From the beginning of The Great State journey, Alterior Motif always held a place on our list of dream retail partners. The mix of effortless cool and luxury basics make it a coastal fashion mecca. Sitting alongside some of the top labels in the biz, you'll find some pretty cute blue tins... We are beyond thrilled to partner with Alterior Motif. Allow us to introduce the incredible businesswoman and Captain of the good ship AM, Penny Lane. 

When did you establish Alterior Motif and what motivated you to take the step to launch a fashion boutique?

I bought the fledgling business in 2004, and to be honest my husband was my biggest motivator. He was trying to get me out of Sydney and back home, but I loved my job down there. I didn’t think I could do what I loved back home, there was no “fashion” it was all surf stores, so when this opportunity came up, he pitched it to me, gave me the confidence that I could do it and we made the move.

Do you feel like each of your stores has a different personality? How do they differ from each other?

Oh thats such a great question because they definitely have different personalities! Having been open for nearly 14 years, our Cotton Tree store has a very “local” vibe, we know 80% of our customers by name. It is such a cool, eclectic seaside town that locals love to frequent to shop and eat. I grew up playing in the river and at the beach that Cotton Tree sits on, so it feels like home and I think that reflects in the personality of the store.

Noosa is our flagship store... Its a bit fancy and so are the clientele. It has a dynamic but welcoming energy and we are one of the only stand alone boutiques on the street. Noosa is such a vibrant, bustling location that attracts interesting people from all over the globe. Most of our clientele are southerners escaping to the protected warmth of Noosa Heads. It really is paradise and there has been a huge resurgence of visitors enjoying Noosa and all it has to offer in the past few years.

Who is the “Alterior Motif” woman?

AM girls are casual and cool with a slight edge, but she also knows how to have fun. Coastal luxe is the vibe to which she subscribes - she loves the coastal life but also feels drawn to the finer things life has to offer. Style is important and so is the environment, so ethically made clothes are a consideration when purchasing garments.

What criteria do you use to select brands to partner with?

There are so many factors involved in brand selection for AM. We are lucky enough to be approached by incredible brands every day so we get to really sift through and team up with the ones we love. A lot of our brands have been with us for over 10 years and we have all grown and evolved together but when we are sourcing new talent we always look at the quality of not just the garments, but the back end of the business. Are they ethical in their production? Have they got a wow factor that stands out from the others? Do they have a strong presence on social media (not essential, but definitely a consideration in this day and age) and most importantly are their designs relevant to our personality and vision for Alterior Motif?

How would you describe life on the Sunshine Coast?

MAGIC! Its the perfect balance of work and lifestyle for me. I have watched it grow over the last 35 years into a strong and beautiful town where people and businesses are flourishing. There are so many options for food, nightlife and culture so we have a great mix of dynamics here to keep everyone happy!

What are 10 items that encapsulate the essentials for your life?

Swimwear, lip balm, denim shorts, water, sunglasses, surfboard, iPhone, sunscreen, a bottle of red and a woven basket to put it all in.

Do you have a go-to outfit for those days when you need something simple to put together?

Denim shorts and a crispy white button up shirt. Pretty much my uniform!

What are some of the ways you elevate ordinary moments to create everyday luxury?

I guess by being grateful. You can turn the most simple of every day things in to a luxury by simply seeing them as a luxury. We are so fortunate to be here in this part of the world, my brother in law from San Diego said we actually live in Disneyland here, and I feel like that is a totally relevant analogy. Waking up in the morning with a roof over your head, plenty of food and access to first world privileges is beyond a luxury. Everything else like nice clothes, money etc is a total bonus. 

Told you she was awesome! ;)

You can visit Alterior Motif in Cotton Tree or Noosa or via their online boutique

Cover image credit: Amy Higg for The Urban List