Meet our Friday Muse Camilla Freeman-Topper, creative director of CAMILLA AND MARC

12 October 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

FQ sits down with the creative director behind CAMILLA AND MARC to find out exactly what it takes to build one of Australia’s most sought-after fashion brands.

Marc Freeman and Camilla Freeman-Topper.

Building one of Australia’s largest and most successful fashion brands is no small feat, but Camilla Freeman-Topper makes it look effortless. Since founding her iconic Australian label CAMILLA AND MARC in 2003, the creative director has transformed it into a globally-recognised brand with the help of her brother and co-director, Marc Freeman. Renowned for their structural tailoring and elevated everyday staples, the duo have stockists spanning around the globe and a roster of high-profile clientele regularly donning their creations. You’ve likely even seen their pieces gracing the pages of Fashion Quarterly. For Freeman-Topper, it’s hard to put this journey into words. “It’s been a whirlwind. Lots of learnings, laughter, tears and everything in between,” she says.

Tracing back to the brand’s origins, Freeman-Topper knew early on that she would wind up following a creative path. “I’ve always loved fashion and had a strong eye for detail from a young age,” she explains. “My grandmother Joy played a part in enabling that – she was a very chic and stylish woman, always impeccably dressed, everything in her wardrobe was made to measure. She taught me the importance of creating timeless keepsakes and the power of well-made clothing.” 

Freeman-Topper pursued her interests seriously from the get-go, first studying fashion design at Whitehouse Institute of Design, then later being granted a scholarship to hone her talents further offshore. It was while she was completing her Masters of Fashion Design at Accademia Arte Moda in Florence, Italy that she was given her first proper foot in the door to the local fashion industry. “I was offered my first opportunity to show a collection at Australian Fashion Week, to which I partnered up with my brother Marc who was studying engineering at the time,” says the creative director. “So very organically, the CAMILLA AND MARC brand was born.” 

While it’s common for many brands to have multiple aesthetic overhauls over the years for the sake of longevity, Freeman-Topper credits CAMILLA AND MARC’s enduring success to having a steadfast and unwavering brand identity. “We knew we had to work hard in this industry to stand out. Fashion is a competitive and rather crowded industry, so without an authentic and unique brand identity, you don’t have much,” she says. This commitment to creative direction and authenticity was established early on in their business journey and remains the brand’s guiding light to this day. And as anyone who has visited one of their boutiques or website will know, CAMILLA AND MARC isn’t just about making clothes – it’s about providing an experience. “Every element is meticulously thought out,” she adds. “Our boutiques are consciously crafted and designed to elevate the traditional shopping experience.” 

Between manning the helm of her growing brand, managing three children at home – and, as of the time this article was published, launching a new jewellery capsule with London jeweller Otiumberg – Freeman-Topper’s days are a constant juggling act. “This week I’ve been in Paris during fashion week with the team for international sales and a VIP event,” she says. “I’m off to Florence for our Resort campaign shoot, and then Lisbon in Portugal for an inspiration trip.”  While such a hectic schedule might seem overwhelming to some, for Freeman-Topper, it’s all about bringing it back to the ‘why’. “My brother Marc and I have been in business together for almost 20 years now, which has come and gone so quickly, because we genuinely love what we get to do every day. Our purpose has always been to create timeless and simple wardrobing pieces for women to look and feel good in.”

Quick-Fire Questions:

My go-to recipe for spring/summer… Anything with anchovies.

An album/artist/playlist I return to time and time again… Fred Again. 

The three beauty products I can’t live without… LED light mask, Luca’s PawPaw ointment, and Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Crème. 

Best current season fashion purchase… Port Tanger sunglasses.

The next destination on my travel list… Lisbon, Portugal – I’m headed there this week.  

My most cherished item in my home is… A vintage bar cart that belonged to my grandparents.

My current quote or mantra to live by… I create my own journey and enjoy it every step of the way.

If I could work in any other career or have another skill, I would be… A ballerina. I used to do ballet as a young girl and I loved it, but more simply because dancing makes me happy.

Shop CAMILLA AND MARC’s new limited-edition collaboration capsule with Otiumberg online now.


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