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Australian Fashion

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

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

 

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.

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

Akira Isogawa

December 14

 

“A garment can transcend, giving it a soul.

I translate fabrics into soft and romantic silhouettes, using natural fabrics like silks and cottons, which are kind to the skin.

Distressing fabrics and alchemically treating them, gives the feeling of already ‘being loved’, thus evoking emotion. Even one-off fabrics found in flea markets can be given new life.

Richly embellished fabrics echo Eastern influences, and I have great respect for their traditions. Inspiration can be found from the past – re-using vintage textiles and sometimes creating replicas of them, incorporated with specific craftsmanship.

The number of hours someone has spent on manual work like this makes it priceless.

I see craftsmanship as an implement with which to realise one’s vision. Past, present and future; that slogan continues in almost everything around which my work evolves. Timeless beauty and femininity in my design is profound, in a way for the wearer to express their inner soul.”

Akira Isogawa

Akira Isogawa | Spring Summer 2017

Akira Isogawa | Spring Summer 2017

 

This week I was blessed. Truly blessed.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Akira Isogawa, one of Australia’s most loved and iconic fashion designers. I can’t tell you how exciting this was for me. As a younger woman, some moons ago, ok, many moons ago, I used to ooooh and aaaah over the most exquisite fabrics reminiscent of liquid silk, colours that adorned only my imagination, and garments so beautiful I was sometimes left breathless. For the many moons which have passed since, Akira has continued as the master that he is, creating one collection after another, with the same, if not a greater level of beauty and craftsmanship.

To me this man is a legend.

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Fashion Designer, Instagram

Trash Talk

December 6

Fashion was and still is, about beauty, dignity, poise, and reverence.

 

When did it become ok for celebrities, Hollywood and otherwise to stop wearing underwear to red carpet events in the name of fashion just because they were wearing a certain type of dress? I have been watching this rise in vulgarity for some time now and I can no longer be quiet about it.

On the one hand we are all screaming about feminism and crying like babies when men stare at our boobs but then happily cement our own sexism and elevate to new heights our vulnerability and dissatisfaction by wearing fashion pieces which once upon a time would have shamed us all for being sluts.

Our obsession with things so tight, we can’t move, fabrics so sheer we leave nothing to the imagination, and openings on dresses so vast, we abandon our underwear and leave only parts God himself has witnessed on show to the world.

I don’t know what you think, but as this is an opinion piece, and as I fully have to admit, a little prone to a rant at times, I have to tell you that we are overdue for a change.

Sorry…

We all know what’s under people’s clothes. Do we really have to be subjected to the most private parts of one’s body and then pretend to call it fashion? Quite aside from the sheer ugliness of those body parts, who wants to see them? The line between pornography and fashion is becoming a little too “blended” for me. And no. Just because something has been carefully perfumed, manicured, and waxed doesn’t make it a show piece either.

I for one am sick of shorts so short I can almost see what’s been had for breakfast, tops so plunging I can see the shadow of the nipple, and dresses so short and revealing that I am unwillingly introduced to your cellulite thighs and then hello! nooo … your Ruby-Tuesday!

Enough!  Yes, fashion is about creativity, imagination, diversity, and even cheekiness. But when did it become about nakedness and the soft crevices of well …

Quite aside from what we find acceptable to look at, and I acknowledge that my conservative view will not be shared by everyone, I do have to point out, how does this exposure and behaviour impact on our younger generations and social media platforms such as Instagram?

In making this behaviour the new “normal” are we not teaching the younger audience of the global fashion industry and horrifyingly our children who are without question, the most prolific users of Instagram, that a “following” is all important and that this is often achieved by very explicit content?

I believe we have an obligation to teach our younger generation about pride and dignity. To help them to understand that they are valuable and wonderful human beings who can enjoy and delight in fashion without the social constructs which promote the growing insistence and then consequential confusion of body shaming.

Naturally, I do not include the world of swimwear in my critique, as little clothing within our long accepted beach culture it totally acceptable. As a female, four small triangles otherwise known as the bikini wouldn’t offend anyone. As for the men, most of them wear boardies anyway don’t they, and if they don’t, we have been conditioned a long time ago to “not” look!

