Fashion designer Stacey Hendrickson with models Sharnee Gates and Paige Rivas wearing her designs at Australian Fashion Week 2015.

Fashion designer Stacey Hendrickson with models Sharnee Gates and Paige Rivas wearing her designs at Australian Fashion Week 2015.

A LEADING Adelaide fashion identity claims she was bullied and sexually harassed by a ­former business partner — and is bravely speaking publicly about her experience as a warning for others.

Stacey Hendrickson, 25, told The Advertiser how she has had to step away from the internationally successful fashion label casper+pearl, which she founded as a teenager in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

In an exclusive interview, she shares her distress and frustration.

Ms Hendrickson said she had been given the “confidence” to go public by the women in Hollywood who had spoken out about their experiences of sexual harassment.

Thousands take part in Hollywood #MeToo march

“If they are making a difference in my life, then maybe I can make a difference in someone else’s life,” she said.

“I wish I could name and shame so it would save people from working with him, but I can’t do that (for legal reasons) … I can only warn them to not put up with those behaviours from anyone.”

Ms Hendrickson said she suffered verbal abuse, sexual harassment and threatening behaviour, which included being slapped on the bottom, comments about her weight and an incident in which she felt unsafe and humiliated when the man shouted at her and kicked a wall in his office.

Ms Hendrickson ended the business partnership late last year. A legal document prevents her from discussing financial aspects of their dealings.

Casper+pearl, which she founded as an 18-year-old in 2011 in Gawler, grew into a leading brand with stockists in Australia, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic, United States, Canada and Macau. Her designs were also showcased at Sydney’s Fashion Week Australia and the Adelaide Fashion Festival.

Stacey Hendrickson with Azalea models Madeline and Grace. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
Stacey Hendrickson says she was given the confidence to go public by the #metoo campaign outing sexual predators and harassers in Hollywood. Picture: Roy VanDerVegt

Ms Hendrickson — who also co-owns Adelaide’s Azalea Models with her mother Anne Sherwood, but which was not included in the fashion partnership with the businessman — said she was introduced to him by an unnamed Adelaide retailer.

In late 2015 she agreed to his offer to fund casper+pearl as a silent partner. In return she would receive a sales cut.

Taking a break from designing, Ms Hendrickson — who last month launched fashion website— urged young women and men working in similar fields to retain their independence.

“I’m sure there are a lot of creatives out there who want to take a step up and join forces with a larger company, or they think they need help from an investor or a man, but you should trust your instincts and intuition,” she said.

“Believe in yourself and you will get there in the end. Don’t try and take a shortcut.”


Post Navigation