Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry

Heaven Swimwear

September 20
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

As many of you will already know, in August of this year I travelled to Auckland, New Zealand to work on the Heaven Swimwear show.

As a show producer, fashion editor and stylist I was privileged to bring on board for this event, the beautiful Imogen Anthony who walked for the show. The first time ever that an Australian swimwear label has shown in NZ.

And walk she did.

Like a boss.

And … mustn’t forget the gorgeous boys!

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

This article however is to celebrate the designer behind this ever growing label Heaven who has now stepped in to some very large shoes after the Creative Director of Oz Swim Group, Kristian Chase has decided to concentrate solely on designing the globally acclaimed sister label Aqua Blu.

Enter Stephanie Cunningham …

LM

Stephanie Cunningham started her Fashion Design degree in 2008 at Whitehouse. Starting with sixty in the course, it soon reduced to twenty five. Right from her point of graduation, Stephanie went straight to Hussy as an intern and describes this as most fortuitous as it pushed her into the industry straight away. They produced womens clothing, shoes and accessories. From there she went into a hands-on-role in sampling and designing for a girl who started a formal wear label. From there. she moved across to a label which produced a maternity line. As strange as that seems it gave Stephanie three solid years of well rounded and invaluable experience.  As the fabrics were all stretch it provided Stephanie with the knowledge and all she needed to know about creating fashion “with a bump”. During this time, the label opened a physical store, so Stephanie learned to interact with customers to find out exactly what they wanted.  After that she went to bridal wear, again dealing directly with customers which allowed her to see the design process right through from start to finish.  She then started to design for herself and finally moved across into swimwear.

LM

What is the only aesthetic you haven’t worked on so far?

SC

Probably, denim …

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

In your experience, what does the customer want?

SC

The customer wants “the familiar” but not something that has been done before.  For example, women love the crop top but my job is not just to re-create the crop top.  It is to take the popular item and add fresh, new elements to create a new masterpiece.

In my mind, this is the problem with Instagram brands who churn out the same thing.  I think the design element is missing and does not consider what the customer wants.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What is your opinion of social media?

SC

I love social media and as the same time, I hate social media.

People who follow Instagram closely seem to take so much notice of the influencers but some of the brands saturate Instagram so much with the same material that there is a real pressure for everyone to look the same.

Heaven has strongly pushed the view forward that our customers do not have to look like everyone else.  I think we are helping people to realise that they don’t have to look like they are all the same and that in reality, colour and individuality speak volumes.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

Why do you think people who follow Instagram feel like it’s important to look the same?

SC

I think it’s because of the celebrity culture, and everyone is desperate to fit in.

Slightly older groups have the opinion that they don’t want to be the same, but the younger demographic does not know anything different and therefore, don’t have the confidence to be completely individual.

We are seeing lately a translation of older designs, and the revival culture is huge which really equals a trend. To me, this proves that we are not completely innovating as much as we could, and this is why we try to be as creative as we can at Heaven to fill in those fashion and social gaps.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

What is your opinion of the influencer?

SC

In some ways I think that the influencer is unnecessary due to the the constant saturation of that one person and one general style.

On the other hand, I feel that it can work well, as long as the influencer translates specifically to the brand that they are aligned with.

There is an obsessive tendency around the culture of Instagram and influencers, so I would prefer to see “quality over quantity”. The exposure should be about the brand, not the influencer.

The saturation point has reached an all time high and over exposure can reverse the benefits to a brand.

At Heaven we are extremely careful to research the value of the influencer to make sure that it is right for our brand and not just an avenue to provide the influencer with free content.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What is your opinion of paid posts on Instagram?

SC

In my opinion that would be need to be attached to specific strategy and my feeling is many Instagram brands are fleeting and this is the reason why.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What do you think about influencers sitting in the FROW at events?

SC

I think the same strategy applies, and for my brand it is important that loyalty for our customers is paramount.

The industry people who attend our shows actually bring something to the event, the industry, the brand and its culture. They are not just there for the selfies.

