Stephanie Cunningham & Bonfire the Label

Saturday, 26/08/2023 Posted by: Emily Heath

They鈥檙e bold and bright and bring joy to a room

Bonfire the Label is an international fashion label and is described as bursting with imagination, ambition and heart … It鈥檚 also an apt depiction for creative owner and 2001 Alumnae, Stephanie Cunningham.

The Mum of four young children and a 鈥渧ery proud Stuartholme girl鈥 credits her time at school for inspiring her hard work ethic and artistic flair.

After living in the United States for a number of years, Stephanie came to Stuartholme in year 10 with what she describes as a 鈥淪outhern drawl鈥 which 鈥渁尘耻蝉别诲鈥 her friends.

Although the two environments couldn鈥檛 be more extreme, Stephanie describes how she felt when she first travelled through the sandstone gates, up the drive and around the corner towards the iconic main entrance …

鈥淚t was special. I felt like the minute that I arrived that I had been there my whole life.聽 I had an instant sense of connection.鈥

Stephanie said that she appreciates Stuartholme鈥檚 motto of 鈥渕aking yourself at Stuartholme鈥, saying that鈥檚 exactly what she experienced – she felt 鈥渁t home鈥.

鈥淚t was a joyful and innocent time. 聽We were there to learn but we also had lots of fun and laughs.聽 It was a genuine sense of sisterhood 鈥 a benefit of the small size of the school.鈥

鈥淭here is a lot of creative energy up there 鈥 and a beautiful spirit.鈥

鈥淎ll of my best friends are Stuartholme girls.聽 We are still each other鈥檚 鈥榥umber ones鈥 and 鈥榞o to鈥.鈥

Stephanie credits Mrs Mulhall as her favourite teacher and someone who was instrumental in building her creative confidence.

鈥淚 always felt in spite of how I performed academically, that it was important to have a strong moral compass and be a warm person, a good friend and a good daughter.聽 I hope that I have achieved that.鈥澛

That social justice is something that Stephanie has applied to Bonfire the Label – aspiring for their unique, limited editions to be considered 鈥榢eepsakes to future-proof our world鈥 and reduce the waste created by mass-produced fashion manufacturers.

Bonfire the Label鈥檚 鈥楽heroes Collection鈥, designed in support of theMater Chicks in Pink鈥 breast cancer support services is a testament to that.聽 Every October the label donates proceeds to invest in potentially life-saving health technology after her mother was diagnosed with the aggressive disease.

The fashion house has also partnered with Ecologi to fund almost 2,000 trees.

Stephanie said that Stuartholme really does live by the virtue of encouraging students 鈥榯o be the best they can be鈥.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 why I鈥檝e enrolled my girls to start up there in a few years because I want them to be the beneficiaries of the same experiences that I had.

鈥淚 take them up there now for swimming lessons.聽 They call it 鈥榯he special castle on the hill鈥.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 the thing about Stuartholme.聽 It鈥檚 like a lighthouse 鈥 no matter where you are, you can see it.聽 It鈥檚 a very special place.鈥