I noticed a profile of well known local fashion designer Aurelio Costarella in this weekend's West Australian. It was designed to complement an upcoming exhibition of his work called Aurelio Costarella: A 30 Year Retrospective.

I usually ignore this type of article, but I read this one right through. See, I actually went to Mt Lawley High School with Aurelio  -- or Ray as we called him at the time. I didn't know him well. But he was in a few of my classes.

It doesn't surprise me that he's been so successful. He was clearly sensitive and artistic even then. Of course that made him stand out a bit, and I do remember him being teased occasionally.

The profile was quite interesting. Having the shared experience of high school made it relevant to my own life journey.

A couple of things stood out for me. Firstly, there was the influence of his father Pasquale. In the article (which can't be found online, unfortunately) Ray describes him as a traditional Italian with a strong work ethic who was proud of what he'd achieved in his new home. He wasn't too happy with his son's career choice, but came to accept it over time.

Intriguingly, Pasquale had a strong sense of sartorial style. Sadly, he passed away recently at the age if 85.

Aurelio clearly feels a strong sense of gratitude to his father for the many sacrifices he made for his family. Like him, he works hard, and has clearly inherited his father's aesthetic flare -- taking it to another level entirely.

I can certainly relate to such a story. My own father died a few years ago at exactly the same age. While he never disapproved of my choices -- on the contrary, he was always extremely supportive -- I can now see what a strong influence he was on me.

Dad was a talented writer who never fully pursued his passion for various reasons that I won't go into here. But I have certainly inherited his love of words and the performing arts. So, for the last 20 odd years I've indulged my arty side in such fields as acting, standup and character comedy, freelance writing and now blogging. I've never reached the same level of prominence that Costarella has in his field. But I've had some successes here and there.

It's fascinating how sons and daughters so often emulate their fathers and mothers, even when they're trying their hardest not to! Obviously this has a lot to do with psychological conditioning but the genetic component is clearly powerful too.

The other aspect of the article that I found notable was Costarella's ambivalence about Perth. Over the last 30 years he has felt a strong need to move to the eastern states where the Aussie fashion scene is centred. But he's opted to remain in his hometown instead. This choice has clearly made his achievement of becoming internationally lauded even more remarkable.

Comedy is not unlike fashion design in that you have a much greater chance if success if you go east. That's what I did back in 1990. After spending 8 years in Melbourne pursuing my passion -- doing heaps of work on the live circuit and a few gigs on television shows -- I came back in 1998. (I've gone east again and returned a couple if times since then, too!)

The reality is that Perth is such a great place it's very difficult to stay away from it. There's a good chance you'll come back to live here eventually, even if your career prospects are limited if you do.

That said, this city's geographical isolation is not nearly the impediment it was in decades past. Not only does today's brilliant technology make such vast distances irrelevant in many ways but the city itself is so big and bustling now that there's often no need to go east to "make it". If you can find rewarding, well-paying work in your chosen field -- and make a mark on the world stage, to boot -- in the place you grew up, why leave? Costarella himself is proof that this can be done.