Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry, Events

The Innovators MBFWA 2018

May 16

Welcome to Hump Day at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  Traditionally, Wednesday is the day where the emerging talent hits the runway. They usually do it with incredible impact, and trust me when I tell you, this year will be one of their best. The Innovators are a group of young, full-hearted fashion fledglings who know nothing other than the sheer passion which drives their creative process and is the fuel upon which their dreamy aspirations rely. They are the most recent fashion graduates of FDS, the acronym for Fashion Design Studio, Ultimo TAFE. It is the eponymous fashion school of excellence which is quite simply, now, and historically, the birth place of so many of Australia’s incredible designers.  It has been fashion home, until his recent departure to pursue other incredible fashion endeavours, of the infamous Nicholas Huxley, about whom I will report in the coming months and whom I am privileged to know and share fabulous and funny fashion tales. Sophie Drysdale, Alex Zehntner and Laura Washington, and Kam …. quite literally move mountains with their passion, dedication and experience. FDS is, and always has been a whole lotta fabulousness all in one place, and this fabulousness is quite literally transferred to all the students who have the good fortune to walk through their doors.

Whose careers you might ask were birthed at FDS?

Well. Where should I start?

Dion Lee, Karla Spetic, Nicole Banning (Ephemera), Zimmermann, Akira Isogawa, Alex Perry, Ginger and Smart and Romance Was Born, to name but a few. Impressive eh?

But today we are concentrating on the up and comers who appear below, and I have no doubt, that just like their predecessors “up” and “come” they shall, as history has always proved such.

Such raw talent needs to be admired, respected and embraced.

They are the future of our local fashion industry and their creative visions will ripple out locally and globally with our support.

Make the applause loud for these legends.

Very, VERY LOUD XX

Zsófia Mátrai

“MATRAI is an Avant-garde Couture Womenswear label launched by Zsófia Mátrai for her graduate collection in 2017. The brand is known for the expression of combining traditional tailoring with couture craftsmanship, creating innovative ready-to wear womenswear looks.

Her vision is to create the most radical garment construction by utilizing 3D printed techniques. Zsófia not only uses 3D garment construction building but also specialises in textile design, laser cutting and embroidery to express her artistic vision.

 The range combines traditional tailoring and couture techniques with innovative craftsmanship inspired by European architecture particularly through an analysis of  its inner structure.

Zsófia Mátrai

Dana Lock

The Ballina raised designer moved to Sydney in 2015, she proceeded to study at the prestigious Fashion Design Studio in Ultimo (graduating 2017) and interned under respected Australian designer, Akira Isogawa.

Dana Lock is a label that eradicates the constructs of normality with heavy reference to subjects that shock and disturb modern train of thought – eliciting reaction to counteract social standards and taboos. This is an extremist label that investigates the human condition, the interplay between imprisonment and freedom and most importantly the beauty that can be found in the most grotesque of places – physical or imaginary.

 These key conceptual dogmas are brought forth via the introduction of the avant-garde into daily life with sculptural silhouettes, unusual textures and consistent reference to traditional BDSM. Dana Lock is harsh yet empowering, eliciting the rawest form of vulnerability in the wearer via the ability to instigate change.

Dana Lock

Gillian Garde

Gillian Garde is a 2017 Fashion Design Studio graduate and women’s wear designer. Her work fuses the old with the new, creating feminine, modern design while acknowledging the past. History is brought to the forefront through traditional garment detailing and silhouette, but is modernised through quirky colour combinations and graphic prints. All of these elements combine to tell a story, which is the basis of all of the designer’s work. Through storytelling the audience is engaged on a personal level, which makes the wearer feel connected to each piece in the collection.

The story that is told through her graduate collection “Bloodline” is deeply personal and pays homage to her adopted Norwegian roots, while also questioning the importance of genetic heritage in order to belong in a society. Using the enchanting Nordic landscape that grew to define her childhood and the traditional folk costumes of Norway as her inspiration, she shares a part of her own journey of personal identity and belonging in what once was a foreign country to her. The collection bears some melancholic undertones, but ultimately is an ode to a place she now considers one of her two homelands.

Gillian Garde

ODD by Anna Jacobsen

ODD is a brand that is unafraid. Created by fashion design graduate Anna Jacobsen in 2017 as part of her graduate collection, Anna set out to create a brand that was both audaciously bold, inspired confidence in the wearer and empowered women to dare to be different. Traditional tailoring techniques and a diversity of art forms are morphed with clever experimental manipulations and treatments, resulting in unique, quality and enduring garment designs.

ODD is unafraid of expressing individuality and difference, even if they are idiosyncratic, peculiar or unconventional. Some of us like to outwardly show this by the clothing we wear as a way to express and embrace our differences.

Anna wishes to embrace and encourage those that are highly confident in themselves, who seek a brand that makes a statement, defies mainstream trends and enables the wearer to stand out in the crowd.

Her collection aims to provide well made, quality garments that have a quirky, unconventional humour and a classic transcending style. By pushing conventions she achieve designs that are eccentric and humorous and that have an energy and boldness. The range is characterised by its bright colours, interesting and experimental shapes, tailoring elements and superior quality of materials and make.

Gillian Garde

Shroud The Label

 ‘Shroud’ entails the symbolic idea of concealing or blanketing the body in a way in which clothing does. In doing so, conveying one’s personality in a manor beyond that of audible conversation.

A brand that was created for the future thinkers. The powerful, intellectual, artful, political minds who aim to make a statement with what they wear. We aim to not buy into the inefficiencies of unethical and unsustainable behaviour in order to make a quality honest product. A sensual nostalgic romance meets an alternative warped reality of titillating shock tactics and political undertones in its aim find where the two opposites meet. Giving birth to romantic modernity and protest. A satirical contradiction on societal norms presented in a manner of severe proportion manipulation. The brand presents a unique mixture of wearable must-haves and wearable art.

Shroud was founded by designer Jessica Carter-Kite in early 2017 as part of her graduating collection from Sydney’s leading fashion institution The Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW. She has since been selected as a finalist for the DIA’s Graduate of the Year Award and has showcased her garments in countless editorials. Shroud will be presenting it’s first collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2018.

Gillian Garde

ZRD by Ruby Zhang

Ruby Zhang is the founder of the fashion brand ZRD. Her designs reflect positive energy and creates a world that is limitless. Following her arrival in Australia in 2010, a passion for design led her to enrol in a design foundation course at UNSW. There, she found her forte in fashion and pursued it as her career path.

Ruby’s previous studies in music inspired her to create her garments. Sound can be created to a visual display of fashion. Since she was young, the link between the visual and music has been an important one. Fashion took Ruby overseas and Milan was the source of inspiration that changed everything. It propelled what was possible from what was taught in Australia and updated her standards on what fashion is. She returned to Australia and bought back her new ideas of fashion which would successfully assist her gaining her Bachelor’s degree at Sydney’s Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW.

Ruby Zhang

Whitehart by Danielle Soole

Whitehart is the 2017 Graduate collection of Danielle Soole. Originally hailing from Dubbo in regional NSW, she moved to Sydney to complete her studies in the Bachelor of Fashion Design. The label Whitehart showcases streetwear with a distinctive foundation in historical reference and inspiration.

Whitehart aims to create pieces that draw from the individualistic and highly wearable nature of streetwear, while combining the decorative and exaggerated embellishment of historical costume to create a distinctive modern flavour.

Whitehart brings to life a collection that is creatively considered and beautifully crafted, balancing femininity with rich historical context to create contemporary garments. With the intention to create a highly wearable, yet enduring collection that embodies a relaxed, effortlessness style with a distinct street culture aesthetic.

Instagram

ZELLA MAY by Kamila May

Founded by designer and artist Kamila May, ZELLA MAY has captured the imagination of women who identify with a dreamy, sensual and evocative aesthetic. 

Designs are firmly based in historical techniques such as hand embroidery, pleating and smocking, brought into the 21st century by their adaption to modern fabrications such as tulle, machine lace and cast plastics. 

There is always a dose of the dreamy, brought out in this collection by the hand painted soft fabric figures that drape across garments. Juxtaposing this is edgy deconstructed suiting, demonstrating the duality of softness and strength. ZELLA MAY is for the modern woman; feminine, strong and free. 

Instagram

Until next time,

Jade xx

Aussie Fashion, Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, MBFWA

Camilla and Marc Day #1 MBFWA 2018

May 13

So, Camilla and Marc opened Australian Fashion Week tonight in tandem celebration with their 15th Anniversary, with an incredible show!

Well, of course it was incredible … it was Camilla and Marc!!! What more would one expect?

I loved the feeling of this show. Firstly, it was reminiscent of times past as it was held at the iconic Sydney space, The Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park.

