A candid chat with a young designer whose #wewearaustralian messaging is making a much-needed impact.
How would you describe your brand’s aesthetics?
Our aesthetic is very much much about gender-neutral, thoughtful layering with a modern twist on eastern style cutting using asymmetric shapes and angled design lines to enhance the human form. Our pieces don’t follow trends and tell their own story, which I feel also makes them timeless. We are also very much about using luxurious natural fibres in nature inspired colours.
What is your first fashion memory?
Definitely seeing my Mum dressed in her impeccable wardrobe every day when I was young! I would also sometimes follow her to the tailor where she got her matching pantsuits made and watched how she matched everything flawlessly with her accessories, shoes, and bags. It was certainly 90’s power dressing at its best!
How did your study in Fine Arts impact your clothing and brand?
Studying fine arts and majoring in painting has become a huge influence in my work and continued until today. I think of each piece as a composition, almost like art-making in a more 3D form, where the same rules for proportion, line, shape, texture and colour still apply. I feel that seeing fashion from a fine art point of view has given my work a different dimension.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you fix within your business?
Ooh, hard question! I think my business grew very organically and I have made lots of mistakes and experienced a lot of trial and error. However, I don’t think I would change any of these experiences, as they have all helped me to grow and mature as a designer and person. I don’t really see things as needing to be fixed, but more like I am just continuing to grow and evolve. Also for me, I think respecting the process as much as the final result has been an important lesson.
Are there programs you use for designing, or do you use a traditional illustration method?
I had studied the various CAD programs while studying fashion which has definitely been useful. However, when I started my label, I have just become extremely lo-fi in the way I approach designing. I find a sketchbook, pencil and fine line pen are the main tools I really need! I love this more tactile way of designing and I feel I can be a lot more flexible too.
What other designers do you admire or seek inspiration from?
I have always found Vivienne Westwood inspiring, as she has also approached her fashion work from a non-fashion background. I think this really makes her stand out in the way she cuts and drapes her clothes and I love that her clothing makes a social and political statement and really is a voice for the times. I also admire how she is using her fashion label to essentially try to save the planet and to deliver important messages about climate change to the world.
What advice would you give someone considering the launch of a career in fashion?
I would always say to find your own voice with your work and not get caught up in imitating passing trends. I think it is also important to think how your work will affect the environment and people and how it can create positive change. Also if you have a strong vision, it is important to be tenacious and go with your gut as you encounter obstacles along the way.
What aspects of the fashion industry would you like to change?
This one is easy! Definitely the amount of waste that the commercial fashion industry creates and the impacts it has on people and the planet. Through what I do with my label, I hope to show people that there is a sustainable way to enjoy fashion by buying less, choosing well and creating your own timeless style instead of following seasonal trends. I am always looking at ways to streamline my business to make it more sustainable and ethical. By making our clothes in small runs with Melbourne based makers as well as in house, favouring the use of natural fibres, using deadstock fabrics in our ranges, creating a zero-waste policy where we upcycle our remnant fabrics from production and by creating small collections which all tie back into the previous one, we have created a slow fashion business in our own small way.
What goals do you have for 2022?
Coming out of 2 challenging years for my business and managing to survive the pandemic has certainly been scary at times, but has also taught me a lot of new skills and made me excited about the future of my label. I plan to focus more on growing my online presence, finding new and exciting ways to activate my store with meaningful events, finally attend all the design markets which got cancelled this year, work on getting my collections stocked in more stores and strive to create happiness in everything I do!
Do you have any other passion projects or interests aside from the label?
Yes! During lockdown I have been working on a range of home art which includes home decor, paintings and wall hangings. I loved working on these pieces while at home as it was a marriage of my love of painting with my love of fashion and textiles. This mini collection will be out at the end of October and it will just keep evolving and growing as the season rolls along.