Passion for Retro in Australia

It’s not something you would expect from a stuffy bank manager, but then Belinda Ford is all about blurring the boundaries.

Belinda and her husband Michael Andrews, who works for Beach Beat and Hayden making surfboards, launched their own on-line clothing company, Retro Au Go Go, in October, 2007, after becoming frustrated at not being able to find the labels that they liked on the Coast.

By clicking on the website, you are transported back in time to the 1950s and ’60s when burlesque pin-up girls with pouting lips, curvy hips and a defiant gleam in their eyes were transforming they way we viewed women.

Belinda points to style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Betty Paige as inspiration and describes the range, which includes brands such as Poster Pop, Lucky 13 and Kustom Kulture, as all about having a bit of fun.

The best part of retro is that it brings back memories of times when things weren’t so complicated,” she said.

The idea for the business had been brewing for a while, but it wasn’t until early 2007 that the couple decided to take six months off work to focus on getting the business functional.

“We were constantly wanting clothes and all you get up here is Billabong and Quiksilver, which isn’t a criticism … we’re just not those sort of people,” Belinda said.

“So we thought, why can’t we start our own on-line store? Our friends were always encouraging us.

“We thought it would be something fun we could do when we’re retired.”

Some of the range, such as Popster Pop and Lucky 13, Belinda and Michael order from the US, but they also have been steadily collecting old art that has passed its copyright date and then purchase the licensing rights to get them printed on to T-shirts. Their spare time is spent searching through old antique bookstores to find the images, which they can then custom-design.

Aside from the saucy pin-up girls, the range also includes men’s Ts, which reflect Belinda and Michael’s secret fixations.

They share a passion for old cars – Belinda is the proud owner of a ’59 black Chev, and Michael a white ’64 Cadillac – as well as the Wild West, and much of the merchandise available on the site is suggestive of this.

“We’re just idiots! We love all those Wild West images,” Belinda chortled.

“I’d describe it (the range) as hot rod burlesque … I know we should take ourselves seriously, but that’s no fun.”

The name for the business came about after an annual holiday to Stradbroke Island and is a throwback to the old Kings Cross hotspot, Whiskey Au Go Go.

While Belinda and Michael are now back at work, the business continues to evolve, with orders posted on the net being sent out the next day on Belinda’s way to work. It is this customer service that Belinda feels is important for an on-line business.

“People are already nervous because they’re ordering things on-line, so your customer service has to be even more at the forefront,” she said.

The couple recently branched into retro-style housewares as an aside to the fashion, with cowboy shower curtains and band aids and wiggling Hula Girl dashboard figures just part of the collection.

One of the most rewarding aspects for Belinda is to see someone’s reaction to their Ts: “The big kick you get out of it is that nine times out of 10, someone will smile.”

Check out the collection at T-shirts range in price from $25 to $50.

(Article Originated from:

Here are a few t-shirt designs they have available on

And there is so much more available on their site.


This just goes to show you that Retro has never really left. It just is coming back full swing. I think that the retro lifestyle and fashion is coming back because it was and is stylishly simple. I spoke to a good buddy of mine the other day and I had no idea that he was into 1950’s retro. I told him about Vividly Vintage, and he mentioned that he is into the 50’s era. I also have come into contact with so many individuals near my age group that appreciate the vintage and retro era’s and styles. Since I was little, I can remember dressing up for multiple Halloween’s back to back as a “greaser”. I always wore my grandfathers “Topper’s – Alameda” jacket. I tried to dress in my own style and I tried multiple things and ideas. Once I started dressing in a retro style, Levi blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, PF Flyers, hair slicked back, and either a plaid button up shirt or a t-shirt of some kind, I have never felt more comfortable with my “style”. I always like to ask this question “if you could live during any one of the following eras what would it be? Choose yours on the poll below:

Thanks for reading,


Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM  Leave a Comment  
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