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Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, Global Fashion Industry

Fashion Design Studio 2016

November 29

fds_event_2016-ar5_7467-alexroberts_photo-lo

 

Forget restrictions. Forget modesty. Explore the freedom of sexual expression through couture swimwear with no rules. We didn’t come here to be sensible.

Emma Standen, Handsy Swimwear.

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Fashion Design Studio 2016 Graduate Runway Presentation at The Spine, Sydney TAFE.

Like each and every year, FDS seems to be able to churn out the most incredible fashion talent and this year was certainly no different.

Of course FDS, Fashion Design Studio, formerly East Sydney Tech is no stranger when it comes to churning out amazing creative talent. In it’s 61st year, it is the home of many a famous Australian designer whose names have well and truly commanded the respect and admiration of all within the industry both locally and internationally. And, stay there. Have they what! Akira Isogawa, Dion Lee, Nicky Zimmermann & Christopher Esber.

As I was only telling someone last night … yes, I am still banging on about my dearest passion.

At least I’m consistent!

It is the sole reason Label Ministry was created as an online platform.

To tell THE WORLD that we are simply the best!

Australian designers rock! I don’t believe there is a country in the world who can match the fashion talent we continuously unleash to the world at large, and quite frankly, I don’t believe there ever will.

We have “something”.  Intangible. Unmistakably ours.

A freshness that identifies as Australian. Our fabrics, our designs, and the way in which we wear our clothes demonstrate our acceptance of diversity and imagination. Fuelled by the blessing of unlimited sunshine, white sands and royal blue oceans which stretch as far as the eye can see.

Yep. No-one can touch us and that’s a fact.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, Interview, Millinery, Spring Racing Carnival

The Dress Circle

November 21
Five national competitors for the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival. Alice Bright, Courtney Moore, Inessa McIntyre, Regina Thei, Ashleigh Jane, all sitting under a tree.

 

Alice Bright standing in a white lace dress, white clutch and matching white hat.

Alice Bright | Fashionista On the Field | 2016 | Photography | Ryan Pike

 

 

I’m feeling very lucky as I feel I am living some of my dreams right now.

Alice Bright

This year at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I met a stunning, tall, gorgeous girl with a beautiful, welcoming smile. I initially greeted her because I admired her dress from afar, and made a bee line to her to compliment her on her standout appearance.

As an aside, I always try to do this when I see women who are beautifully dressed anywhere, as I have always seen great importance in uplifting each other in any way we can.

Anyhow, as we started chatting, the gorgeous young woman, who told me her name was Alice surprised me by telling me she was not a fashion designer. Why was I surprised you might ask? Well, because I was at Fashion Week.  Right?  That’s usually where you find them. Alice told me she had made the dress she was wearing which was drop dead gorgeous, and that she made all her dresses for events. What events I asked?

Racing Carnivals.

Over the course of the year, a Myer, Fashions on the Field winner is selected from each state in Australia. During the Melbourne Cup Carnival, a Myer Fashion on the Field winner is selected from literally hundreds of participants, on Melbourne Cup Day, Derby Day, and Oaks Day. The winner becomes the official Victorian representative and then competes for the national crown. 

Alice was Tasmania’s winner in February 2016 at The Hobart Cup.

All of the girls who are winners in their own states compete against one another to become the national winner of Myer’s Fashions on the Field, which is celebrated every year on Crown Oaks Day. This is the final day, at least for the fashionistas, during the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

The finalists this year were Alice Bright (Tas), Courtney Moore (SA), Ashleigh Ridgeway (WA), Gracyn Marsterson (VIC), Regina Thei (NSW) and Inessa McIntyre (QLD). First place went to Courtney Moore, second place to Gracyn Marsterson, and third place to Alice Bright.

Alice Bright is a woman blessed with the perfect surname.  She indeed has the “brightest” of futures, which will gloriously match her friendly smile.

Of course, being the insatiable fashionista that I am, I wait with great anticipation for the “Alice Bright” fashion label … another story, for another day.

For now let’s focus on her most recent amazingness.

