Keri Craig-Lee OAM
Keri Craig is a woman of substance, a well-known fashion designer and retailer, recognized Australia wide for her contribution to the fashion industry.
Keri Craig-Lee OAM, completed her education in 1975 at St Margaret’s. In 1976 Keri was a Rotary Exchange Student in Wisconsin, USA and graduated from Kettle Moraine High School. She then completed a diploma in fashion designing and marketing, also in 1976, at Waukesha Technical College. Keri’s vision on her return to Australia was to design and market her own brand, ‘Keri Craig’. The Keri Craig Label was one of the first high profile Queensland fashion brands to break into the Interstate market and paved the way for Queensland fashion designers to be recognised nationally. Keri provided motivation for ‘up and coming’ students and counterparts to emulate her achievements.
One of the highlights of Keri’s career was designing and coordinating Sir Elton John’s wedding in Sydney on Valentine’s Day 1984 for which she received major worldwide publicity. Apart from having her own exclusive boutiques, The Keri Craig Label was retailed in boutiques Australia wide and in major department stores. The label was also exported to New Zealand, The South Pacific, Noumea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii and the USA. Keri Craig was showcased at Expo 85’ in Tsukuba, Japan promoting the pending Brisbane Expo 88’.
Keri Craig continually graced the pages of every national newspaper, and, Australian Business and Industry Magazines. Publicity was also garnered on the covers and pages of every glossy magazine including Vogue, Vogue Living, Mode, Mode for Brides, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, New Idea, Cleo, Sheila, Cosmopolitan, Bride to Be, Queensland Brides and Australian Bride.
Keri’s fashion design and over 40-year retail career successes are evident in the number of trophies awarded. Keri was the inaugural winner of the Retailers Association of Queensland (R.A.Q) ‘Supreme Award’ in 1981. This was followed up by winning the ‘Supreme Award’ in 1982 and again in 1986. Keri Craig was the Inaugural Inductee into the Hall of Fame in 1987, at only 28 years of age, the only female to this day to be inducted. Keri was the first Queensland designer to be nominated for an ‘FIA’ Australian Fashion Award. Keri also won the ‘Concours d'Elegance’. In 2000 she was awarded the Inaugural Retailers Association of Queensland (R.A.Q) Certificate of Excellence, the only designer to receive the accolade. Keri received over 50 fashion awards during her career.
Keri was featured in countless media advertising campaigns, she was Invited by the Premiers Department to help promote and market Queensland as the “5 Star Investment State”, the other Four Star Entrepreneurs invited were Alan Bond, Christopher Skase, Peter Lawrence and Greg Chappell. The promotion was broadcast nationally, Keri being the only female.
She compared fashion parades and fashion awards, constantly fundraising for many charities. In addition to the fashion industry awards, Keri has also received many other accolades including the Zonta Woman of the Year, Honorary Ambassador for Brisbane, Tourism Ambassador for Brisbane, Honorary Expo 88’ Ambassador and Honorary Ambassador for the Mater Hospitals Trust. Keri sat on the F.I.A (Fashion Industry Australia) Council and the Immigration Board and in the 80’s wrote her own fashion column for the Daily Sun Newspaper. Over the years, Keri hosted many young work experience students and gave them motivation and encouragement to follow their ambitions and succeed. In 1985 Keri was awarded the Department of Education Certificate in recognition of her support to work experience students.
More recently, Keri was awarded the Inaugural Distinguished Past Student Award from St Margaret’s, her Primary and Secondary School. She was invited to sit on the Premier of Queensland’s Business Advisory Board. Keri received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for service to the clothing manufacturing sector, to business and to the community. Keri has self-published a 600 page Fashion Retrospective coffee tables book titled – Keri Craig – The Label The Lady The Lifestyle.
The Keri Craig Emporium continues to be a landmark destination in the famous Brisbane Arcade. Keri and her husband Trevor Lee are also the owners of Australian Country Choice (ACC). ‘ACC’ is recognised nationally as the leading example, worldwide, of a fully vertically integrated beef supply chain. Australian Country Choice is acknowledged as one of the largest privately owned companies in Queensland, employing over 1,500 staff and achieving many accolades along the way.
Keri and Trevor became grandparents when Trevor’s eldest son Anthony and second son Michael married and started their families. Son Harrisson graduated from Bond University with a dual degree in Business and Commerce and has formed his own company ‘Hemp Farms Australia’. Daughter Cartier after completing her schooling at St Margaret’s (Chaucer House Captain) has now also graduated from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts with honours and a ‘Dean’s List Recipient’.