I was so delighted to see this gorgeous collection … beautiful brocades in pale palettes graced the runway followed by the re-invention of traditional power suiting. I think I even detected some shoulder pads, matched in strength by the oversized double breasted jacket in various checks with very lengthy arms. A little impractical you might say … but bloody fantastic on the runway!

 

One of the things I love about Camilla and Marc is their absolute commitment to wearability. Gorgeous, but practical, for the most part, with many a glamour piece to call upon should the need arise.

I was lovin’ the sustained presence of the flares teamed with long sleeved blouses and even more structured and robust tops with high neck-lines.

 

I was delighted but not surprised tonight to witness the return of the once lost aspect of “demure”.

There was a definite return to the modest, the lady-like, an almost colonial American or Amish feel to some peplum inspired pieces.

How refreshing it was to see an abundance of fabric covering the body in the most feminine and flowing of ways post the never-ending era of the shortest of short dresses.

 

The freshness of white boots on the runway was sharp and clean but there was still the all important presence of the stiletto.

The layering of blouses and the use of the almost old-fashioned shirt placed strategically under the concept pinafore was strongly featured teamed with the quirky over-size, and I mean “hugely” over-sized bags.

 

My favourite pieces of this collection were the stunning sage green ‘top to toe’ outfit, the shiny “patent” T, and being the jacket freak that I am, I mostly adored the combination of the oversized jackets and tailored fitted shorts.

The absolute standout was the oversized checked double-breasted jacket atop, what appeared to be two skirts worn together in such a way as the fabric flowed and moved in harmonic synchronicity.

 

 

I absolutely loved this show! Yep. It’s gonna be one hell-of-a Fashion Week!

Until Day #2 …

Jade xx

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, Global Fashion Industry

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Runway 2018

May 13

On 11 April 2018, Universal Brand Development executed a sensational Australian fashion industry coup. In collaboration with Jade Cosgrove of Label Ministry, the entertainment giant staged the first ever film-fashion runway event to take place in Australia.

It was a meeting of,

Well … dinosaurs really … life size ones at that; and the biggest movie studio in the world collaborating with seven incredible Australian designers.

Yeah. That’s all.

The story goes like this …

The glamorous invitation-only event was a night to remember, as “Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom” came alive on the runway at Australian Technology Park, showcasing seven of Australia’s most talented designers who unleashed their Jurassic inspired collections.

“It was so exciting to see our partnership with these incredibly talented Australian designers come to life down the runway last night. These inspired collections embody and celebrate the upcoming theatrical release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, providing Australian fashionistas a deeper connection to the beloved franchise”, said Jo Pascoe, Country Director, Universal Consumer Products, Universal Brand Development.
Sarah Joseph Couture Bridal couture and evening wear showed pristine and precise construction employing the use of British tailoring techniques. Highly coveted bespoke pieces, with laces tailored in a modern and forward-thinking style are sought after the world over. Dramatically blended laces, leather, bead work and flowing chiffons made a stand-out statement to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Jurassic Park. 
‘We. Can. Save. Them.’ by A.BCH, a label founded by Courtney Holm, bases itself on the responsible principles of Create, Care, Circulate. A radical disruptor of the current fashion industry standard of Take, Make, Dispose, A.BCH showcased a collection that represented this activism artfully connected to the Jurassic theme by drawing from the mission of the Dinosaur Protection Group. Presenting ‘Scientists’ and ‘Activists’ on the runway A.BCH connected the audience to the deeper plot line of survival, revealing not only humanity’s tendency to dominate, but more importantly their unique ability to drive change and selflessly contribute to the greater good.
EWOL, the epitome of fantasy and sci-fi, is the brain child of Angela Lowe, and Jurassic World proved the perfect alignment and inspiration for this up and coming label. Focusing on the more specific attributes of dinosaurs, EWOL explored fully the artistic license through teeth, scale, eyes, claws and skin tones. Angela endeavoured to create an immersive dinosaur experience, through her own choice of colours, shapes and prints, to send the audience on a journey, and at the same time, paying homage to the Jurassic World franchise.
A child of the 90s, Keegan Hunt, of Keegan, a Melbourne label, grew up on movies like Jurassic Park. “My collaboration for the Jurassic World Runway led to the development of a range of garments, featuring minimalist hand-drawn dinosaurs and skulls”, said Keegan. To complement the apparel, Keegan made use of the ‘amber’ from the very first release in 1993 for inspiration, to create nostalgic, yet modern, statement earrings.
Leah Da Gloria’s capsule collection was inspired by the combined textural and colour palette of the natural environment, the dinosaurs, and habitat from the movie itself. Sleek silhouettes juxtaposed with earthy tones and prints, organic textured and custom made beaded hardware complemented the natural fibres of silk and leather. A glorious merging of gracefulness and fluidity hit the runway in epic Jurassic glory.
Vincent Li took the deepest part of our psyche to synthesise the two conceptual parts into complex storylines – ‘Disguise’ and ‘Reborn’. Silhouettes contrasted by different textures, panels, layers, disguising bodies in a monochrome colour palette took the audience on the most special of Jurassic journeys.
To close, LunarSand, the swim label renowned for its unique and edgy aesthetic by Ruby Licciardi, exhibited the power of a collection hinging on the use of the iconic cult imagery. Pieces showed clever and significant use of jungle prints, punctuated by prehistoric dinosaur skeletons, abstract dinosaur skins and the famous Jurassic World logo. The collection incorporated women’s swim, children’s swim and athletic wear. Silhouettes were clean and sophisticated, retro, yet contemporary, with an influence of street. Colour ways were deep, luxurious, and subtle, yet understated. Neutral nudes, shades of khaki, and bottle green featured boldly. Black and white graphics were strongly emphasised but softened by desaturations of magenta and violet.
The runway roared that night.
The Jurassic World Runway has to be the perfect, organic alliance of fashion and film. As Australia’s fashion talent paid tribute to Universal’s cinematic pre-eminence, Universal Brand Development returned the compliment to Australian fashion, unleashing its mighty public relations vehicle for the benefit of the industry. And what an alchemy it was.
Never before has Australian fashion enjoyed the might of an illustrious brand such as Universal. 
There is so much more to share about this event … so keep checking back for updates about red carpet pics, and backstage insider pics …
Meet the designers:
Sarah Joseph Couture
A.BCH
EWOL 
Keegan
Leah Da Gloria
Vincent Li 
LunarSand
A HUGE thank you to Universal Brand Development … you SIMPLY rock!
I would also like to thank the following people and companies for their commitment to Label Ministry and my vision … Suzie Grierson Hair | Glow By Beca | Coffee Alchemy | Dashing Print | AURA Makeup | Sanpellegrino | Bella Management | The Creative Collaborators | Alex Zehntner | Sophie Drysdale | Laura Washington … and so, so many others …
Until next time,
Jade xx
Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry

We. Are. The. Standard.

January 29

Late in 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the Fashion Design Studio’s graduate show held at the very funky, inner city warehouse venue, The Commune.  Wildly patronised and positively buzzing, it was clear this was going to be a memorable night.  And it didn’t disappoint.  I happened to be sitting next to someone who commented … Australian designers really are up with the best, aren’t they? I thought about this for a moment and replied, yes. A deeply resonant, Yes. The very subject forms the main theme of many of my articles.  But then I refined my reply with greater detail and continued. Actually, I continued. We are the standard.

Australian designers. The global measuring stick of excellence. Creativity. Innovation. Talent. Surprise. Genius. The Future.  We knock out incredible imaginative bespoke pieces year after year. Without fail.  And you could be forgiven for thinking, seemingly, effortlessly.

Of course, this does not happen in a vacuum.  There are many dedicated, passionate, hard-working professionals who drive these codes of excellence over the finish line, but it all starts with a dream doesn’t it?

The dream of fashion. The glamour. The imagination. The inspiration. The runway. The fabric.

The blood. Sweat. And tears.

It’s as though their young souls dance to the vibration of their fashion passion pulling them forward into their fashion future. Of course, we do want them to have a future … and a brilliant one at that. 

May I remind everyone who is reading this article to please ensure that the future of these emerging designers is secured.  You might be thinking, what does that mean? It is not enough to patronise these events and be enthused for one night.  We need to be enthusiastic about their entire careers and support them for the long term. We need to constantly educate ourselves and fundamentally understand the importance of buying Australian labels not to mention supporting the institutions who create the creative playground and educational programs which underpin the success of Australian fashion globally.

All sixteen of the graduates who showed their collections should be applauded, loudly. My goodness. I have lost track of how many shows I have had the pleasure of attending. It struck me however that there was an aliveness that night, a tangible feeling of electricity in the air, mainly of talent undiscovered.

