Jacki-Lee Munckton and Jesse Phillips.

When it comes to beginner's luck, it's safe to say budding *Subiaco * designer *Jacki-Lee Munckton *has hit the jackpot.

Since launching her fledgling menswear line, Jack Lee Australia, in October last year, the busy mother-of-one is now gearing up to rub shoulders with some of the world's fashion elite at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York this month.

"I'm really excited about it," Munckton told _AAA. _"I thought it would be a great time to go over there for some inspiration and get some new ideas so I can further develop my own label. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to watch and learn as much as I can from some of the leading fashion icons in the world."

"I've already been accepted to a *Lacoste * show and *Rebecca Minkoff *. I'm waiting to hear back from *Calvin Klein *and *Yohji Yamamoto *, so there's quite a few shows that I'm hoping to go to.

"It will be really exciting."

While fashion has been at the heart of Munckton's interests for a long time, it wasn't until two years ago while on her honeymoon in New York that her dream to launch her own label was realised.

"I've always wanted to have my own business," she said. "I've always enjoyed fashion and the creativity of it so it's been a work in progress for quite a few years and, because I was working full time, I didn't really have the capacity to do it."

Munckton then decided to throw in her demanding career as an internal communications manager to pursue her love of fashion, which she now juggles with being a mum to one-year-old daughter *Mia *.

"If you're doing something you really enjoy, you just kind of get on with it and put your head down and focus when you can really," Munckton said of the juggling act. "I absolutely respect full-time mummies, if that's their choice and that's what they want to do, but I wanted to have a bit of a balance between motherhood and working and having a career.

"But I also wanted some flexibility, which I didn't think I could do in a corporate job.

"So it's worked out really well. I've got Mia in day care one day a week and we've got a good support network around us and it seems to go very well."

But a question Munckton has been asked many times since launching Jack Lee Australia was why she decided to do menswear.

"I thought there was some capacity to assist the guys in what they wear," she said.

"There's been a shift from men wearing their normal business attire to business casual, particularly in engineering. You'll see a lot of guys that don't wear their suits anymore and I think on, say, casual Fridays, there can be a little bit of confusion of what's appropriate to wear."

And who better to front her flourishing collection than *Perth *-raised Olympic kayaker *Jesse Phillips *.

"He is a really great model and he's a Perth guy so he thought there'd be some great synergies with him being from Perth and that we're a Perth label, so he got on board which is great."

While Jack Lee Australia is currently sold online, Munckton hopes to drum up some interest from local retailers on her return from New York.

"I'm hoping to have my next production run arrive in March so it'll be just a case of approaching the retailers," she said.

"I'm just finalising my website, jackleeaustralia.com. It's been really successful with the (sales) we've had so I basically sold out of most items."


'It would be a great opportunity to watch and learn as much as I can from some of the leading fashion icons in the world.'

The West Australian

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