I absolutely love this lady. I came across Dana when she purchased a dress off me for her upcoming maternity shoot and her energy and kindness has been so refreshing ever since. I try to keep Co & Ry size friendly, but being a small business it isn't always easy. Dana took the time to chat, help and inspire me to create a piece that will make all body shapes feel amazing. Dana is an inspiring women who makes you realise you can wear anything you want, dress for you and do it all with kindness. What a beautiful person Dana is and how lucky her new little lady is to have such a role model in her mumma.
I absolutely loved Dana helping me to create our Della in a curvy size for ladies 18-24. Her help in making this a comfortable fit was so appreciated. Check it out below.
Read our interview with Dana from @permanent_weekend below on her goals, career, becoming a new mum and how she feels about the way we dress.
Tell us a bit about you? Where are you from? Who’s in your family?
My name is Dana, I am a creative living and loving life in Adelaide, I am a wife, new mother, photographer, business owner, content creator, a lover of people, fashion and dogs! I grew up in the country and didn't think I'd ever live near the city - but our work has brought us here! My family is made up of my gorgeous husband Doug, our pet dog Olive and my new very long awaited and loved daughter - Eleanor, who has been such a beautiful addition to our family, Olive is still adjusting to our new family unit though as she doesn't have the same amount of attention that she's used to haha.
Tell us about your journey, how did you get into photography and digital creation?
Growing up I always loved looking at our family photo albums, my mum was very good at capturing all the big things and always got the camera out for any kind of outings, holidays and birthdays at home, my older sister is much the same, so it felt very natural to me to be obsessed with taking photos once I got old enough. I didn't do much with it other than on the iphone until I got married and my husband became a photographer, I would tag along to his shoots to assist him! He was the one that saw how much I loved photographing the moments people had and felt I was passionate enough about it to pursue it as a career. He really pushed me and believed in me to pursue it (which makes me so sentimental about it!) even when I was such a terrible photographer, he's always been very encouraging and supportive. I eventually got a lot better at it, but I put it down mainly to my love of people and being able to easily interact with people and make them comfortable in front of the camera.
After doing a lot of food, fashion, family, and wedding photography I decided to get in front of the camera, mixed with my love of fashion, and that's how 'Permanent Weekend' came about, the name alludes to not working to just enjoy the weekend, but enjoying your work so much that every day is like the weekend. I will only work with brands that I really align with now, so I do turn down opportunities quite frequently now if I feel it's not a good fit. I didn't ever want to be just churning out content for the sake of it, I want to really believe in the product and the content I'm sharing. I have met some incredible people doing this work and that has been my favourite thing so far. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this now, I feel it'll shift with the arrival of Eleanor but I'm excited to see where that takes me.
Dana is wearing our Posy dress.
Where do you seek inspiration?
Everywhere really. I feel like I am always looking deeper into everyday things, sometimes noticing how the light changes the colours around me making them so interesting. With photography, moving around and changing your perspective can always give you a more interesting photo. I do love to look through Pinterest and Instagram, I'm constantly saving things that stand out to me into different categories to look back on, especially if I am seeking inspiration for something specific. What I save is normally very different to what you would commonly see and that's why I end up saving it. Music and films have also given me inspiration over the years as well as holidays I have been on, I find they can spark my creativity so often just being out of your usual comfort of home.
What’s the greatest lesson you have learnt to date?
I think the greatest lesson I've learned is how to use time wisely, for the bigger picture. I spent a lot of my early years 'wasting time' thinking I didn't have enough time to do the things I wanted to do in life, and also wishing time away. I've learned not to do that now, I feel like I'm still definitely working on not wasting time, as I can still fall into the mindset of not having enough time to do certain things and so I just don't even start as such - and I want to not do that anymore. But the overall main thing of this lesson was that I don't want to spend my time doing things that don't bring me joy. I don't want to be working for someone else when I can work for myself and that allows me so much more freedom with spending time with those I love and serving others as I so want to do in life as it gives me such a purpose.
What advice would you give women who are having a hard time accepting their body?
Start small, each day. Just taking it one day at a time. Look in the mirror and find things about your body that you love and focus on that. For me I started with my eyes and hair as they were the easiest parts of me to love, I used to get complimented on them so frequently (now it's more how I look overall or my outfit, which is a big shift!) I think it's important to thank your body for what it does for you too, I don't mean in the way of saying out loud 'thank you', I just mean being so grateful for it. For example, I'm still learning to love my arms but I am so thankful that they carry my daughter, and I am so thankful that they hold the weight of my camera for working, without my arms, I couldn't do those things and they're so important to me to be able to do.
I think you'll find as you start to really look for the positives and then also being thankful for what your body does for you, you learn to love your body and accept it as it is and there is just one a huge shift in mindset from hating yourself or being down on yourself, to actually appreciating and loving your body and it will filter into every other aspect of your life - it's actually life changing!
Do you think the clothing industry is changing for the better and representing more body types? Have you personally felt a shift?