I was gently taken back in my mind to years past, of designers which have very permanent places in my own memory. Stuart Membery, Alannah Hill and Kit Willow came to the forefront of my mind as the various collections floated by. I loved the recurring themes of fine see through silks, elaborate detailing, bold ruching and my favourite, the flared pants. The clever use and innovative combinations of leather, wool, silk knits, feathers, faux fur, sequins, motifs, 3-D digital printing, vinyl, and corsetry … superb! … a wild and fantastical journey into the minds of true creatives and visionaries. I can’t possibly write more without mentioning the return of the all famous patent leather.  Dear Lord. How can anyone live without it?

Of course, who else should captain this ship, but the illustrious Nicholas Huxley and Sophie Drysdale who need no introduction and have led many an acclaimed designer right to the top.

Is it any wonder that Australia stands front and centre of the global fashion landscape. Are we not totally blessed to be able to enjoy the spectacle of world class fashion design in our own beautiful backyard.

We do not hold up a standard.

We are. The. Standard.

There is not a country in the world who would argue that Australian designers lead the way.

Collection by collection. Each and every season. Each and every year.

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Meet Gillian Garde

I totally loved this collection by Gillian Garde. Her Norwegian heritage, and her collection Bloodline, “seeks to create timeless, luxury ready-to-wear”. I found this collection wearable, romantic, dreamy and fun. It is always inspiring when a collection evokes the imagination of an audience for a momentary space in time. In her words, “a nostalgic journey into the past seen through the lens of modernity”. Gillian Garde Instagram

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Meet Maddison O’Connell

Then there were the unforgettable whispers of the earlier collections of Camilla Franks brought to life by Maddison O’Connell with her collection Lalude the Label, a luxury resort wear brand with a distinctive bohemian spirit embodying complex folk-like craftsmanship. Her full bodied collection of swim and resort wear boasted the use of lace, sequins, knitted silk and fringing in a colourful and happy colour way of turquoise, pinks and pastels with middle eastern motif. Lalude The Label Instagram

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Meet Alixa Holcombe. 

Alixa The Label is described as one of urban sensibility through the hand work and detail to her high end womenswear.

I loved Alixa Holcombe’s use of tie-dying and her hooded cream jacket with the tree scape motif was one of my standouts.  One of the very important aspects to any collection in my opinion is the intrinsic commercial value and I felt that this collection really answered the call. Inspired by the Australian bush, her collection “Lost” explores wandering in the wilderness, the imaginary character, who becomes disorientated from exposure to the elements”.  Alixa Holcombe Instagram 

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Meet Victoria Scott.

ORIA was also a collection I felt to be extremely commercially viable. Her twist on the denim and white shirt look was refreshing and incredibly wearable.  I loved her use of see-through fabric and the checked coat dress was very cool. Her one-shoulder look was nicely done and I loved the return of the flared pant.  Her collection was strong, contemporary, flowed, and felt complete. ORIA Instagram

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Meet Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson “focused on the social and cultural philosophies of historical and modern Japan. The ultra-feminine Harajuku style, which celebrates the youth’s non-conformity to a restrictive present day culture” was unforgettable in candy pink. It was fun, quirky and eclectic. Lauren Anderson Instagram

 

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Fashion Design Studio Graduate Collection 2017 Gallery

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR

I apologise to any of the young graduates from Fashion Design Studio who are not included here.  Time permits me from mentioning everyone.

Until next year … keep on dreaming!

The tide of appreciation and dedication to your growth and success in the Australian and global fashion industries is turning.

Until next time.

Jade x

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

Heavenly Scarves

August 16
Model sitting in a photographic shoot wearing an emerald green dress on a colourful green patterned modern chair, covered in green colourful scarves.

She is feminine, vulnerable, creative, and kind. Always confident and probably an environmental activist. Supremely human, flawed, constantly in flux, and always learning. A perfectionist of course, and highly passionate, but not fettered by the passing of time or conventional boundaries. Aspiring to soar and constantly on the search for inner and outer freedom, she has embarked on a life long journey to find creative fulfilment through which she can finally liberate her soul.

Linda Valentina Avramides

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wrapped in a scarf and wearing a faux cream shaggy jacket.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

One of the things that I love most about Australian fashion is the freedom of expression, inspiration and diversity that is ever-changing, ever-present and ever-evolving.  One such brilliant example is Valentina Avramides, a wonderfully luxurious, colourful and contemporary scarf range.  The collection exudes sophistication, class and finesse. I am not especially a scarf ‘donner’ but since discovering the superb quality and silky luxury, I am proud to announce that I am probably the newest convert. Scarves, especially silk, are incredibly versatile and they hide a multitude of sins, not to mention incredibly warm in cold weather.  The designer, Linda Avramides, a Sydney graphic artist, has just launched her first collection. Her strict upbringing ensured that old Hollywood films took the place of her social life and early influencers were the glamorous and great iconic beauties, Ava, Grace, Audrey, Elizabeth, Natalie and Sophia, who engendered a love of photography, architecture and dance. About to unleash her creative masterpieces in London, Paris, Dubai and New York, the collection is available for pre-order now at Valentina Avramides … but you better get in fast girl because these babies won’t last for long!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in a red dress and high black shoes.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

How was the Valentina Avramides label concept birthed?

VA

I was inspired to do a show of my paintings in 2012, ‘Spirit Dance’; a series of illustrations depicting women in various stages of life and love. The paintings were multi media; collage, Japanese ink brush, vinyl paint, watercolour and pen on parchment. Deeply inspired by the fluidity and energy of dance, I knew it would transpose beautifully on silk showcasing the flow and sensuality inherent in its texture. This showing lead to the creation of my scarf collection where women can literally wear the specific dance of their own life’s journey.

LM

You once mentioned that the inspiration for your label comes from outside of yourself. Please explain the relationship you have to your product?

VA

This is true of creative processes for all people, however, I believe I am especially and consciously connected with my angels. When I began to paint, I had no clear vision; no real idea.

Just raw passion.  An inspired, subconscious emotion. Almost a blind compulsion, which I felt the need to express and communicate visually.

At times, I would paint and rest and then I was asked to continue. It was almost trance like. I felt my hand was guided, a little like automatic writing. When the feeling of my trance subsided, I knew my image was completed.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black dress and scarf wrapped around her head.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

Who is the Valentina Avramides woman?

VA

She is feminine, vulnerable, creative, and kind. Always confident and probably an environmental activist. Supremely human, flawed, constantly in flux, and always learning. A perfectionist of course, and highly passionate, but not fettered by the passing of time or conventional boundaries. Aspiring to soar and constantly on the search for inner and outer freedom, she has embarked on a life long journey to find creative fulfilment through which she can finally liberate her soul.

LM

How did you decide upon the chosen colour palette?

VA

I am very well known for my monochromatic, and grey tonal wardrobe. I almost never wear colour or patterns. I believe strongly that colour heals. I intuitively choose colours to reflect a particular mood and soothe my aura. That is why I always adorn my tonal canvas with a bright flash of colour. A ring, a statement piece… a scarf.

In early 2012 I visited the retrospective Picasso exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, ‘Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris’. I was truly transported by the fluidity of line and extraordinary use of colour to convey narrative and emotion, as well as his ability to depict the female form in all its unique beauty. I was compelled and inspired to paint again.

LM

Where do you see your product in years to come?

VA

I see my scarves in huge demand in all the exclusive boutiques and stores throughout the world, bringing to light Australian design as leading edge and as current as any major fashion capital.

I also intend to expand my range incorporating silk evening coats, wraps, stoles and silk designer evening bags.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a white contemporary jacket, white pants, lounging on a purple lounge.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What kind of retailers will stock your luxury scarf label?

VA

High end, exclusive retailers throughout the world across the globe.

LM

What designers are your heroes?

VA

Christian Dior has inspired me in all its incarnations, from its inception to its latest collections. I would always opt for vintage Dior and Dior inspired creations.

LM

You have always believed that your product is most suited to the overseas market. Why is that?

VA

I find there is greater sophistication and emphasis on history and culture in Europe. I have strong family ties and friends scattered throughout the world. Culturally I align myself more with a European salon than the Australian outdoors and beach culture.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in a black dress and high black shoes.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

Your range consists of three different sizes and two different styles? What inspired you to create the feminine tie, as well as the conventional square scarf style?

VA

In my first collection, I found that the large square scarf was a shape that would best showcase the proportions of my paintings and artwork. I then expanded my collection with a smaller version of the square scarf to make it more versatile, later bringing in the tie scarf which is unisex and current.

