Creativity has always burst at the seams of couple Joel and Rachel Cooper. Within their designs, music, travels and family, Joel and Rachel have developed a lifestyle shaped around happiness, wild adventures and creating pieces with soul.
Based along the Surf Coast of Victoria, the Coopers raise their three Children in their seaside abode set behind Bells Beach, and run their thriving Fashion Label ‘Frank & Dolly’s’ from the log cabin studio, deep within the valley on the property, 100 meters from their home.
Joel has come from a performing Arts and Design background, having studied Contemporary Dance and Performance in Melbourne fulltime. Where as Rachel spent her youth sitting by the side of her mother (Jane), and her Nana (Dolly), learning everything about pattern making, designing and sewing garments from scratch. It was a generational exchange of dress making and fabric design, handcrafting pieces that told stories, that were one of a kind and that communicated the universal language of handmade.
When Joel and Rachel joined forces for Frank & Dollys, it was eclectic mix of design, colour and flare, with Rachel as the Garment Designer and Joel as the Creative Director.
Joel & Rachel birthed the first Frank & Dolly’s Retail design store in 2010. This space embodied everything their creations held true and quickly became a creative hub for those seeking hand crafted beauty, community, treasures and a breath of fresh air in the retail experience. People became interested in Joel and Rachel’s story and products, their travels around far away cities, their treasure hunting for rare fabrics and creative souls, and their approach to having a young family and a blossoming business.
With the success of the Label & Store, Frank & Dolly’s grew to a new space in 2013, located on the leafy Garden Street in East Geelong and a thriving online store. This saw a further development in the brand, turning from Vintage and Found fabrics, to the development of creating their own unique fabrics and garment lines.
Priding on the fact that every piece has a story and every garment is ethically made, this store became a draw card for the region, with light flooding through the windows on to the racks of garments, foreign music filling the air, hand-painted and embroidered dresses adorning the walls, and plants hang from every place possible… there was no surprise why people from all over the country flocked to this stunning warmly curated space.
In 2018, following the triumph of their iconic Birds Of Passage Collection, Joel and Rachel decided to make the bold call, and close their flagship store, pack up their home and lives into 5 suitcases, and travel the world… designing, parenting and schooling on the road, whilst running their business from a laptop.
It’s about living beautifully and filling these precious days with design, truth, family, travel, art, music, inspiration and justice.
And finally, the name… Frank & Dolly’s is named after Rachel’s Nanna and Popa. Dolly was a seamstress and fell in love after meeting Frank when making shirts in the war. Dolly taught Jane, who then taught Rachel, everything about sewing, creating, being resourceful, all whilst running a family and having a cheeky sense of humour.
Joel and Rachel dedicate their business to Rachels sister Sarah, who co-founded it with them in 2005. Frank, Dolly and Sarah never got to see Frank & Dolly’s in the bricks and mortar form, but we know they have been a part of every step, big and small.