But on stage? The red carpet? Really. I ask you? Do we have to see people’s genitalia?  In God’s name, what will be next? Men walking around with their penises slung out of their trousers just because the trousers boast a designer’s name? Would that make it ok?

Nope.

I have had enough.

I am the greatest lover of fashion of all time, but please don’t tell me it includes having to look at people’s breasts on mass bulging out of their garments or horrific glimpses of a vag.

There is ample opportunity in this world to wear as little as pleases you, but can we please not make it the stage or iconic red carpet events? It really, and I mean really, brings down the tone of an industry which has always enjoyed the exalted heights of glamour, class and style. Reminds me of that old adage … “money don’t buy class”. True or not?

Money these days seems to buy more and more of the same thing, especially on the red carpet.  It usually equates to less and sadly, less, class.

If anyone was to ask my opinion? Be an example! Look beautiful. Be dignified. Be the voice to tell the world about the world’s amazing fashion designers, particularly the Australian ones, because everyone knows we are the best!

But don’t bring fashion down to the depths of the gutter.

That’s where the rats live.

Where the infectious diseases reside.

And life starts not to matter …

Let’s not take it there.

Synonymous with the word fashion has always been the virtues of beauty and dignity.

We have seriously lost our connection to the importance of strong moralistic human virtues and instead have become immersed in a debased cultural mindset of anything goes. This attitude helps nobody. It does not help humanity and it certainly doesn’t help our beloved fashion industry, Australian or otherwise.

Fashion was and still is, about beauty, dignity, poise, and reverence.

Let’s keep it that way.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Fashion Designer, Interview, Swimwear

LunarSand

November 23
Dark haired girl lying on the beach resting on her elbow looking at the camera wearing a red checked bikini with a picture of Felix the Cat on her left breast in a modelling shoot for a swimwear label.
Girl lying in a modelling shoot wearing a black and white one piece costume with her hands up holding her hair away from her face.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | MUA | Linda Thi | Model | Sarah Halloran | Jewellery | Tessarella House | Assistant Director | Emma Scott | Styling | Ruby Licciardi

LunarSand is one of Australia’s rising swimwear labels.

Born in 2015 the label was birthed from the concept of strength and energy drawn from the moon and the earth representing wholeness and a sense of magic.

Founder Ruby Licciardi says her label, “embraces the wild, creative, energetic effect the full moon has on her devoted LunarSand tribe of empowered goddesses”.

It is synonymous with swimwear ‘funk’. It is the epitome of fun. Summer playfulness and heat related sillyness.

A lover of the one-piece, Ruby is equally comfortable creating the sexy bikini in all manner of colourful prints, coupled with lacing detail, and paying homage to the ever lovable “Felix The Cat”.

If you haven’t yet discovered LunarSand, you are just in time for summer!

Here is her story.

Enjoy xx

 

Model in a forest scene leaning backwards, outstretched in a white and emerald green bikini for a swimwear shoot.

Model | Creative Director | Eva Czarnocka

 

I love the night. It is quiet and mysterious. It feels like time stands still and you can just be amongst your thoughts.

Ruby Licciardi

 

LM

I absolutely LOVE your label LunarSand. Where did the origins of the name come from?

RL

Thank you so much! It’s always so nice to get positive feedback; it re-inspires and gives you that little boost you need. I played with names for months. I wanted something strong, which holds meaning and eludes to the origin of the product. I was helped along with glass or two of wine!

I love the effect of the full moon, people seem to be a little more wild, creative and energetic. I also feel a personal connection to the Lunar as many significant moments in our lives seem to be highlighted by a full moon. I met Asher (my husband) on a full moon, Atticus (our first son) was born on a full moon and funnily enough the very first LunarSand Look Book was shot on the week the stars and the moon were aligned.

LM

I believe you have a textiles background. Tell me more.