I have always found my design inspiration in street-style as opposed to runway. My silk scarves are statement pieces that add an edge to any wardrobe and the ties can be worn as statement unisex jewellery.

LM

Your scarves are made in Australia, with only the hand rolling of the square scarves being finished overseas. How important is Australian manufacturing to you?

VA

I believe in supporting local industry and talent, in the same way that I wish to be encouraged and mentored by my peers. I worked closely with Think Positive (Digital Fabric Printers). A group of artists and technicians who strive to maintain high values, have uncompromising attention to detail, strict quality control and believe strongly in sustainability.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides in an emerald green top with open shoulders and white trouser.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

As an Australian artist I want to collaborate with like-minded, creative Australians. Australian design is leading edge and world class, and we must commit to our future by nurturing the amazing talent we have here.

LM

What do you see as the current problems in the Australian fashion industry? Do you feel supported?

VA

I feel that new designers need help to establish a business plan and general business advice. Too many designers start big, invest big and fail quickly.

LM

I know we don’t like to focus on difficulty, but it does inspire other designers to know of your challenges when launching a label. What have yours been?

VA

My biggest challenges have been to find locally made fabric, an almost impossible task, and competitively priced local hand finishers in order to produce a 100% Australian designed and manufactured product.

Model sitting in a photographic shoot wearing an emerald green dress on a colourful green patterned modern chair, covered in green colourful scarves.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

How important is it for you, to follow the dream of realising your own label?

VA

I believe totally in my creativity and passion which is reflected in the Valentina Avramides label.

It is and will continue to be, my life’s work.

LM

You see your label in London, Paris and New York … what retailers do you hope will stock your amazing collection?

VA

Saks, Barneys, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Victoria BeckhamGalleries Lafayette in Paris, and Corso Como in Milan.

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black dress with converse.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their own label?

VA

To carefully do your research, have a clear business plan, and engage professional advice.

LM

How would you like Australian designers and creatives to be better supported?

VA

I would like to see more open access to government grants and workshops for new emerging designers.

LM

When can we look forward to another collection?

VA

2018!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black strapless bra and covered in a scarf.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

LM

What Australian designers inspire you?

VA

Zimmermann, Scanlan & Theodore, Constantina, Dion Lee

LM

And international?

VA

Giambattista Valli, Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior, Armani, Nina Ricci, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Balenciaga and Lanvin

LM

How would you best describe the Australian aesthetic?

VA

Colourful, outdoorsy, wild, unfettered and free.

LM

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

VA

Designing my successful label and travelling between the major, global fashion capitals.

Meet Valentina Avramides on Instagram

Shop Valentina Avramides … pre-order now!

Model sitting for a photographic shoot for designer scarf label Valentina Avramides wearing a black open shoulder top, white pants on a bright yellow chair.

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives | Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai | Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry | Production | Cartel Public Relations | Model | Kyra Charalambu

 

Accreditations

Designer | Linda Valentina Avramides

Photography | Karlstrom Creatives

Hair & MUA | Chris Chisato Arai

Stylist | Jade Cosgrove | Label Ministry

Production | Cartel Public Relations

Model | Kyra Charalambu

 

Until next time,

Jade xx

 

Interiors, Interview, Shopping

Queen of Interiors

July 26

In every industry, there is always a gem. Often, within the sparkling facets of that gem, there is a special person who knows their trade like no other.

They live and breathe the ups and downs, the successes and the disappointments like riding the proverbial wave. Except that the swell which carries this wave is usually the wave of passion, in this case, driven by a love of beauty, and the momentum of which is carried forth by success, inspiration and joy.

It was my pleasure some months ago, after having been a long time devotee and advocate of the Horgan’s product, that I met Marion Horgan. She is the name and inspiration behind the impressive importing and exporting business which has been influencing the world of design, particularly in this country, for four decades.

I know only too well the finer details of running your own ship and the stormy seas that often need to be navigated. To actually meet the woman who started this business … well, let’s just say I was more than privileged.

For those of you who follow me, you will know only too well that fashion is usually my game and usually my only game, but every now and then I feel so inspired by someone that crosses my path, I need to tell the world.

As I have worked in the world of fashion for what seems like forever now, it is only natural that my related travels would bring me into contact with the fabulous creative people in the world of interiors. It is my belief that interiors sit very firmly on the fringe of the fashion industry anyhow, so the apparent blending of the two is the perfect marriage.

Horgan’s is the most exquisite mix of gorgeousness, luxury, beauty, comfort and creative homeliness I have ever had the pleasure of standing amongst.

Marion has the quirky knack of sourcing pieces that no-one else has, which can, and mostly do, find a place in many a creative residential or retail setting.

In our current design world we have become accustomed, unfortunately, to the hideous boring homogenisation of, well, pretty much everything.

You can imagine how delighted I was to find myself so deliciously inspired!

I so wish that more fashion retailers would embrace the idea of interesting spaces by making use of beautiful and inspirational furniture, tables, chairs, sofas, rugs, and lighting which could so easily enhance their stores and their labels.

It is so important to understand that the experience of the consumer is not only about finding wonderful fashion labels to swoon over, buy, and wear to death … but also about the all important retail shopping experience.

Once this country can embrace the merits of marrying the amazing fashion label with an energised, brilliant injection of beauty gained through interior masterminds like Marion Horgan, maybe our retail climate will start to climb to the heights of greatness once again.

A stairway to heaven you might say … at least of the fashion kind.

Enjoy xx

Blue velvet luxury sofa by Horgans interiors.

LM

I believe you started Horgan’s in 1983. What inspired you to create the business?

MH

My love of homewares and all that is associated. As a teenager, I started styling my own bedroom and making my own clothing as I needed an outlet for my creativeness. I was always thinking how I could make something more interesting but beautiful at the same time.

LM

Where did your love of interiors come from?

MH

My mother – she was house proud and had a sense of style in everything she did and wore. She knew where to position furniture and how to just add a beautiful edge whether it be a painting, cushion or flowers.

LM

What do you attribute your talent for buying and finding wonderful, original items?

MH

Comes from within – it’s my passion.

LM

What do you believe makes the “soul” of an interior?

MH

It needs to be a space where people feel comfortable – a space they want to be in.

Perhaps this means that they can just be in awe of the space in which they are standing, or that the space just evokes a feeling of peace.

This can be achieved with personal touches and pieces of interest. It needs to excite the senses whether it be colour, luxe textiles or aromas like the use of candles.

The key to a great space is that itt must be calming.

LM

What is your opinion of our current homogenised world of design? Why do you think we have arrived at this point?

MH

So many people today just follow what they see on Instagram and duplicate it. Thus everything in the end becomes “vanilla”.

LM

What do you believe makes an exceptional designer, fashion or interior?

MH

One that stands out from the crowd – not being a slave to current trends.

LM

I would love to see the retail world of fashion embrace fabulous inspirational interiors. Wouldn’t you?

MH

Yes absolutely, they complement each other perfectly.

LM

What attributes do you believe are necessary to be a wonderful successful designer?

MH

Passion, passion and more passion … and hard work … you must be humble in success.

LM

Are you a lover of colour? Or do you prefer the monochromatic palette?

MH

Both.

LM

Who are your favourite, iconic interior designers?

MH

At the moment, Axel Vervoordt with his wonderful Wabi Sabi style.

LM

What have you learned after being in business for forty years and what advice would you give someone who is thinking of travelling a similar path?

MH

You need to have a strong passion for what you are doing and be able to have confidence in your vision.  

To be a leader you need to take risks and be different.

The greatest joy is that today, difference is embraced, especially for women.

They are now being properly recognised within my industry which is very different from when I started.

As with all success, it is sustained with vision, commitment and hard work.

Find out more about Horgan’s here.

Horgan’s Instagram

Until next time,

Jade xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Fashion Industry

Ruby … Queen of Swim

June 11
Model Bridget with long dark hair modelling the latest designs of LunarSand swimwear collection, Deliverance on a Sydney beach.

Australian swimwear label LunarSand was conceived, fittingly, on the iconic stretch of beach, the last frontier, Seal Rocks.

Birthed in 2015, the label grew from the concept of strength and energy, inspired by the moon and the earth. The epitome of wholeness and magic.

Ruby Licciardi is the iconic name behind the LunarSand label. She has been dubbed Australia’s hottest emerging swimwear designer.

The collections are quite simply ‘wearable art’ and the label renowned for its edgy, unique and feminine style.

Model Bridget with long dark hair modelling the latest designs of LunarSand swimwear collection, Deliverance on a Sydney beach.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | Model | Bridget Rootsey | Styling | Ruby Licciardi |

Ruby says LunarSand “embraces the wild, creative energy synonymous with the LunarSand range and its devoted tribe of empowered goddesses”.