Here is her story …

Enjoy xx

 

Crown Oaks Day | Left | Alice Bright | 3rd | Middle | Courtney Moore | Winner | Right | Gracyn Marsterson 2nd |

 

LM

Congratulations! On your recent successes! How did you first come to be involved with Myer Fashions on the Field?

AB

Thank you so much, it was such an amazing experience and I’m feeling very honoured to have received third place in the national final of Myer Fashions on the Field at Flemington Racecourse.

I started entering Fashions on the Field events when I lived in Launceston, Tasmania back in 2007. My first success came with second place in the Launceston Cup, Fashions on the Field.

This was the first outfit I designed and made to enter Fashions on the Field and looking back, a catalyst for why I am as passionate as am now. I had a little break from 2007 – 2011 and my second moment of significance came when I finished in the top 10 in Myer FOTF on Derby Day 2012. This was a very special moment for me as I designed and made this dress & headpiece with my mum. Similar to my first experience this success gave me the motivation I needed to keep designing and keep entering Myer FOTF.

 

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Editorial, Interview, Lifestyle

Dream the Miracle

November 14
Picture of Barbara Callan standing outside in nature in a black and white geometric designed sleeveless dress.

 

This journey of self responsibility begins with the understanding that everything – without exception – that is in our lives and our experience is our own creation.

Barbara Callan

 

Picture of Barbara Callan standing outside in nature in a black and white geometric designed sleeveless dress.

 

Every now and again, I write an editorial piece which steers away slightly from the focus of fashion.

Our lives are so full of work, business, family, networking and goal setting that I thought it would be helpful to introduce my audience to someone who has made coaching ‘her life’.

Barbara Callan is an intuitive consultant whose work is becoming more and more known.

She is someone who understands the intrinsic details of working with energy. She believes we are all “energy first and physical second”.

Of course, traditional life and business coaching is something we have all been aware of, and had access to, for quite some time. The idea of placing our goals in plain sight via the vehicle of consistent and accountable coaching, is a perfectly common sense idea.

Slightly different however, is that Barbara encourages people to take responsibility for their own lives to expand themselves energetically, to understand the importance of meditation, and to maintain vigilant awareness of being in the moment, to move closer to our dream life.

I sat down with Barbara to ask her some questions that were on my mind.

Enjoy xx

 

LM

How would you describe “energy”?

BC

Energy is the living force or frequency that surrounds all living things. It has been successfully photographed using Kirlian photography, described as “a technique for recording photographic images of corona discharges and hence the auras of living creatures.” When we work at the energetic level we can effect changes at the physical level which is really cool. Our thoughts and feelings affect our energy field, which in turn affects our body.

 

Infrared pictures of two hands showing an energy field.

 

LM

As an Intuitive Consultant how do you hope to help people in their lives?

BC

I have the ability to tune in to someone’s energy field and to feel what is going on in their lives. I can see and experience blocks that people may be experiencing which are stopping them moving forward. Together we work to remove these and understand them so that they do not reappear. I provide inspiration, clarity and direction. I work by distance with clients all over the world, as energy is not bound by time and space.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Photography, Styling

Karlstrom Creatives

November 8
Picture of a girl in black and white with large round sunglasses and long brown hair.
Model with blue hair standing in colourful skirt and top with high heeled white shoes for a campaign shoot.

Karlstrom Creatives | Photography | Peter Karlstrom | Stylist | Leigh Karlstrom

 

 

The passion and love comes from creating something that is yours. We see what we do as a story and the characters just come to life.

Petter Karlstrom

 

One of my most favourite topics within the realm of Australian fashion is the creative team. We often take for granted the contribution that these teams make to the success of independent designers, important events, and the general gorgeous hype that our industry rocks. No other creative team is more deserving of this kudos which is the topic of my latest editorial.

Who are they? Karlstrom Creatives.

I absolutely love the work of Petter and Leigh Karlstrom.

They have reached, what I consider to be, the pinnacle of creative prowess.

Petter and Leigh Karlstrom are the dynamic duo. Quite literally. Petter is the photographer,  Leigh the stylist.

I first discovered their work when I interviewed the amazing Chisato Chris Arai, another creative genius. Definitely one of Australia’s most coveted makeup artists. If you have not discovered Chris Arai yet, do yourself the pleasure of checking out her work. Just navigate through the menu to her article. Truly inspiring.