It is the difference between having a brand that has the real world aspects; bricks and mortar office space, staff, sewing rooms, etc and the desire to be globally successful and recognised. Very different to some of todays “Instagram” brands.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

What keeps the Heaven brand so well patronised and popular is the attention you pay to your customers and quite simply the quality. Would you agree?

SC

Yes. We work hard at those aspects and they have always been at the pinnacle of our brand motivation.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

I was reading an article the other day about the huge problem of things being worn, and then returned in massive numbers via online shopping portals. What is your view about this problem?

SC

I think it comes back to the same old problem that we can’t see, feel and try the garment and therefore our motivation becomes purchasing for the instant adrenalin rush of something new, the Instagram post and the ultimate “like”. It is no longer about the garment, but more so about the moment.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

Where do you see the future of Heaven?

SC

Well, quite literally at the moment? … the sky’s the limit.

LM

Funny about that … it is after all called Heaven 🙂

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

THANKS to:

Model Extraordinaire | Imogen Anthony

Imogen’s Team | JayMillionaires

Photography | Thanks to Fiona Goodall of Getty Images for the photographs.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Check out the beautiful, luxurious garments by Heaven.

Follow them on Instagram.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

Until next time,

Jade xx

 

 

 

 

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry

Meet Sophie

September 13
Sophie van den Bogaerde

It has been an extraordinary journey watching Label Ministry grow, and grow it has.

After the epic success and completion of the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Runway in collaboration with Universal Brand Development earlier this year it was time to introduce a young new face to the Label Ministry platform to weave an even greater complexity of magic.

I don’t know about you but I simply don’t believe in looking for things or people.  I believe that whatever and whomever you need to meet, and whatever is right for you, will find you.

My theory holds strong with regards to Sophie who will be contributing to Label Ministry and the next stage of iconic brand building. Label Ministry does not welcome fashion egos or fashion industry tantrums. We are driven by passion and the necessity for hard work to create important change.

Sophie Van Den Bogaerde grew up abroad which instilled in her an insatiable curiosity of all things creative. Completing a BA in Creative Writing and European studies her interests led her to the fashion industry about which she is passionate. Her childhood was filled with using her “lead pencil set very seriously”; carving out designs and entire looks for all manner of clothing on models. She says, “I have always had a fascination with the way people decorate themselves”.

I thought long and hard about that sentence.  It made me remember and reflect upon the very moment that I realised: I always have as well. 

It is, I think, the deeply resonant and unwavering knowledge that the way people dress is an art form all in itself and the unmistakable worldly material stamp of individualising ourselves.

When we realise that ones clothes are not only just the way they choose to cover themselves on a daily basis, we start to realise it often has a much deeper attachment to who they really are.

She continued to explain that her interest in fashion “comes from a delight in both the creation and the observation of personal expression, and that the fashion world hones in on the subconscious expression and statement we make everyday to the world”.

It feels to me at this point like my own words are being spoken …

Sophie will be a contributing editor and her new gig will start with covering some recent exciting fashion news after we both attended New Zealand Fashion Week at the end of August.

Sophie van den Bogaerde

Notably, the amazing swimwear label Heaven, sister label to the globally recognised Aqua Blu showed on the New Zealand platform; the first time ever that an Australian swimwear label has shown in New Zealand.

Led by Creative Director extraordinaire Kristian Chase and Heaven’s designer, Stephanie Cunningham the show was one of the highlights. The wonderfully colourful and superbly created collection always speaks for itself.

To add to the excitement, A SUUPEER exciting personality, no other than Imogen Anthony, walked the iconic show … and you can read all about that in the next article!

New Zealand fashion has always been one of my favourites to follow. Historically, they have consistently produced wonderful labels.  The likes of Trelise Cooper, Zambesi, Kate Sylvester and Karen Walker to mention but a few.

I asked Sophie some questions about her views regarding Australian fashion.

LM

As a young woman, what do you look for when scouring for labels to buy? Which are your favourite labels?