Ruby is well known for her vibrant, dynamic prints. Her specific talent is firmly augmented in garment and print engineering, allowing the pieces to perfectly sculpt and contour the female body. This creates perfect balance and visual rhythm.

Model Bridget with long dark hair modelling the latest designs of LunarSand swimwear collection, Deliverance on a Sydney beach.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | Model | Bridget Rootsey | Styling | Ruby Licciardi |

LunarSand has released three collections to date.

Arch Empress, Ardent Sea and Felix. The Felix the Cat collection was the result of exclusive invitation by DreamWorks Pictures USA, The First Thread and The Design Residency.

Model Bridget with long dark hair modelling the latest designs of LunarSand swimwear collection, Deliverance on a Sydney beach.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | Model | Bridget Rootsey | Styling | Ruby Licciardi |

Deliverance, launched in May 2017 will be available to purchase in October 2017.

Close your eyes. Breathe. Inhale the soft, cool air deep into your lungs. Spread your veiled wings, and soar!!!

Deliverance is a collection that lives for the golden hours. The dusk and the dawn. those delicious golden hours that are filled with lucidity.

Unified and connected by freedom of body and mind, Deliverance is sophisticated, powerful and sleek, possessing gritty undertones.

The colourways are deep and luxurious. Subtle and understated.

Accentuated by metallic trims, the subtle palette of nude, grey, black and white are complimented by dusty pinks, turquoise and forest greens.

The prints reference geometric ikats and cicada wings, creating diverse, varied, and flattering silhouettes which shine brightly and independently.

Deliverance embodies athleticism and inspires a contemporary and refreshing approach to the traditional bikini and one-piece.

Model Bridget with long dark hair modelling the latest designs of LunarSand swimwear collection, Deliverance on a Sydney beach.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | Model | Bridget Rootsey | Styling | Ruby Licciardi |

It can be seen on the runway in October this year at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival.

Support LunarSand … Shop the label

Meet Ruby …

Until next time,

Jade xx

Interior Design, Interview, Shopping

Suzie Anderson Home

May 29
Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

I recently had the pleasure of wandering into Suzie Anderson Home in Moss Vale.  For those of you who have not yet discovered this beautiful store, Suzie Anderson is a haven of exquisite homewares, a fairytale of interior inspiration, and quite simply ‘the’ grown up playground for anyone who has a love of interiors and design. Suzie Anderson and her partner Dave have created a wondrous space where one can amble through endless vestibules portraying individual rooms. Not only does this give the impression of being in one’s home but it offers continual moments of delight as one discovers yet another gorgeous intimate and inspiring space. Once owning the beautiful and renowned Hopewood House in Bowral, Suzie is no stranger to beautiful interiors or a beautiful home. She wanted her customer to experience her interior collection in this way and that, coupled with the perhaps the friendliest staff I have ever encountered makes any visit just magical.  When you’re next in the Southern Highlands be sure to pay them a visit. Enjoy xx

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

What inspired you to create the Suzie Anderson Home brand?

SA

I had been buying and selling a mix of old and new pieces on  a part time basis while bringing up my three gorgeous children.  I started with a small stand at the Sydney Antique Centre. I enjoyed going to auctions, garage sales and then overseas antique and trade fairs to fill my home and my little stand. Eventually we had a shop in Paddington selling mainly French antiques and decorative pieces.

On moving to the Southern Highlands I felt my style had broadened after travelling to other countries.  A colleague suggested I move away from the “French & Country” brand that my business was then named. As I had an interest in creating my  own brand of accessories, it made sense to create the Suzie Anderson Home brand.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Where did your love of interior design come from?

SA

I grew up with very creative parents.  There wasn’t a time that I can remember that my Dad wasn’t doing something creative, making models, restoring vintage cars, painting, building dolls houses and my Mum was never one to sit still.  Hook rugging, tapestries, sewing, knitting, making bears … and now gorgeous beanies for our shop.  Our houses were always decorated quite neutrally in soft greens, whites, natural tones which is where I think this aesthetic developed in my own personal style.

When I got married, my (then) husband had a passion for antiques and beautiful furniture.  He and his friends would spend time going to antique auctions and I tagged along and learned a lot along the way.  We renovated many houses, which allowed me to use my passion for interior styling.  We found this both enjoyable and profitable.  Any left over furniture and accessories that may not have worked in the next house could be re-sold in my store.  It was a perfect creative outlet!

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Your store is like walking into a wonderland of someones real home. Was that your intention?

SA

Yes.  From my first shop, a little terrace, we found it more interesting to display furniture as you would see it in your own home.  So the kitchen of the shop would therefore have kitchen cabinets and benches set up with relevant accessories.  Upstairs in the terrace the bedroom would be set with a bed, chest of drawers, bedsides, linen, lamps etc as you would expect in any normal house.  We didn’t have bulk product of any one type, rather change it up once it sold.  We continued this when we set up our showroom at Hopewood in Bowral and now our store in Moss Vale.  We often get feedback that this is helpful for our customers when seeing items in ‘real life’ settings.  We like our customers to feel they are walking into our home.  We want them to feel comfortable hence the necessity to greet and farewell each person that enters our store as you would if they popped in to our home.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Do you offer in-home interior design services?

SA

I am not a trained interior designer, I am a stylist/retailer.  I have styled several of my customers homes and done a lot of styling of homes for sale, which I really enjoy.  It is difficult to balance the demands of running two retail spaces and giving customers the full focus they need when taking on an interior styling job. It can be very time consuming.  More often people are after just a few simple suggestions of how their rooms can be brought together with a few new pieces, a new rug and some better lighting. I can visit their home for a few hours and then they come to the store and we select the right pieces to suit.

LM

I was impressed to learn that you actually custom make sofas for a specific space. For people interested, how does this work?

SA

I work with several different furniture makers who have a wide range of styles from contemporary to classic. Single chairs, ottomans and full modular lounges.  Working with their budget, we  select the size and style suitable for the space, select the fabric, the comfort level, leg styles and colours.  It’s great to work with local makers rather than buying imported lounges. If there is any problem the maker is at hand not oceans away!  The quality difference is noticeable … you do get what you pay for!

LM

Where do you source your product? I know you import from France. How do you decide what to buy and what will sell?

SA

I buy what I like.  I don’t buy on trend.  For me, I am interested in classic, ageless furniture pieces.   I like to have a mix of old and new, I like decorative pieces that tell a story, and wherever possible in a room, I like to incorporate something with a history/soul.  It adds character to new spaces and a comfortability to a room.  I appreciate rooms that are not too uptight!  I source from all over.  It could be a country market in the Highlands or the South of France.  Paris, Singapore and New York trade fairs for new items, Belgium for lighting, Denmark for Christmas decorations, Indonesia for hand made ceramics and rattan … truly anywhere I travel I am on the look out.

As far as knowing what will sell…experience helps with that, but it is like gambling, sometimes you win and sometimes things go to charity stores!  The best thing with shopping for classics, like shopping for a wardrobe, is that they are ageless and do not even go to tomorrow’s land fill.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Your shop is unique and inspiring. What and who has inspired the development of your brand?

SA

Thank you for thinking so!  My partner David and I wanted to create a space that felt unique.  In this day of internet shopping, we wanted to be able to offer an experience for our customers.  A place where they are delighted by  friendly, interested staff who are present to talk with about the gift/furniture item/rug/perfume/dress…whatever it may be that they need at that time.

Sometimes people just bring their visiting friends in to have a wander.  To experience our environment. To listen to the music, sample the hand creams, flick through one of over 200 books we have on display, touch the beautiful French linens or play on the grand piano!  It was our intention to engage with the customers senses.  All the things you cannot do when ordering product from behind a computer screen.

Travel has certainly been a huge inspiration for the development of the brand.  I have travelled each year for 2 decades now and each trip has involved an element of discovering new suppliers and makers.  Hotels are also a huge inspiration so I often seek out places that have a strong design element.  I have many moleskin diaries full of sketches of fabrics, furniture and decorative ideas.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

What is your home like? Does it look like your beautiful store?

SA

My partner just had a little laugh when he saw this question!  Since selling Hopewood, my decorative highlight so far, I have put all my design energies in to the new store.  My new home hasn’t had a thing done to it since I bought two years ago … luckily the bones are great, a 1950’s weatherboard, gorgeous garden, lots of natural light, lovely open plan living and a fireplace.  It was already painted white and so my existing furniture fit in easily.  Easy when you work in a neutral palette.

I did take all the window coverings down as they were bright country floral, so winter is a little chilly!  I also have done nothing about ceiling lighting so each room just has bayonet sockets!  My partner is an electrician so if we had time we could fix things,  but we are kept so busy in the business our home is on the back burner for now!

