Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the Fashion Design Studio’s 2018 annual graduate runway.
The eagerly awaited fashion spectacle which showcases the most celebrated of their students. The outstanding and often times breathtaking talent is awe inspiring and one must always remember that we are, in that very moment, bearing witness to those who will be the future heroes of the Australian fashion industry.
May I open with this.
Fashion design is not for the faint hearted.
I am quite literally in awe when I attend these events as I drink in the sheer talent of these designers.
Their quest for originality, their determination to create with authenticity, and the deep passion which makes their faces glow with radiant euphoria before the giddy excitement of such an event makes my heart, and indeed many others sing.
I arrived backstage a few hours before the show to speak to the designers about their hopes and dreams and how they felt about Australian fashion. I am always so touched at their passion and they way in which they are driven by their craft.
Fashion Design Studio has a very long and successful history in creating brilliant and iconic Australian designers. The list of successes is almost too comprehensive to list, but to name literally a few? …
It takes a brave heart indeed to enter the fashion industry of today. Especially in this country.
Courses are expensive and tough. Being a competent designer requires the highest level of commitment for designing garments is only one small part. So much more is required. Illustration, sewing, pattern making, fabric knowledge, and the list goes on. And that’s long before you even start to make any money.
Fashion careers are anything but secure right now and everyone who is brave enough to speak honestly knows it.
The usual systems of support, from industry mentors to financiers are scarcities nowadays and yet the passion belonging to the FDS graduates knows no bounds.
There may be some out there who disagree with me but it matters not.
I have spent many hours of my life in conversation with, and in the presence of young designers whose love of the fashion industry is not enough to sustain the growth of their labels. Often they find refuge in internships, designing for more established designers or houses, and a small few make it big on their own. I so dream of the day when success is a given reality for all who choose this path.
When I asked the group as a whole if they realised they were stepping into a tough industry, all of them answered, yes. They expressed their concerns about fast fashion, but their equal need to respect the love of a trend. Many were in support of a circular economy, re-purposing, up-cycling and second hand, along with a desire to see Australian fashion become less conservative. We discussed the quintessential difference, that is Australian fashion and all agreed that our designers are edgy, think and design differently. I asked them what they would like to see in regards to support and their answer was simple.
Help to be recognised.
Help to be nurtured.
Help to be welcomed into the industry with open arms and most importantly open hearts.
Sitting in an audience is simply not enough. We need to talk, collaborate, build ideas and create a better future. The time is now.
I try not to impose my personal thoughts in articles such as this one, but I feel compelled to do so today.
We need to rally more support.
A million times more support.
We have already painted ourselves into a dark corner with our practices surrounding fashion production.
Are we going to let this happen to our designers too?
Are we going to make life so difficult for them that we stand by and watch other more innovative markets embrace their fashion genius because we wont?
God. I surely hope not. And not if I have any say about it!
For me the standouts were Charlotte Terry, Jinna Nam, Luna Song, Kate Ineson, Tara Zucchiatti and Mia Kate Rodriguez. Wearable, fun, ageless and most importantly, commercially viable. I loved the pink and pumpkin coloured one shoulder coat created by Valeska Dominguez who only works in wool and the impressive couture collection by George Habibeh. I would like to congratulate the amazing spirit of all the FDS graduates. You truly rock.
You inspire me. To the deepest part of my fashion soul.
I believe in your success even before you see it yourselves.
I applaud you all on your brilliance and creative genius. Your talent. Your drive. Your tenacity and your passion unmatched the world over.
The world is your stage and the runway, your natural home.
One more thing.
Never. Give. Up.
Believe in your dreams.
Believe in You.
Trust your calling.
And Go For It.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the incredible people who work tirelessly at FDS and are quite simply the “Salt” of the “Fashion Earth”.
I would also like to thank the wonderful team of teachers who dedicate so much of themselves and their lives to the success of these designers and as I am sure they are never formally thanked, here it is.
Alex Zehntner, Kam, (We know who you are! … :), Laura Washington, Andrea Cainero and Sophie Drysdale. Also, Jenny Davies, Julie Feeney, Mary Dundovic, and Narelle Jordan.
The official Label Ministry award wrapped up in a big loving hug <3 and my deepest gratitude <3 for your ongoing dedication and contribution …
as humble as that may be.
Until next time,