RL

Yes I do. I have always loved to create, draw, paint  – I love working with my hands. I didn’t quite know which discipline I wanted to go into so studied a Bachelor of Design at COFA- the College of Fine Art. It was during my early study that I fell in love with textiles. I adore the tactile nature of textiles; I love that you can touch, feel and see the beauty of fabric. I majored in Textiles and Jewellery. I then went on to tutor third year at COFA and worked as a freelance textiles designer specialising in digital print. After the birth of my first son I moved into children’s wear and started the label Max Licciardi for ‘cheeky cherubs’. This was a lot of fun but wasn’t where my passion lies. I have also worked as a stylist for children’s wear and swimwear. Whilst I was freelancing, I always enjoyed designing prints for swimwear. My favourite process is engineering a design to sculpt perfectly around the contour of the female body. I like experimenting with symmetry and asymmetry to create balance in a piece. Designing prints and swimwear patterns is almost like creating a beautiful visual rhythm.

Two girls laughing and talking during a modelling shoot on the beach. One is the model and the other is a stylist.

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

LM

What inspires you first. The fabric, the design, or a concept?

RL

I think these three elements inspire me equally but not always in the same order. My process changes with each collection and each individual style. All three elements come together to dictate the overall finish of a style. My earlier collections were perhaps more inspired by print design and driven by concept, but I have recently fallen back in love with fabric, texture and accessories. I am currently working on a collection that pushes the boundaries a little more in terms of fabric choice for swimwear, which is both exciting and challenging.

LM

As a swimwear designer, what do you believe is the greatest challenge?

RL

An interesting question! For me the greatest challenge is using restraint and limiting my collections to a smaller number of styles. I feel that swimwear is very personal; each woman has her own preferred fit and style. I would like to be able to create something for everyone and would keep on designing and adding if I could, but budget and time restrictions make this impossible so I must stick to a deadline and target.

LM

What do you find is the most comfortable style for women, or does this vary?

RL

I have found that there is not one ‘particular’ comfortable style for women. It differs hugely; it is such a personal preference. What one woman feels amazing in another wouldn’t consider wearing and visa versa. I also think that the print and colourway of a style plays a big role in making a woman feel comfortable and fabulous in a particular design. All female figures are gorgeous and a woman that feels confident from within shines. I believe we need to stop worrying about what everyone around us thinks and dress the way we like to dress; you only live in this body once, so wear what makes you smile!

Swimwear model lying on the beach facing the photographer with blue sky and blue ocean behind her wearing a blue and red and white bikini. Her hair is wet and she is smiling.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | MUA | Linda Thi | Model | Sarah Halloran | Jewellery | Tessarella House | Assistant Director | Emma Scott | Styling | Ruby Licciardi

LM

I am also a lover of the one-piece! It is comfortable, classy, and stays in place! What do you see as the benefits?

RL

YES – I am also completely in love with the one-piece and for all the same reasons! A well designed one-piece compliments the female frame beautifully, and you know I also feel that it can be incredibly sexy, in an understated, sophisticated way. A statement one-piece is also extremely versatile. You can team it with a pair of cut ofdenim shorts and kicks for a cute, grungy day of fun in the sun or a gorgeous pair of skinnies and heels for a night on the town.

LM

Are all of your swimsuits lined? How important do you believe this is in the comfort and longevity of the item?

RL

YES! All of our swimsuits are lined with beautiful milky silk lining. It is so important for comfort and longevity. Lining must be just as luxurious and soft as the outer shell fabric as this is what sits against the skin. It also gives a swimsuit that extra substance and prevents a see-through cossie – I think we have all experienced the dreaded moment on a crowded beach when you realize that your unlined swimsuit is see-through! Mine happened in the Christmas holidays at Avoca beach when I was thirteen! I still remember that lime green sparkly bikini, and its one and only outing – ha ha ha!

LM

How do you arrive at conceptual ideas for a swimwear range?

RL

I love to take inspiration from all sorts of sources: visual stimulation, feelings and moods, as well as philosophies, concepts and historical context. I often arrive at ideas after sessions of deep thought or sometimes a moment or a dream will spark something in my imagination. I then research this topic and develop it into a story. I also like to work backwards sometimes. When my mind is too busy and needs quietening, sometimes I like to just start drawing and let the motifs, shapes and colours take their own direction and then apply a concept once the design has come together. When I was freelancing, I would generate these ideas quite quickly as you have deadlines and sometimes client briefs. The process can take you a little longer when you are working on your own collection, as there is always that critical inner voice that makes you re-evaluate along the way. I ultimately like each style to tell its own story, but also sit within a conceptual and/or visual collection.