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

What do you think is the secret of a truly beautiful interior?

SA

Attention paid to all the senses. I think the best rooms have a balance of classic, ageless furniture, harmonious lighting via lamp, wall, floor and spot lighting, the warmth of quality textiles in rugs, sofa coverings, accent colours through cushions and window treatments. Objects on display within the rooms that are unique representations of the people living there.  Items that tell a story about the lives of the owners … pieces from past travels, a few pieces showing their passion for art, gardening or other interests. Music, candles, beautiful coffee table books that invite, surfaces that say ‘use me’, exotic, calming scents, a drinks trolley are all things that “welcome you in”.  I like the fact the a beautiful interior doesn’t have to come at a beautiful price … I have had caravans with beautiful interiors sourced from local flea markets and garage sales and a can of paint!  You can make beautiful interiors on any budget if consideration is paid to the senses.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

For people who do not have the ability to style their own home or have millions of dollars, what advice could you offer them?

SA

Firstly you have to have the desire to enhance your living environment.  Many people simply use their homes as a place to sleep and don’t place importance on creating their haven.  For those that have an interest but not necessarily the ideas or the spare dollars, I’d suggest looking at the many inspiring images on Tumblr, Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram.  Before these social media platforms I spent a small fortune on home design magazines, locally and imported.  Ouch!  I still have them all as classic style is always there for inspiration so I often revisit my old Cote Sud and Vogue Living magazines for ideas.

Visiting furniture and homewares stores to understand what your true aesthetic is, is really helpful. Some stores won’t move or inspire you … the more you stockpile mental and online image files, you soon find you have a style that you are most attracted to and from there you start to interpret those and create your own version of that aesthetic.   For those too busy to do that, engage an interior designer/stylist to suggest how best to implement your style into your own environment.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Who are your favourite interior designers, internationally and locally?

SA

Internationally, Ralph Lauren, Axel Vervoordt, Victoria Hagen, Jacques Garcia, Matthew Patrick Smyth. Appley Hoare in Pimlico, London and Restoration Hardware whenever I’m in the United States.

Locally, Marco Meneguzzi, Adelaide Bragg and Judy Elliott.

LM

What attributes do you believe make a great interior designer and/or stylist?

SA

Be original. Take risks. Achieve something out of the ordinary but not for egos sake, but to engage and emote a positive physical sensation. If the designer/stylist is engaged by a client to create and enhance their home, that the designer truly understands all the people who inhabit and interact in that space and to bring together all the right elements of design to achieve something unique for them.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Your store appears to be very much an example of strong but neutral colours. Is this your preferred colour palette?

SA

Yes, neutrals are very  much my palette.  Having a neutral palette, particularly in my retail space, means I can introduce colour at any time through cushions, throws, art, floristry, carpets/rugs and accessories.  I’m not tied to any colour palette for any length of time.  Repainting and wall papering can be expensive and time consuming so I find if the background is a neutral canvas, you can change it up seasonally or as lifestyles change, with little expense.  I also find it calming.  I appreciate other design aesthetics, and love staying in a English country houses with embossed wallpapers and heavily framed oil portraits, or brightly decorated urban hotels such as Kit Kemps Firmdale chain. It’s just not my personal style for every day.

LM

What do you think of strong colour in an interior?

SA

I think it can create an impactful statement and a beautiful contrast against crisp white painted or rich woodwork and add incredible energy to a room.  Strong doesn’t need to be garish. I find dark charcoal/ink walls against white woodwork and cornice incredibly appealing even though it stays within my desired neutral palette. However, the use of strong colours with no context to an overall design can also be a jolt to the system.  Some of the TV make over programmes are a perfect example of this. I find there are certain strong colours that are used for shock value and are a massive attack on my senses!

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

I noticed that you now stock a fantastic range of women’s clothing. What labels are they, and where do they come from?

SA

Yes, fashion has been a new area for me but one that my customers are enjoying.

We stock a mix of local and overseas brands from Second Female Denmark, Ba&sh France, Yaya The Netherlands, Current Elliott USA, Frockk Indonesia, Sophie Digard France, Beck Sonnegard Copenhagen, Bosabo  West France, Victoria, Spain, Carolina, and Columbia, Estilo Emporio and Caprio, Positano, Italy.

LM

Do you love fashion? Who are your favourite fashion designers both internationally and locally?

SA

I appreciate fashion but I love homewares!  I would choose shopping for homewares over shopping for clothes but that is mainly because I am often short on time and make mistakes with my purchases!  I found that certain designers work for my lifestyle and taste so I find it easier to shop directly with those brands and then I make less mistakes and work with what suits me.  Designers I like apart from the ones I now stock! Ralph Lauren, Leona Edmiston, Diane von Furstenberg, Sass & Bide, Rag & Bone, Celine, Vannessa Bruno, Hugo Boss, Sambag, Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott.

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Do you find it easy to style yourself?

SA

NO!  It would be a dream if I had someone who laid out my clothes each day!  I would love to wear classic, RL blazers, the perfect denim jeans, gorgeous shoes or a divine dress but one minute I’m flat packing boxes, loading stock or waxing a newly painted furniture piece.  Like superman I suddenly have to look half way decent to serve customers in the shop!  It’s a juggle.  My life before retail and design was in advertising and then in a woman’s magazine advertising sales so I loved getting dressed up each day to wear heels and enjoy manicured hands!  Those days are long gone for now so it’s a mix of comfortably casual for me.  It’s more casual living in the country than the city so over the past eight years my wardrobe has definitely changed.  It’s a little bit of a spin if we have a special dinner or event to go to in Sydney as I don’t have the wardrobe to suit those occasions any more!

LM

What period in history and what architecture inspires you the most?

SA

Definitely 18-20th century.  I am inspired by European architecture and design, particularly Swedish, Belgian and French styles.  The stonemasonry, the embellishments, the grandiosity.  Truly mind blowing!

Picture of Suzie Anderson's shop in Bowral.

LM

Where can people find you and how can they buy from you?

SA

We have two stores in the Southern Highlands of NSW,  one in Moss Vale and a smaller space in Bowral.  We have just leased another property close by in Moss Vale that we will use for storage in the short term but we have plans to open it  with another retail concept in 2018. A similar style but with a slightly different focus. Watch this space!

As far as online shopping, we are working at the moment on a new POS system and our on-line store is in development so we hope to have that fully operational by Spring this year.  It is currently available to view a limited selection of product lines and is a platform to view overall images of the shop and inspirational décor images.

Meet Suzie here.

Suzie Anderson Home, Suzie Anderson Instagram, Suzie Anderson Facebook.

Do yourself a favour. Be inspired. Relax in the energy. Build your beautiful interior … and if you will, your wardrobe, at …

One. Gorgeous. Place. Suzie Anderson Home.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Coat Hanger Logo done in black on white in the style of chinese calligraphy and paint brushing style with the words Label Ministry placed in capital letters below it.

 

Aussie Fashion, Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, MBFWA, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2018

The Innovators

May 17

For those who embrace rebellion and eccentricity every day.

Angela Lowe, EWOL

Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW Ultimo, is the home of many famous people.

If you wait for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week every year with the highest anticipation then welcome to my world.

If fashion is your thing you’re in the right place.

If emerging talent is your passion, then let me personally thank you, because your love is much appreciated.

By oh! soooo many!

This is the story of “The Innovators”.

Graduates of Fashion Design Studio.

Where Sydney fashion design is concerned, FDS is the home and very solid bedrock of many iconic established Australian fashion labels … Dion Lee, Akira Isogawa, Christopher Esber, Gary Bigeni,  Nicky Zimmerman, and Bianca Spender to name a few.

It is a creative hub of design excellence, like no other.

Led by experienced, devoted, passionate, brilliant educators like the famous Nicholas Huxley, the wonderful Sophie Drysdale and Andrea Cainero, the walls are lined with the distinct flavour of adventures just begun.

And the fashion talent just keeps oozing out … Every. Single. Year.

Meet, “The Innovators” at this years Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2017.

 

AMELIA AKLE

Amelia’s work is a reflection of all her interests; the inspiration of which is to embrace the classic feminine aesthetic and to represent a new-age feminine ideal.  The collection is a combination of modernity and rebellion against traditional femininity. Internship at Zimmermann is where her specific interest in exceptional garment finishes and the perfect cut grew. Amelia was a winner in the World Square Fashion Illustration competition. During her final year of study, she collaborated with Vogue Australia and Witchery to create a piece for the ‘White Shirt Campaign’, in support of ovarian cancer. Recently pieces from her graduate collection appeared in the London-based ‘Schön’ magazine.

Meet Amelia Akle.

