkle in her eye.”
Made in Melbourne
With issues of sustainable production and ethical consumerism now a central theme for the fashion industry, Pazadz fits into the Slow Fashion movement with all the garments made in Melbourne and made by hand.
“[Pazadz is] female-owned and operated,” Paris says. “Garment manufacturing is generally a low-paid, female-dominated trade, despite the incredible skill and craftsmanship behind a piece of clothing, I firmly believe in supporting Australian designers and makers – cancel fast fashion!”
Moving forward Paris aims to continue her focus on beautifully handmade garments, but on a grander scale.
“My long term goal is to have a big, beautiful Pazadz couture house, and to build more than a business … [I want] a haven for lovers of beautiful things and a place where we celebrate the craftsmanship behind our work,” says Paris. “[I want] a place where my team can become friends, bonding over our love of making things slowly and meticulously – spending hours and hours on tiny details, and forever chatting and finding inspiration in each other.
“I want to pass on all of my knowledge and learn from others; growing the local industry and cultivating a love for the remarkable and historic slow art of dressmaking. More is always more!”
For more information about Pazadz, go to pazadz.com. If you are interested in having a custom bespoke garment from Pazdaz, go to pazadz.com/custom. You can also follow the brand on Instagram at @pazadz.