21 Questions with… Ashlea Holdsworth of The Upside

Photo courtesy of The Upside

Photo courtesy of The Upside

Ashlea Holdsworth has come a long way since her interning days for Jodhi Meares at swimwear label Tigerlily. After working her way up to designer and spending a successful five years with the brand, Jodhi contacted Ashlea with her idea to start a new lifestyle brand, The Upside, in 2013.

Ashlea took on the head designer role, throwing the new brand into almost-instant success within the activewear industry. It’s not often a label can make its mark so early in the game, so we sat down with Ashlea to find out more about her career progress, priorities and relationship with Jodhi. 

Get to know Ashlea by seeing how she answered our quick-fire questions below.

  1. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is… Put my glasses on and then off to check my beautiful baby boy.
  2. Fashion design allows me to… Be inspired and express my creativity. 
  3. I stay motivated by… Seeing people on the street wearing my designs, loving The Upside and living healthy lives.
  4. I’m proud to be part of the Australian fashion industry because… We have an innovative culture that is growing along with our own unique style, influenced by our lifestyle and culture.
  5. My advice to interns wanting to land a job would be… Be prepared to start at the bottom, work hard and show interest and initiative.
  6. I get my inspiration from… Anything from travelling to different cultures, film and art, the beach and, in particular, from throwing ideas around with Jodhi.
  7. If I wasn’t a fashion designer I would be… Still a creative. A makeup artist.

    Tahnee Atkinson The Upside

    Photo: Jez Smith/The upside

  8. When Jodhi got back in contact for The Upside, my first reaction was… “Hell yeah.”
  9. Designing activewear is different to swimwear because… Activewear is driven by function first, then a fashion or creative sensibility. Although it’s still stretch, you are working with different fabrics and the print design, selection is different as well. Lots of prints work for swimwear that wouldn’t necessarily work in full-length legwear.
  10. I juggle work and motherhood by… Having a very supportive husband and family, and attempting to be organised. I get what I need to get done when I am at work, and when I am at home it is about family.
  11. I love being part of The Upside because… Of the amazing team I get to work with every day.
  12. Something I miss about working for Tigerlily is… Working with beautiful embroidered, hand-dyed and embellished fabrics.
  13. The term “WAG” is… White And Grey. My two favourite colours (laughs).
  14. The last thing I googled was… A Thermomix. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about!
  15. One person I’d love to see wearing The Upside is… Kate Moss.
  16. The most important thing in life is to… Be happy.
  17. One thing people don’t know about me is… I have won an Australian Surf Life Saving Gold medal.
  18. The biggest career goal I’ve kicked is… Working with and for Jodhi. She’s launched my career.
  19. Something I still don’t understand about the fashion industry is… Why some brands don’t include models of different shapes and sizes.
  20. I’ll never leave home without… My phone.
  21. The best life advice I’ve ever received was… “You are responsible for your own happiness. It doesn’t come from other people.”