But back to the Karlstrom duo. Their work is fresh, inspiring, different, engaging, and pure creativity. It is the epitome of imagination and fantasy, and I love it!

I can’t sing the praises of these people enough. I know, I know. You think I say that about everyone I interview. Well I do try to sing everybody’s praises. That’s true. But it is never undeserved, as I am blessed to be granted interviews with the very coolest of people!

Every now and again, you come across people and talent that is truly special. And this article is about these human gemstones.

Petter told me, “the streets inspire us. Characters and spaces. I usually get an idea from being at a cool location and then the rest just comes naturally”.

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

Frederick Jenkyn

September 26
Model | Kelly Hockey Place | London Designer | Frederick Jenkyn Photographer | Chris Fatseas

Frederick Jenkyn, Australian Fashion Designer, TAFE Ultimo. The Innovators.

As all of my devoted followers already know, earlier this year, I had the pleasure of perusing on mass, the breathtaking young smorgasbord of talent that Australia serves up each and every year at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. After the week long event, which is the highlight of the years for all Australian fashion devotees, I methodically work my way through the incredible mix of entrepreneurial youth, offering them the opportunity to publish an affordable and effective public relations interview to promote their names and their emerging brands.

Frederick Jenkyns collection was outstanding. I met him the very day of the unveiling of his collection, but am bringing you this interview after corresponding with him in London, his new place of residence.

As I am sure you are aware, and if you are not, please consider this.

Our emerging designers are quite literally our fashion future.  They represent the group of people who will lead us strongly, both locally and internationally, in the ethical and sustainable production of our beloved fashion industry. Young people such as Frederick will most likely be the names behind your choice of dressing and the other interiors of our design lives for decades to come. It is essential that we support them, read about them, buy their product and offer them our gratitude and encouragement.

Please remember to share  the love.

Australian fashion is depending on you …

 

Meet Frederick Jenkyn.

In five years? I want to have my own studio with pattern makers/design assistants. A machinist and a social media/online manager.

Rolls and rolls of fabrics and a stock room filled to the brim.

I would like to think I’ll be complaining about needing more space. But then I will think, I need to pay for the embroidery for next season so it’s not a good time to upgrade.

I will only wear black. In case someone visits the studio and I won’t look a mess.

And in the bottom draw of my desk, that looks like a filing draw, I’ll keep some throw rugs for the “before show” all-nighters.

Frederick Jenkyn

 

Model Kelly Hockey modelling in London for Frederick Jenkyn. Photographer Chris Fatseas.

Here is Frederick Jenkyn’s story so far …

Frederick Jenkyn as a brand emphasises wearable innovation through unconventional textiles and hand crafted detailing traversing the borderline between couture extravagance and everyday wearability.

Frederick Jenkyn

 

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Editorial, Fashion Designer, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

Charlotte Elizabeth

August 29
Charlotte Elizabeth, the British handbag designer and her beautiful golden retriever.

Meet Charlotte Elizabeth. The young British designer of the very simplistic, but very beautiful handbag.

The Bloomsbury Handbag.

The owner of some very real creativity, sass, and commitment. Not to mention, courage.

Some months ago, I was aimlessly browsing through Instagram.

It should be noted here, that I am not of Instagram age or stage.

To be perfectly honest, by anyones current modern day social media standard, I have a very unimpressive Instagram following.  Probably even more unusual is the fact that I don’t care.  And the reason is simply this.

My Label Ministry work: that of bringing the work of emerging fashion designers, mainly Australian, and sometimes international,  is something I regard as phenomenally important. My Instagram account … well let’s just say, is lagging. The promotion of Australian designers and drawing the attention of the pubic to them is my main focus, because it is here that success will prevail for all those working in our beloved Australian fashion industry. One of the things I love about Instagram is what I find on the platform as opposed to what narcissistic benefits it can provide me with.

One such recent find so happens to be the subject of my latest article, a young English woman by the name of Charlotte Elizabeth.  Her story is an amazing one, and one which simply needs to be told. Through a chronic illness and many years of ill health and self reflection, Charlottes’ story is not only one of triumph, but one of dedication, creativity, commitment and enterprise.