There has definitely been a shift! It's such a good thing, there are so many more inclusive brands now and so much choice, I've worked with some really beautiful brands that have been inclusive with diversity and size. It can just be really hard to find the stores, often people don't know if a store stocks plus sizes and I don't think they have very good visibility most of the time as a lot are online, which is partly why I love sharing different brands so that they get visibility (though my audience is not huge!) it is hard that there isn't something to showcase these labels more - because they would be missing out on sales - small business in Australia have it hard enough already, and making a plus size brand - online - I think honestly a bit risky in a sense. There are all these different sized bodies for the same 'sizes' and not everything fits every size the same, so there can be a large amount of returns or even hesitancy for someone to buy, so I get why some brands don't do it and I am so proud of the ones that are doing it! I have overcome this hurdle myself and figured it out so that I can buy and enjoy things online nine times out of ten that I would order online. Listing measurements is super important for plus size to be able to figure out how and if something will fit - Co & Ry actually does a remarkable job of this, listing each individual measurement per item. It helps to prevent returns. I think what I would like to see more of now is some of the mainstream labels featuring more women of diversity (in all senses of the word) and providing more inclusive sizing (up to size 30) when the average size in Aus has been a size 16 for quite some time now, sizes should not be stopping at a 16, but rather be mostly 16+ as that's the society we live in now. Honestly it should not be hard in 2023 to find your size in a commercial store, but unfortunately it is still the case and it means that plus sizes are not as accessible to a large audience of people that need to go to a physical store to shop.
"I am a big believer in wearing what you feel good in, and not caring what other people think. If it makes you feel good, then that's actually really great."
Have you ever been met with backlash about your body and outfits that make you feel good?
Absolutely, lots of times, from all sorts of people - especially growing up as I worked out what looked good on me (something I don't believe you have to follow) and what I was interested in wearing. How you present yourself says a lot about you, it's a great way of expressing yourself and I think we're obsessed with this as a society and it's why we see different trends.
I am a big believer in wearing what you feel good in, and not caring what other people think. If it makes you feel good, then that's actually really great. I don't believe we should be dressing for other people, but ourselves. A common narrative I see is people not feeling good in what they wear, or being self conscious about what they're wearing - because a lot of the time they're not dressing for themselves, they're wearing what they think they should wear, what society has said is okay to wear. I have worn SO many outfits for other people in the past, and I won't do it now, it can really make you feel so uncomfortable - and it shows! I think most of the time, if you feel good, you look good!
What are your 3 Tips to help women gain confidence, whether in business, body confidence or something else?
I love this question so much. So many people think that you need talent to be good at something, but it's not true, you just need passion and commitment (among maybe a few other things depending on what you're wanting to achieve) but for business, if you persevere at something you really love for long enough, your people will come and you will make money from it.
So for business my tips are:
Start small, have faith in yourself that you can do it and enjoy the process.
For body confidence I would say:
Be grateful for your body and what it does for you
Focus on the things you love about your body
Wear what feels good for you!
And 3 photography tips:
- Look at the light, change your perspective, choose emotion over technicality.
You have just had a beautiful baby girl, what do you want your daughter to learn about the world?
The world has always been a very interesting (and sometimes scary!) place, but I find the direction we are headed, especially for our young people, could present as more challenging than ever with the rise of social media, artificial intelligence and our ever changing climate - weather wise and politically. I'd love for Eleanor to learn that the greatest impact she can have on the world is kindness. I'm sure there will be a lot more I want her to learn and I am also so sure I'll want to protect her from everything growing up! But I just want her to be the kindest human and really love life.
What is something you weren’t told about being a new mum that you have now learnt?
Just how wonderful it is. I remember actually the closest to being told this was my own mum who didn't want to have children (which is so weird because she is the most maternal person I've ever met in my life) she said once she had her first baby, and she was like 'this is awesome' and wanted to do it again right away. I feel the same now that I've had Eleanor.
I feel like there is so much you get told about being a mum when it's your first time, it can seem really scary. I think it comes down to expectations a lot too, I know I was expecting it to be a lot harder than what I've found it to be so far (I have LOVED the newborn stage) I honestly thought I would lose myself, but I feel stronger in who I am now more than ever. I have been extremely lucky in that she is quite a settled baby (so far, touch wood!) She's not one of those unicorn babes that sleeps through the night, but I get enough sleep to be a kind human and get on with it. Come back to me in 3 months and this could be completely different haha! I know it's not going to be easy and I am expecting things to get a lot harder as time goes on, but I am really looking forward to the 'messiness' of life with kids!
What are four things you can’t live without?
I'm going to make this very superficial haha. So besides my family, friends, dogs and good food in general:
I'm so sad to say that the main thing is my phone! So cliche. Pregnancy taught me that there was a lot I absolutely COULD live without (coffee, energy drinks, sushi)
So my phone, a good wardrobe, pizza and maybe a really comfortable bed.
What’s on your manifest board?
For the shorter term, a holiday in Byron Bay - The last time we went was just before Covid hit, so I've been just dying to get back there! And I'm so excited for Eleanor to experience it too.
I have the standard 'buy a house' - which is so hard to do right now in our economy and with the housing market, but I'm hoping we can achieve that over the next three years.
We've got a few countries on our list to travel to, but I don't think we'll be going overseas in the next five years as we're really wanting to focus on our family and business, so in the shorter term we may get a van or a bus hopefully to do some more local travelling! I do also have a few business ideas on the board, but just waiting to see if any really stick! Longer term I'd love to be able write and publish a book, this is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid!
Thank you so much for sharing your answers Dana, such a hit of inspiration.
Follow Dana on her Instagram @permanent_weekend
Or check out her photography over at @_willandco_