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Michelle Philips, Artist, Designer.

Michelle Philip

My up cycled and bespoke items came from a desire to preserve the nostalgia I have for my wardrobe and my footprint of this earth. I inherited fabric from the matriarchs of my family and I started a business to use fabric and clothing I already had and could work from home with 3 children under 10.


I was already wearing my designs and modifications, this attracted attention and a desire to be different from others, so I started making and mending for them.


This became Geckos New Tail. A circular clothing for a better future for our planet.

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My Story

My life has always revolved around being creative from making my dolls clothes with a hand powered sewing machine at age 6, to making my first purchase with my own money from my first job at a bakery in Alstonville where I grew up; a singer sewing sewing machine from Eastmons in Lismore. I then made all of own clothes.


I took textiles and design, visual arts and history as my HSC focus subjects and excelled in Art Express for 1988 graduates, the top 10% of students presented and travelled NSW from centre-ointment tower Sydney to regional NSW. My pieces travelled too.


I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) at QUT in Brisbane and majored in textile design. I became a textile designer whilst working in Sydney, designing printed and woven textiles as a freelance designer. I travelled to North America and Europe on working holiday visas and met my fiancé, got married and moved back to Australia to settle in Woombah where our home has grown having 3 children.

My business came about from a desire to fulfil my creative needs and to work from home with 3 children now at school. I was able to apply for the NEIS scheme as a microbuisiness certificate 3 and get my business profitable in 12 months. During this time I met Annie Roberts and Kerrie Spears and we then formed a group of 8 to start the Iluka Emporium, opening on November 17th 2014. 

We are coming up to our 10 year anniversary and the Iluka Emporium has grown from strength to strength and given my business more credibility not just bricks and mortar (or should I say weatherboard, glass and corrugated iron).

Some of my work

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