Jade xx

Charlotte Elizabeth, the British handbag designer and her beautiful golden retriever.

Launching a handbag line at the age of 21 is a feat in itself, but when you can’t draw or sew and have been paralysed for over year, it would seem to be an impossible task. Yet that is what Charlotte Elizabeth Jones has done, building her accessories business from her bed …

Emma Spedding, The Telegraph.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, Photography

Lights. Cameras. Heaven.

June 28
Bill Cunningham, New York photographer. Passed away at age 87 years after a stroke.

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

– Bill Cunningham

This morning, as I drank my morning coffee and dreamily looked out the window, my eyes rested on a postcard sitting near me. The title was, “The King Is Dead”.

It is not often that I am totally affected by the passing of someone whom I have never met, spoken to, or even seen in person.

But this time was different.

Saturday, June 25 2016 was a sad day for the global fashion industry.

I woke that morning, Sydney time, with a heavy heart, to find that the iconic Bill Cunningham, the famous bicycle pedalling street photographer, and dedicated columnist for the New York Times, will no longer be seen in mid-town New York capturing his special version of visual fashion delights.

Bill has crossed over, and is now travelling on a runway of a different kind.

Bill Cunningham was special. Eccentric. Dedicated. One of a Kind. And. He Will Be So Missed.

It has literally taken me days to comprehend that he is gone. At least from my current world.

And so this post is dedicated to Bill.

A man I never met, but a man that I know has affected so many lives with his work. As I write these words I realise what an incredible thing that is.  To actually be such a contributory pillar of artistic genius that causes fashion lovers across the world to mourn his passing.

Bill is someone that I would have loved to have met, even briefly. For whatever reason, that was not to be. But it actually doesn’t matter because I hold such gratitude for the contribution he has made to my life. And to my own passion for fashion.

And there is that word again. Contribution.  Ahh yes! That word has been spoken about a lot lately, post Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Sydney 2016.

Contribution.
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Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Fashion Designer, Interview, MBFWA

The new VANguard … Jessica VAN

June 22
A model walks the runway in a design by Jessica Van at the The Innovators: Fashion Design Studio show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Resort 17 Collections at Carriageworks on May 20, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 was really no different to me than it was last year in a general sense. I always love every minute of it.

If there is one, I am “the” tragic fashion week attendee.

This week is one where I cover all fashion designers, established or emerging, international and local. For those of you who know me my greatest love and the fire that drives the passion in my fashion belly, is that of the emerging designer.  

This year, my heart beat faster than usual in the frow. Why you ask? Because of the person who happens to be the subject of this editorial.

One Miss Jessica Van. 

It took precisely five minutes of my life to view the very first Jessica Van collection. An even shorter moment to recognise that I had just witnessed the work of a young designer, and currently relatively unknown designer, who I believe, is headed for the greatest of success. Words cannot describe how much I loved this collection.

I can hear you asking why?

Because sometimes, you just know.

You see an extraordinary talent and the beginnings of something huge and untapped, wrapped up in fabrication of the designs which parade in front of you on the runway.  

Jessica is young, inexperienced, and understandably in awe of a cut throat, competitive, and saturated industry.

She is also genius, dedicated, passionate, humble, and possibly one of the best young designers I have ever seen. She is full of hope and blessed with a dose of the smarts. She sees her designs as wearable art, and indeed they are. She understands the road she is about to travel and so do I.

She is, I believe a designer to watch, because if I am right, I think we will be seeing her name up in lights. And soon.

Here is her story.

Jade xx

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Fashion Designer, Interview, MBFWA

Monster Alphabets

June 8
Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Every year at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which this year has just come to a close, I do a series of interviews about Australia’s emerging fashion designers.

An important part of my week, and perhaps my greatest passion, is to review. to meet, and to bolster, the amazing collections of these designers who are newly graduated or who are nursing their young, wonderful labels through the tender years of their fashion infancy.

This year was no different. A broad array of talented and passionate individuals  whose collections graced the Carriageworks runways at MBFWA 2016.

