With over twenty years experience in the Australian fashion industry, ex-designer, stylist, sustainability advocate and digital entrepreneur Sheree Commerford has made Captain and The Gypsy Kid a go-to online destination for fashion, travel and family-related content. Her personal style? As effortless as the lifestyle she currently enjoys with her husband Sam and two children on Sydney’s picturesque Northern Beaches. If you’ve ever aspired to run your own empire with the freedom to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, Sheree’s Instagram account should be top of your follow list.
Describe your title and role.
Creator/jack of all trades for the family style site Captain and The Gypsy Kid.
What was your formal background or education?
Fashion Design at East Sydney Technical College, which is now the National Arts School. I had to do the course part-time at night while working during the day doing visual merchandising for retailers. I dropped out after the first year and started assistant styling.
What inspired you to pursue your career in fashion?
There wasn’t a particular moment or crazy catalyst. I just knew from a very young age that was what I was meant to do. I lived in the country so I didn’t have any exposure to the world of fashion, magazines etc. I believe it’s from my parents. They were known for their style at the local dances and my mum was a dressmaker. She made all our clothes.
What has been the most memorable or rewarding moment in your career thus far?
Attending a Chanel show during Paris fashion week rates pretty high, as does working with Stella McCartney, but it’s really the people I meet. The editorials we curate of families around the globe has given me friendships and experiences that have allowed our family to grow and learn.
Would you say you have a mentor, someone who has influenced you?
My friends. They are all so crazy-talented within their own industries and are great parents. They inspire me every day regarding my business and parenting. To have courage, to not follow the rules, to be true to myself. Also my family. My brother and sister are my balance. They are my advice, which I need often as I’m always brimming with the possibility of it all.
Describe a ‘day in the life’ of Captain and the Gypsy Kid?
Wake up to one or two small humans wrapped around or across me. It’s the best part of the whole day, might I add. That is the single most joyous moment right there. Some days it’s a 5.30am wake and head out for an exercise class if I’m in the groove. Back by 7.00am to do the kid thing with Sam. Have breakfast, make lunch, get dressed, brush teeth, check homework and out the door. 8am if we have an activity before school then it’s drop off and back into my office by 9.45am. That is, if I’m not in the city having meetings or on location working. Every afternoon is different depending on the kids’ activities and Sam and my work schedules, but usually it’s a balance of both from 3.30pm to 5pm. We are lucky we are both around and able to manage that together with the help of some wonderful friends. After that it’s the night routine of homework, dinner, bath and some hang time. At least once a week we have dinner with friends but it’s pretty much the same most week days. Summer is when life gets epic. Breakfast and dinner on the beach before and after school. Occasionally we get the kids up super early and hike up to the light house before school. Friday is a non-work day and I spend it with Captain.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classically undone. Boy meets girl. Preloved and designer.
As an advocate for sustainable fashion, how do you think the fashion industry could be more ec0-minded?
I don’t have the answer as I am on my own journey to figure it all out and improve my own practices. I have a long way to go and it would be hypocritical of me to say that my wardrobe is entirely sustainable. Sustainable fashion as a reality can be difficult to implement for small businesses and it can have its limitations from a resource perspective, but the more we ask the questions as designers and manufactures about fair trade, and educate ourselves about the working conditions and practices of our suppliers, then these changes will become standard practice. This is why vintage is so awesome. It’s a great way to recycle and still find a way to tell your true style story.
What excites you creativity?
Travelling is number one. Exposure to different cultures and people and experiences the planet has to offer, it’s an infinite resource. Also limitations can really make you creative. It forces you to step up, be original and innovate. Really exciting discoveries can come from restrictions and limitations in your life.
What challenges have you experienced?
Kids, love, life, death, work, friends, health, family, finances……. There are always challenges but they lead you to the good stuff, right?
What words do you live by?
To be kind to myself, to others and all living things including this planet. It’s not easy but it’s something I’m committed to working on.
What did you love from your shoot with Parlour X?
The Loewe coat, the Celine blazer, pretending I actually owned the clothes I was wearing. All jokes aside, it was being able to add my own story to those incredible designers. It’s an interesting process to break something down and reformat it so it feels right. Also Sugar wasn’t feeling well so she skipped school and came along. I love having her around.
And your style picks for the season?
The Loewe coat is a coat for life. That piece of heaven can be worn red carpet or school pickup. A completely worthy investment. The new take on a classic black blazer is always a win which Céline nailed SO SHARP. Also the smaller the evening bag the better. No phone room needed. It’s all about the phone out of the bag. The Rockstud Camera Bag from Valentino is my new obsession.
Whoa, slow down. What about right now? Right now I’m enjoying working with you guys.
You can find Sheree on Instagram at @captainandthegypsykid