EWOL by ANGELA LOWE

Angela Lowe’s, EWOL exists at the periphery of normality. Where male and female overlap to create an ‘other’. Atypical in its use of material, its references and inspirations … EWOL blurs the boundaries of streetwear and high fashion to create wearable art worn by risk-takers. Those who relish the stares and the double takes.

Drawing inspiration from the juxtaposition of conflicting ideas – conviction and humour; masculinity and femininity. EWOL is for individuals who identify with a movement against the norm. For those who embrace rebellion and eccentricity every day. There are so many incredible things that we do not see with the naked eye.

Meet Angela Lowe. Ewol by Angela Lowe on Instagram.

ANN XIAO

A secret application to study fashion design, encouraged by her best friend and partner was the start of beautiful beginnings. As a child, Ann was an avid sketcher and would often design outfits for friends and family. It was only after partially completing an economics degree that she decided fashion was her real passion. She had found her voice, so to speak. YouTube tutorials helped Ann to learn the basics, followed by an internship with House of Quirky, Dion Lee, and Manning Cartell. She is now working as a womenswear and menswear design assistant at The Upside, with plans to look overseas to further broaden her horizons and gain insight into international markets.

Meet Ann Xiao. AnxDesigns on Instagram.

CASEA by CASEA HEWITT

Cassie Hewitt released her first collection in December 2016. She has formerly interned with Manning Cartell, Bianca Spender, Carla Zampatti and Sara Phillips. Cassie was a finalist for the Australian Fashion Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Program, where she presented her graduate collection to industry leaders. This year Cassie went on to win the Graduate of the Year Award for Fashion and Textiles at the Design Institute of Australia.

Each CASEA piece tells a story through vibrant signature prints, rich colours, intricate embellishment, craftsmanship and luxurious fabrics. CASEA challenges the misconception that fast fashion is sufficient if the price is “right”. The brand’s accentuation on quality and craftsmanship aims to create a world where the trend of expendable fashion is diminished and a high value is placed on heirloom and sentimental pieces.

Meet Cassie Hewitt. CASEA The Label on Instagram.

HANDSY SWIMWEAR

It took eighteen months for Emma Standon to identify her passion for designing swimwear and experimenting with bending the restricted rules of this fashion genre. Swimwear tends to be restricted in its ability to explore innovation in design, as functionality typically is the upmost priority.Fascinated by emerging technologies and the opportunities to explore innovative techniques in fashion design, Emma was especially interested by 3D printing. This was the spark which fuelled her interest in couture swimwear. This ideology, fused with underlining tones of sexual promiscuity and empowerment, became Handsy Swimwear.

Meet Emma Standon. Handsy Swimwear on Instagram.

RICHARD GIANG

Richard Giang is an Australian emerging fashion designer. Formerly an Architectural graduate at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), he decided to pursue his dream in the world of fashion. Richard’s designs are trans-seasonal, diverse, and wearable. Garments that evoke feelings of confidence, empowerment, sophistication and allure. His designs incorporate unique elements, techniques and textural fabrications that allow him to compromise and to create interesting aesthetic garments to suit all manner of occasions. Feminism and female empowerment are the foundations of his creativity, inspired by architecture, visual arts and Helmut Newton’s photography.

Meet Richard Giang. Richard Giang on Instagram.

JOHANNA SMITH

Johanna Smith was originally a teacher working in an isolated
Aboriginal community in far west NSW.  Sheer isolation saw Johanna fall into a surreal entity of creative inspiration. The abstract arrangement of colour in outback Australia and the Aboriginal people became the embodiment, reference and muse of her label. The launch of YOHANA is infused with muddy hues and bold colour contrasts where obscure leather accents, cotton canvas and shirting are contrasted with lustrous texture.

Meet Johanna Smith. Yohana on Instagram.

Thank you to everyone who supports emerging Australian designers. They need your support, your interest, your passion, your encouragement, and your money. Please invest in their labels. Buy their product. Share the love by following their social media and …

LOVE Label Ministry on social, because the love starts here!

Until next time,

Jade xx

Coat Hanger Logo done in black on white in the style of chinese calligraphy and paint brushing style with the words Label Ministry placed in capital letters below it.

Aussie Fashion, Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry, Interview, Melbourne Fashion Festival, VAMFF

The Fashion Advocate

February 28
Girl sitting on a chair slouched back in a modelling shoot with black top, black leather pants and high black stilettos.

 

Tatyana Designs

Tatyana Designs

Runways are crucial to the development of fashion. They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look, they reflect the current culture and they represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story. Runways are stories, and they’re special.

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.

It’s that time of year again. VAMFF is here. The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival  is fast approaching and the city of Melbourne and fashion devotees from far and wide make their way to the eighteen day long festival. As tribute to this years festival the star of this article is Claire Goldsworthy. A girl after my own heart.

She is the passionate fashionista and founder of the print and digital magazine, The Fashion Advocate and the creator of the collaborative brainchild, The Dress Collective. A collective of emerging Australian designers who manufacture their product in Australia.

This year Claire is at the helm. The Fashion Advocate Runway is a hand-picked collection of emerging Australian designers from around the country. As a vocal and passionate advocate of Australian fashion myself, this runway is one not to be missed by virtue of the fact that its focal point is Australian designers who manufacture in Australia.

Contrary to popular belief there are many emerging and established designers who still manufacture in Australia. In my opinion we should all be following them with great interest, applauding their ethics and moral values, and then setting aside our fashion budget to committing to buying their product, thus supporting their work, and most importantly keeping them in business.

Claire Goldsworthy describes “fast fashion” as “The dirty F-word”! I couldn’t agree more!

Why do we buy fast, dirty, cheap, badly made, unethically produced, highly pollutive fast fashion? Designs that are all too often ripped off from the world’s top designers?? If you have the answer, please let me know, because I am totally miffed as to why these fast fashion giants have such an enormous share of our fashion market. I have written many an article about supporting local Australian fashion and all of you who follow me (God love you all!), well know my opinion on this important subject. Some of you may have already read my article on the Zara Phenomenon

Have we become such lazy and disinterested sheep that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves? Are we so disinterested in our own local fashion market, and our own economy that we have just given up fighting for what is right? Please. Pretty Please. Buy Australian Made Fashion. Support Australian Designers. Vote with your fashion dollar to create much needed change.

Girl sitting on a chair slouched back in a modelling shoot with black top, black leather pants and high black stilettos.

Mhoo Mhoo

Anyhow, back to The Fashion Advocate.

Isn’t it just soooo refreshing to find someone who champions the importance of showcasing, supporting, and bringing to the spotlight, Australian designers, who produce sustainable, ethical product and manufacture in Australia.

Meet Claire Goldsworthy. She is. The Fashion Advocate.

Melbourne Entrepreneur. Fashionista. Editor. Founder of The Dress Collective. Runway Curator. Lover of Australian fashion. Gem.

If you would like to attend the The Fashion Advocate Runway on March 11 get in quick because tix are selling fast!

Here is her story.

Until next time,

Jade xx

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VAMFF … Book your tix! March 01 – March 19 2017

 

Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, and no value …

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.

LM

What is the work of The Fashion Advocate?

TFA

The Fashion Advocate is a print and digital magazine dedicated to Australian made fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, with a focus on ethical and sustainable content.

LM

What has been the major inspiration for your work?

TFA

I wanted to see change. It drives me mad to see the plethora of fast fashion in shopping centres selling for five dollars a piece. How on earth can a garment be made, transported and retailed for five dollars?

It can’t – unless it’s been created under unsustainable and unethical standards. I was sick of seeing fast fashion crap. Sick of the facts and figures that get released every year about the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry, and sick and tired of seeing the same style top in ten different stores.

It’s robotic.

Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, no value.

The inspiration for The Fashion Advocate was my desire for change; I wanted to promote fashion that matters. I wanted to inspire other people to start thinking about the impact of their shopping habits. I launched The Fashion Advocate to support Australian brands who have morals, values and ethics. To introduce consumers to a range of options that they might not otherwise have known about.

Pale girl with red hair and red lipstick standing in front of a beige wall and flowers being photographed in a modelling shoot in a pale pink satin dress. Designer Teagan Jacobs.

‘Blushed’ By Teagan Jacobs

LM

You are a fashion designer yourself. How does that assist you in understanding the difficulties other designers face?

TFA

I launched my own fashion label straight out of high school and worked everything out the hard way from the bottom up. I have a first-hand understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that go into a locally made fashion label because I’ve been there and done that. I’ve since put that label to rest as my aesthetic has changed, but having the first hand experience exposed me to the ups and downs of fashion.