The life of an emerging designer is a tenuous one, fraught with complex decision making, all weighing on the scales of balance combining creativity and commercialism.  In a world of fast fashion, and the universal hub of fashion manufacturing China, it is no wonder that these designers feel unloved by us all at times, trying to carve out their niche in the small consumer base of Australian fashion lovers down under.

I do my absolute best to make people aware of how dire our industry will become if we continue to ignore the importance of supporting our own.  My thoughts are not revolutionary, but I am completely devoted to my local designers and their hopes and dreams. My wish is that you are too.

So, may I leave you with this thought?

The next time you walk into Zara, TopShop or H&M think about the young Australian designers, who have studied for years, working second jobs just to support their chosen careers.

They need us. All of Us.  Me. And. You. To buy their product.

Their emerging labels need to find a permanent lodging in our heads, as the “Go To” for our next potential fashion fix. That is. If we still value the Australian fashion industry, which I am sure you do!

Meet Sarah Watanabe, the name behind Monster Alphabets, yet another of Perth’s fashion  talents …

For an independent label like Monster Alphabets, we try put an emphasis on slow fashion and an ethical way of producing.  This means that we do not produce big quantities or a large number of styles.  We want our customers to value our clothes and treat them as investment pieces.  Social media speeds up the process and everyone wants new images of new products on a daily basis.  This is not sustainable and works against small labels.

 

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Alana | IMG |Photography | Shuwen Yu | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

I believe that you and your sister started “Monster Alphabets”. How did this eventuate?

MA

I was in between jobs in the latter half of 2011 and I saw a gap in the market for black clothes that expressed a unique twist with modern design.

As the label grew I dragged my sister Kacey into the business. She assists on the business side of the label.  She does the bookkeeping and basically makes sure I don’t do anything stupid.

LM

I love the name. Where did the inspiration for the name come from?

MA

Kacey briefly studied art at St Martins College in London. One of the projects she produced was called Monster Alphabets.

It was the study of implementing different characteristics and personality to each letter of the alphabet.  I liked the curious concept of the name and decided to steal it.

LM

What is the philosophy behind your label?

MA

Jenga. Design is like playing a game of Jenga.  How many elements can you eliminate before it crumbles. Less IS sometimes more.

LM

You talk about the “Japanese Design Pysche”. Could you please explain this further?

MA

It’s the subtleness in the detail. The alternate expression of beauty while not exposing too much skin.

LM

What is the inspiration behind your label? As an architecture student, does this influence your garments and collections strongly?

MA

I actually graduated from my architecture degree and worked full time before switching to fashion.

The design principles that I learned during my architecture days are the same minimalistic approaches and ethos that I now apply to my designs.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Anna | Photography | United Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

As an emerging label, how difficult has it been for you to secure a position within other markets, such as the US?

MA

I’ve only been active in Australia so I am not an international label yet but hopefully one day!

LM

Who are the people from whom you take inspiration and most admire within your industry?

MA

Diana Vreeland … her eccentric philosophy on fashion and life in general is so inspiring.

I am still looking for the Diana Vreeland of this generation.

LM

Lol! Aren’t we all?

LM

What do you love about the fashion industry in Perth?

MA

The fashion industry in Perth is so small that we all know each other and are extremely supportive towards each other.  There is nothing better than seeing a Perth face at events like MBFWA.

LM

Do you see yourself living and/or working in the eastern states?

MA

It is definitely something that I am asked about all the time.

With the digital proximity that is available to us now, I don’t think the geographical location is as crucial as it was before.  I am bit of a cavewoman so even if I lived in New York, I would probably still stay at home 20 hours a day sewing up a storm in the basement … #getalife

LM

What do you think of today’s street fashion?

MA

I personally feel that social media has made such an impact on street fashion.  My personal view is that girls want to stand out from the crowd – thus their focus is on creating an image that will outshine everyone else’s on Instagram and other social media outlets.  The priority now is to stand out even if it means compromising on style.

LM

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?

MA

To accept the unpredictability of fashion.  Sometimes things just doesn’t make sense in fashion.  Just accept it and move on…

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Subah | IMG | Photography | United Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

What is your advice to young women and the way they dress?

MA

Be true to yourself.  Wear something that makes you comfortable physically and mentally.