Sophie

I do like labels but for me it’s more about unique pieces.  Patterns and shapes draw me in by way of the energy of the fabric and textures. I look at the way it’s made and I look for detailing like contrast stitching which makes it different to the things I already have or that other people have.

LM

What are your views about ethical and sustainable practices? Do these aspects cause you to buy certain labels?

Sophie

Ethical production is important to me and I am concerned about sustainability. I’m glad about the movement but it doesn’t stop me from buying a label if I like it.  I do however like Afends – shirts and street wear for younger people, made out of recycled materials and hemp. I am also a fan of Windsor Smith, New Balance, One Teaspoon, Maurie & Eve, May The Label, Levis,.

I love Aussie labels but I gravitate to the UK aesthetic. I like brands but I am not a slave to them.  I like branded pieces to add to my eclectic mix.

LM

What is your opinion of on line shopping?

Sophie

I think it can be very disappointing and for me it is not the most immersive experience. 

Merchandising is essential. I tire easily when I am shopping so online shopping does feed my need for quietness, but it is not a salubrious experience and it encourages fast fashion which I am not a fan of. Also, more often than not it is poor quality product.

LM

What do you think of fast fashion?

Sophie

It is very easy to be drawn into but I try to stay away from it now.  Quite obviously it is targeted at teens and people who follow social media and who are clearly heavily affected by trends.

I simply don’t go in anymore as I know that I will end up not liking it after a very short period of time.

LM

What is your opinion of “influencers”? As a young woman, do you feel they add to the fashion industry at large?

Sophie

The concept of influencers is a complete puzzle to me simply because I am not really sure what they do. 

I don’t understand why we are influenced by them. It is different to me if the are a celebrity, a singer etc but popularity on Instagram for the sake of it?

No. For me, it is a waste of resources.

How can companies justify paying money … Why?

LM

What is your style and from what and from whom do you take inspiration?

Sophie

My style is ever-changing. I would like to think, funky. I like to live stylistically “around the edges”. Ripped, grunge, dark lipsticks. I love alternate patterns but I am not really alternative. I love turtlenecks and I take inspiration from the nineties.

When I was younger I looked for inspiration from Lana Del Rey, Cara Delevingne but now I am just solid in who I am.

LM

Have you ever thought that in our current world many young women strive to look the same? Why is this?

Sophie

Yes.

I believe it is because of Instagram and the way of our modern “influencing culture”.

It discourages individualism and the confidence to just be who you are for fear of lack of acceptance.

Sophie van den Bogaerde

LM

What is your opinion about cosmetic procedures on young women?

Sophie

I actually think it is really sad. Warped. Unfortunate.

LM

Are you a fan of social media? What do you see as the positives and the negatives?

Sophie

Yes, but not completely. I am not obsessed and dogmatic about it. Often, I question its validity and the strangeness of its influence.

I can see that some positivity could be the avenues to communicate new ideas, fashion styles and looks.

I do feel however that it is alienating and most certainly not based on reality.

Everyones likes really amount to nothing, and whilst this may have some benefit for businesses, individuals who rely on it to feed their self esteem is definitely problematic.

LM

Thank you Sophie.

And. A BIG welcome. Your specialness has found its fashion home.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry, MBFWA

BACKSTAGE #mbfwa2018

June 14
Backstage at Fashion Design Studio at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney at Carriageworks 2018.

Backstage at Fashion Design Studio at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney at Carriageworks 2018.

Fashion Week is always special. And strangely, always, each and every year, in a different way.

For me, arriving there one year since the last time felt strange.  So much has happened in one year, and quite literally months of my life had been devoted to a very important project, both for myself and for the Australian fashion industry.  Those of you who know me, and now there are many, you will know that that project was none other than the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Runway, held in April of this year. I was thrilled to be able to work with, encourage, and develop the designers with whom I was so closely aligned on this project, as well as developing the concept in this country of working with international big guns who see benefit in fashion collaboration.  This has long been my vision and I hope to see much more of it in the future.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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! Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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