I understand what brands go through. It helps me connect with designers and it’s not a foreign topic; fashion is simultaneously heart-breakingly hard. It conjures up so many different emotions. My experience helps me write about fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands in a personal way because I get it.

Line up of models waiting to walk the runway at a fashion event. Designs by Habadakas.

HABADAKAS

LM

How much has your own label, Harriette Hill, influenced your own work?

TFA

Although I don’t run the brand anymore, it all started with Harriette Hill… My love of vintage fabrics, traditional sewing techniques and my ethical values all stem from my first brand. When I inherited my great grandmother’s 1950’s and 1960’s fabric collection, I was forced to find ways to make it last and so my journey into sustainability began.

LM

How important do you believe is the unveiling of collections on the runway?

TFA

Runways are crucial to the development of fashion.

They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look.

They reflect the current culture and represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story.

Runways are stories, and they’re special.

Model standing in front of a pale blue wall in an emerald green slinky dress by Dida.

Dida

LM

Yes. Yes. Yes!

LM

How was The Dress Collective birthed?

TFA

Much the same as The Fashion Advocate – I wanted to see change. I had always been interested in fashion and over the years, I worked nationally and internationally in retail, brand management, PR and marketing, runway management, creative direction for various brands large and small, and always in fashion.

I was never truly content with working for other brands as their values and ethics didn’t quite align with mine. I launched The Dress Collective in 2015 to make a positive change for the fashion industry. I just couldn’t sit back and watch the damage anymore.

LM

Please describe the role of The Dress Collective?

TFA

The Dress Collective is an online store that sells only 100 per cent Australian made fashion. It’s also 100 per cent transparent and each designers story is attached to every single item we sell, along with the garment’s design and manufacturing origins. The Dress Collective is more than just an online shop for Australian designers though; it’s a support network and creative foundation, built on a vision of positive and sustainable growth for the future of the Australian fashion industry. It doesn’t focus solely on ‘trends’ or seasonal collections, because that can sometimes create the ideal of ‘past season’ or ‘out of fashion’. Instead, The Dress Collective helps consumers make long term decisions about their wardrobe by introducing them to high quality, trans-seasonal and unique labels.

LM

How difficult is it for Australian labels to produce their collections in Australia?

TFA

Contrary to popular belief, quite easy.

The cost is sometimes higher, but we do have a host of high quality manufacturers in Australia. The question though is about values and profit.

Is it difficult to manufacture in Australia? No.

Is it difficult to compete with fast fashion when you manufacture in Australia? Yes.

Local manufacturing can be costly, which drives up the cost of the final garment, but the value is in the ethical benefits of local manufacturing, so it depends on what you value and which part of the production cycle you consider to be more important.

Model standing in an urban street scene wearing a cropped black t with netting and loose black and white pants.

Cameron & James

LM

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing Australian designers in our current market?

TFA

Fast fashion. The dirty F-word!

People are hungry for unique clothing; the challenge isn’t demand as there’s plenty of that.

It’s the cheap fast fashion that causes a problem, and it starts to desensitise people to the bigger problem. You don’t think much about a twenty dollar top because you’d pay the same for pizza, therefore you’re more likely to throw it away, not care for it, and replace it with another twenty dollar top.

It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a hard one to break. The constant struggle is educating people about the importance of supporting local brands and the play-off between fast and slow fashion is an enormous challenge.

LM

What is your opinion of fast fashion? What do you believe is its future?

TFA

Fast fashion has ruined our industry, globally.

It’s raping and pillaging the earth, killing garment workers and devaluing something that deserves so much more credit and thought. I do believe that people are slowly waking up to the impact of fast fashion and slowly making better choices, but it’s going to take a long time to see a total shift.

I won’t stop fighting for slow fashion though, no matter long it takes.

Model lying on steps with tussled blonde hair and sunglasses for a swimwear shoot wearing a black bikini and draped cardigan.

Sets of Seven

LM

What do you most love about Australian fashion?

TFA

The diversity of it. I know labels that make entire garments out of pompoms, and some that make entire garments out of repurposed jeans. There are so many unique and diverse labels locally. I love it! Australian designers tend to be very self-driven and not focus on global trends too much because of the differences in season and locality compared with the rest of the world.

LM

What are your favourite Australian labels?

TFA

All of the labels I stock online at The Dress Collective!

I hand pick them and they’re all so unique, yet very wearable and practical. Black Mob is incredible – it’s unisex and very vocal about the issues it stands for, I love it. DEVOI is another of my favourites; I absolutely love bright colour and prints, and this label delivers both.

Model in a studio with hair bunched up in pigtails wearing a see-through cropped net top with scalloped pink collar with large peddle-pusher wide pink pants with white sneakers and bright pink laces.

Rayan Ardati

LM

Please share your views on the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion production?

TFA

It’s not even a question for me – you either engage ethical and sustainable practices, or you shouldn’t be running a business. If you are going to offer a product to the world, it is your responsibility to do so in an ethical manner; the harm of people or the environment shouldn’t be something that is gambled in the process. It is so very simple to ensure ethical and sustainable production and something you choose. Every step of the process is a choice for brands. We live in an incredible country and we are so very fortunate; we take it for granted. No-one in Australia would accept the garment factory working conditions or pay that are ‘the norm’ in third world countries. No-one would show up to work in Australia for those conditions. If you wouldn’t accept it for yourself, you shouldn’t accept it for any other person involved in the cycle of your business.

LM

How does VAMFF differ to the other events across the Australian fashion calendar?

TFA

I love VAMFF!

It is such an inclusive, diverse festival that appeals to so many different people from all walks of life. The main fashion week is of course very targeted to your fashion-nuts, but the wider calendar includes beauty events, styling workshops, business seminars, shopping activations, film, photography … there’s something for everyone and I’m all about inclusion and diversity.

LM

I believe you are curating your own show this year at VAMFF – The Fashion Advocate Runway. Please tell us more …

TFA

I am SO excited to be curating this event! I’ve handpicked twelve labels from around the country to showcase the diversity and talent of the Australian fashion industry, and all labels are entirely Australian made.

There tends to be a stigma around Australian made fashion and I’m working endlessly to ensure that the wider public understands the industry. People don’t realise that everything you need in your wardrobe – whether it be corporate attire, lingerie, formal wear, swimwear, sleepwear, whatever – can be bought from designers who manufacture locally. The details have been meticulously planned, from the local cocktails on offer to the gifts in the VIP bags – it’s all about Australian made. I’ve partnered with Luna Park too; I’m honoured to be hosting an event at such an iconic and historic venue, it all ties in with the message of valuing local, our roots and delving deeper into everything we buy, wear and engage with.

It’s going to be a very special event!

LM

And indeed it will be! The designers are …

HabadakasTatyana DesignVincent LiDiidap’junk by Kate HannahOroceo CastroLorenza The LabelRayan ArdatiCameron & JamesMhoo MhooBlushed by Teagan Jacobs, and Fool.

Two girls holding hands on a lush green lawn wearing pretty dresses.

Lorenza The Label

LM

If you could speak openly, what would you say to Australian consumers?

TFA

Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change.

LM

How can we best support emerging designers in Australia?

TFA

By shopping online at The Dress Collective!

Shameless plug!

LM

Love a shameless plug!

Come on peeps … Shop. Shop. Shop!

Asian model half lying down looking backwards and to the side wearing designs by Vincent Li.

Vincent Li

The Fashion Advocate Runway Designer Line-Up

Follow them on Instagram and show your support!

Habadakas Instagram, Tatyana Design Instagram, Vincent Li Instagram, Diida Instagram, p’junk by Kate Hannah, Oreceo Castro, Lorenza The Label, Rayan Ardati, Cameron & James, Mhoo Mhoo, ‘Blushed’ by Teagan Jacobs, and Fool.

SHOP The Dress Collective!

Annabelle and EveAwaken The HausAzulant AkoraBlack Mob The LabelCameron & JamesDevoiDon’t Do PrettyEspire ClothingHarriette HillJudeLetitia GreenMarcela’s AccessoriesMici JayOroceo CastroRbcca KstrSets of SevenTatyana DesignThe Spotted Quoll StudioVincent LiVousWhy Mary

Model sitting in a photographic studio with dark hair, black and white top and bright red skirt. Designer, Oroceo Castro.

Orocéo Castro

Remember …

“Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change”.

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.

 

Picture of Luna Park in Melbourne, Victoria. One of the runway venues for this years Virgin Australia's Melbourne Fashion Festival.

The Fashion Advocate Runway Venue

See you at VAMFF 2017! …

Until next time,

Jade xx

Coat Hanger Logo done in black on white in the style of chinese calligraphy and paint brushing style with the words Label Ministry placed in capital letters below it.