LM

What influence do you think social media has had on our current fashion industry and do you think it is a positive or negative influence?

MA

I think it has changed EVERYTHING from marketing strategy to the retail environment.

I think bringing any interest to fashion is always a good thing for the industry.  However I think providing the social media influencers with too much power when it is not justified will eventually become a questionable reality.

LM

Agreed!

For an independent label like Monster Alphabets, we try put an emphasis on slow fashion and an ethical way of producing.  This means that we do not produce big quantities or a large number of styles.  We want our customers to value our clothes and treat them as investment pieces.  Social media speeds up the process and everyone wants new images of new products on a daily basis.  This is not sustainable and works against small labels.

LM

Agreed a million times over!

LM

What is your favourite social media platform?

MA

Instagram. As a fashion designer, visual images is our currency.

LM

What age bracket do you design for?

MA

It’s not so much the age bracket, but I do tend to design for professional ladies who have a strong interest in the arts.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Juliette | IMG |Photography | Shuwen Yu | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

What do you think of the phenomenon of fast fashion and how has it affected you as a local designer?

MA

It has crippled my label but it has also motivated us to create designs that cannot be recreated by the fast fashion business model.

LM

Wonderful!  When you refuse to  join them … 

LM

Do you think fashion in Australia differs greatly to other countries?

MA

Yes. I think ultimately we design clothes to suit the climate we live in.  I also think that the climate dictates a lot of the cultural aspects too.  In Australia, we have beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous beaches. It is inevitable that we design garments that celebrate and accentuate this gift from Mother Nature.

LM

When your designs are photographed how do you like to see them represented and on whom?

MA

I think once the garment is handed over to the wearer, I enjoy seeing how they style them.

LM

Do you rely on fashion bloggers to spread the word about your label and how serious an effect do you think they have had on our industry?

MA

My label belongs to a very small niche.  Not a lot of bloggers endorse my dark aesthetics.

I think bloggers have been a major catalyst in this social media phenomenon.

Sometimes I feel like there is no censorship and at times I am wary about the opinions that are broadcasted on the web.

Blogging is not a protected profession so when they upload misleading information or weak content which can defame people, I find it very upsetting.

 

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Anna Orsman | IMG | Photography | United Images | MBFWA 2016

LM

Why do you think fashion bloggers often look the same at events?

MA

Wow I thought it was just me that noticed! Ahhahaha!!!

LM

Nope!

MA

I think this could be due to the necessity to attract more and more people?  I ‘m really not sure.  It’s really unfamiliar territory for me.  I have never been the popular kid at school.  I was always the weird one who avoided the spotlight.  This desire to be so loved and get as many “likes” as possible is a very foreign concept to me.  Perhaps that is the reason why I have such modest number of followers haha!!!

LM

Well. I could argue that one’s contribution to the industry is more important than one’s following …

LM

Do you feel the industry needs to have a set of slightly older fashion bloggers to create a wider and broader space for a diverse representation of labels?

MA

ABSOUTELY.

Every human needs to wear clothes to protect themselves from the weather.  It is a primary necessity to wear clothes for human survival.  Style is what makes this process fun.  I strongly agree that there is a desperate need for more diversity in fashion.  My mother has a blog because she felt like there was a gap in the blogger world for older people.

Her idol is Iris Apfel.

LM

Mine too!

LM

Do you think our obsession with youth and only directing fashion to the very young has created a restricted playground for designers at large?

MA

No, not for my aesthetics.

Perhaps it would if I was running a label that solely relied on social media to measure success. If the interested in a label is largely generated by the power of the Instagram shock factor, then this would apply as only girls of a certain age can pull off the “half naked”, “sheer- sequinned” bodysuit … top … dress …nipple cover …

LM

How hard have you found it to show your collections and make connections overseas?

MA

I do get invited to take part in overseas events but as an independent fashion label, it would be irresponsible of me to do so when I am not ready to fund a bigger production line in keeping with greater demand.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Bianca IMG | Photography | Getty Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

Do you feel that the industry as a whole helps you to succeed?

MA

The panelists of Project Nextgen were all very important members of the fashion industry.  The fact that they saw something in a small label like mine with such a small social media following restored my faith in the industry.

