Goth in the Sun: Australian designer Gail Sorronda

In my recent Instagram browsing I have been coming across a lot of interesting fashion brands, some I know of, and others that are new to me. 

One of these is Gail Sorronda, a Brisbane-based designer whose eponymous brand has been worn by a bunch of famous people like Winona Ryder and Lorde. Sorronda was also apparently described by no less than Karl Lagerfeld as “one to watch”. 

All this information was gleaned from various Australian media reports as unfortunately Sorronda was unavailable for an interview, as she is “just really selective with interviews” according to her husband and business partner Atlas Harwood, who is also famous for playing bass for post-punk brood band, Gazar Strips.

Still, despite the lack of access, and the dearth of information on the brand’s website, I’m still excited enough about Sorronda’s work to spend time writing up this article.  

Sorronda launched her label in 2005 at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, with an aesthetic that is “ethereal, dark, romantic” according to the designer in an interview published earlier this year. Her collections are named for her obsessions – Holy Water, Oh My Goth! and Angel at My Table (her graduate collection) – and obviously swing towards the gothic. Which, of course, is why I was so attracted to the brand in the first place. 

After launching in Australia, the designer worked in Paris from 2008, where her work was chosen to be featured by Dolce & Gabbana to feature in its Milan boutique, before returning to Brisbane – the capital of Australia’s sunshine state, Queensland – and establishing an independent boutique and atelier. Sorrondo’s penchant for the theatrical has also seen her work with Queensland Ballet and Expressions Dance Company designing costumes. 

While there isn’t an obvious sustainable or ethical focus in her production, Sorrondo does fit neatly into the Slow Fashion Movement.

“I prefer for pieces to be timeless. That is how I value good design. I think major trends can echo what is happening in society at the time just like music and other modes of the arts can. I just have a problem with fashion’s ceaseless cycle of replacement operating on planned obsolescence, artificially inducing trends, in a unsustainable and economically insatiable way,” Sorronda said in a recent interview.   

The brand’s garments are manufactured in Australia for the most part, from a range of luxury, internationally sourced fabrics. The designer is also in favour of supporting local artisans, as she stated in that same interview that supporting ‘local’ meant “thoughtfully buying locally designed and made products”.

As for the garments themselves, there is a definite hint of Japanese cult Lolita styling in the most recent collection – black and white, bonnets, capes of lace and voluminous sleeves all echo the mid-Victorian era stylings of the genre. 

There is, however, a delicacy to Sorronda’s pieces due to the quality of the construction and lightness of the fabrics, particularly when combined with a sense of transparency that is visible in the garments that bare more skin. 

Yes, this is another brand that would fit quite neatly into the #cottagecore aesthetic, but I prefer to think of it as a softer, more romantic version of Victorian Goth; plus the garments in white and at shorter lengths make it more appropriate for warmer climates.  

You can buy Gail Sarronda online at


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