Spotlight | Lorraine White, Whitelane Textiles
Did you know we have a professional corsetière in toowoomba?
Lorraine White’s skillset is a little unique…
Starting off studying textile art, she fell in love with corset making by delving into the history of the Industrial Revolution. Her specialty in historical costume collided with the Burlesque scene, and now here she is, designing accurate pin-up costumes and stunning lingerie for her clients.
We spoke to Lorraine about the local Burlesque scene, how she got got into corsetry, and her ultimate weekend.
Name: lorraine white
Occupation: defence tailor at whitelane textiles
Known For: a distinct style and a very unique skill set!
Local since: 1996
First things first: why Toowoomba?
I have familial ties with the community for a few generations. I spent most of my childhood moving between remote country towns, but moved to Toowoomba for high school and university. After a short unsuccessful teaching posting in Mt Morgan, I moved back to Toowoomba for good and have been involved in the arts and fashion community ever since. I picked up weaving, dyeing and printmaking skills and was introduced to the world of corsetry through studying at USQ.
what is whitelane textiles?
Well, I have a fairly unique skill set! Initially training in textiles, particularly weaving, I moved into corsetry through an interest in the Industrial Revolution (directly informed by my weaving practice). Corsetry quickly became an all encompassing passion as it fed my need for precision, the most glorious fabrics and the simple fact of preserving a tradition skill.
I moved into burlesque corsetry to push my creative boundaries and to be a little rebellious (having a costume closet has its perks too – impromptu dress ups!). I offer a comprehensive range of services to my fabulous clients including bespoke corsetry, headpieces, embellishment and surface decoration, pattern drafting and alterations.
What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba?
My market doesn’t exactly line up with Toowoomba. There is a growing burlesque community, but to supplement my business I have moved into formal/bridal alterations, pattern drafting services and men’s tailoring as well. I also have plans to release a lingerie line shortly.
OK, we can’t just leave that hanging: there’s a burlesque community in Toowoomba?!
Yes, but it’s fledgling and, in my experience, is tied to the Brisbane community. There is a small Facebook group that organises local events, and I’m entertaining the idea contacting the Bombshells Academy to organise a burlesque workshop in Toowoomba if interest is strong enough (let Lorraine know if you’re keen!).
The Australian Burlesque Festival will be hosting several acts at the Empire Theatre in October, and the lineup includes the recently crowned Miss Burlesque Queensland, Lucy Luxe.
What does an average day look like for you?
Spending as much time as possible with my beloved sewing machines, whipping up prototypes or working on a production run. Otherwise you’ll find me working out my next pattern.
What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?
The weekend all to myself, drafting a pattern for my vintage wardrobe, accompanied by a soulful playlist.
Only a Toowoomba local would know…
That there is a lot of hidden talent in our community!
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
PERK UP: an awesome playlist and a hula hoop session in the park!
RELAX: at home, snuggled up in one of my hand knit rugs.
EAT: The Parkhouse Cafe
INDULGE: The Baker’s Duck
SHOP: Wittner or Review
CATCH UP: Picnic and coffee at Laurel Bank Park
BE INSPIRED: Lincraft and Spotlight are my haunts when I need inspiration. I’m happiest when rifling through pattern drawers and playing with fabric combinations.
Find out more about Lorraine’s work here.