LM

How could you be better supported?

MA

I think by educating people on the importance of shopping local would help alleviate the pressure that is experienced in the industry.

I think at the end of the day, if our business flourishes in Australia, we are one step closer towards international success.

Don’t we all want to see more Australian labels gracing the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan?

LM

Yes. Yes. And Yes. We certainly do!!!

LM

What designers do you love in Australia? Overseas?

MA

I am a big fan of TOME.  Their minimalistic approach to design is breathtaking.  Yohji Yamamoto is my idol. He studied at Bunka as well so our teachers would often use his garments to demonstrate pattern making skills.

LM

Who do you think dresses the best, men or women?

MA

Men.  There is less to choose from so less chances of getting it wrong.

Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, Western Australia showing her collection for the first time in Sydney at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 at Carriageworks.

Model | Alannah | IMG |
Photography | Getty Images | Sydney MBFWA 2016

LM

If you could change anything about what’s trending right now, what would that be?

MA

Narcissism ..

LM

Me too! Have you read my recent article NarcisSista Fashionista???

LM

What do you think about the prevalence of tattooes? Piercings?

MA

I don’t mind them at all.

LM

Do you think they had their day?

MA

Tattoos and piercings?  I think the phenomenon that was attached to it, ie. the taboo side of it, is gone.  As my friend Jono once said, having “NO tattoo is the NEW tattoo”.

LM

If we were speaking about fashion today, do you think we are becoming more modest or less so in our self expression?

MA

I think modesty is very rare when we talk about the fashion of today.  I think the danger is when the clothes end up wearing you, rather than you wearing the clothes.

LM

Why do you think some designers have gone broke in recent times?

MA

I think it is a combination of the difficult retail environment as well as the impact that social media has had.  The speed at which we are expected to develop new collections is ridiculous and just not financially viable.

LM

What advice would you give someone moving into fashion design?

MA

Develop a very thick skin. Get used to hearing “no” all the time.

LM

When you hear an emerging designer, with a full heart, and exceptional talent, describing the pursuit of their passion in this way, something needs to change. And. Fast.

A picture of Sarah Watanabe, designer of Monster Alphabets from Perth, standing at the foot of the runway, dressed in a black dress and black boots, after her show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Sydney 2016 in Sydney.

Monster Alphabets | Designer | Sarah Watanabe | St George NextGen | MBFWA 2016

LM

How do you cope with the commercial aspects of your design trade?

MA

The most challenging thing is finding the balance between design that is still commercial enough that it will sell and bring an income while maintaining the Monster Alphabets aesthetics.  I don’t want to produce watered-down designs just so I can make a sale.  This is not the reason I started the label.  Kacey and I sit down every week to balance the books and see where we are and strategise.  This part of the business is just as important, if not more important than the other, more fun aspects.

LM

Who are your favourite bloggers?

MA

I am really bad at this kind of stuff. I am not really familiar with many of them.  I do like whiteandcapsule.com however. I think her style is very unique and so refreshing!

LM

How important is the role of a stylist to a fashion designer?

MA

I enjoy how the stylists can challenge the way we see clothes. At times I see my garments styled with items that I never thought would match, but when put together it works!

LM

How important is runway exposure when offering a new collection?

MA

It helps to draw attention. In a setting like MBFWA a lot of the heavy weight industry members are present, together with key national buyers. It is the perfect opportunity to present a range.

LM

What do you feel the fashion industry needs to offer in Australia which it is not?

MA

Diversity.

LM

What are you most looking forward to this year, showing at MBFWA 2016?

MA

Being selected to show at MBFWA was a huge step for my label.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Meet Monster Alphabets | Monster Alphabets Facebook | Monster Alphabets Instagram |

Accreditations |

Photography | Stefan Gosatti | Getty Images | Joe Corcoran | United Images |

Assistant | Model | Bailey Jones | Bailey Jones Instagram

Mother and Father PR

Thanks To |

TheFashionSpotOfficial | Zara Wong | Perth Fashion Festival |

Fremantle Fashion Collective | Mother and Father PR | Getty Images | United Images

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.