LM

How important is exposure on the runway for a swimwear designer?

RL

Exposure on the runway is extremely important for a swimwear designer. People need to see how swimwear fits the body when in motion. Swimwear is also sexy, exciting, exotic and reminds us of time spent playing and relaxing. The runway creates a feeling of excitement; it is a spectacle and stimulates the senses – this is how swimwear should be seen!

Model standing on the sand with the waves behind her for a swimwear shoot. Her hands are above her head and she is modelling a white bikini top with coloured bikini bottoms.

Model | Creative Director | Eva Czarnocka

LM

Have you accessed the overseas market yet?

RL

Yes. The LunarSand ‘Felix the Cat’ range was launched on the September 1 and is available internationally in the USA, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. I would love to start exploring the possibilities of introducing the LunarSand label as a whole to an international market.

LM

I absolutely LOVE  your “Felix The Cat” range!  Can we expect more gorgeous capsule collections from you?

RL

Thank you so much! The “Felix the Cat” range was an absolute treat to work on. I grew up loving Felix – such a groovy, iconic character. I was thrilled to be invited by DreamWorks to design this collection. Capsule collections and collaborations are my passion! This is what gets me excited – creative freedom, experimentation and a great team of people who inspire and support each other. I would ultimately love to create at least one capsule collection along with the core LunarSand styles each season.

LM

I noticed that you also create towels and sarongs in the same fabrics as your swimwear. Do you always create an entire story?

RL

I don’t always create an entire look – but this is something that I would like to move towards. I love seeing a complete look and story brought to life! I have also found that clients love having the option of working in extra accessories that compliment their chosen swimsuit. I am in the process of designing a fabulous wide leg pant for next season’s collection.

Girl sitting cross legged in a modelling shoot wearing a black and white high waisted bikini with her arms up above her head. She is looking directly at the camera.

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

LM

How difficult do you believe it is to be successful in the Australian fashion industry?

RL

Interesting question! I believe that you have to work really hard to be successful in the Australian Fashion Industry. You have to take rejections on the chin, but also be willing to seek and take advice. Fashion is subjective; what one person loves another dislikes, but I also think that it’s important to have the backing of the industry and really encourage each other to create great things.

LM

Amen!

LM

If you could change anything about our current industry what would it be?

RL

I think that the current Australian fashion industry is in a state of change – the world as a whole is in a state of flux. I believe we may be about to witness some big changes.  It would be great for Australian designers to have the tools and means to secure more of the international market. And I am excited to see new innovation and a revitalized industry that gets behind its emerging designers and showcase them to the world.

LM

Have you felt supported by this industry, or to date, alone in your quest?

RL

LunarSand is still a relatively young label and these early years are the toughest to slog through. I have met some amazing people in this last year who have given me incredible opportunities and the support I need to keep going and creating. I think I still have a hard road ahead of me but am full of passion and drive. In order to grow and evolve as a label and designer you do need industry support and guidance and I would love to see more.

LM

Is consistent editorial coverage an important part of your development as a designer?

RL

Yes I do think that consistent and reliable editorial coverage is invaluable as part of a designer’s development. It allows you to build your label and present it to your clients, helping them to become familiar with the labels direction, aesthetic and vision.

Girl standing in a modelling shoot wearing a black and white one piece costume with her hands up holding her hair away from her face.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | MUA | Linda Thi | Model | Sarah Halloran | Jewellery | Tessarella House | Assistant Director | Emma Scott | Styling | Ruby Licciardi

LM

How has your textile background helped you with LunarSand?

RL

It has helped enormously. A background in textiles has meant that I have been able to develop the skills to create both the print and pattern for each style in all the LunarSand collections. The dual experience of studying and working within the textiles and design industry has helped prepare me for this adventure. I have made many mistakes along the way but this allows me to adapt and correct quickly.

LM

Where can one buy your collections?

RL

Our whole collection is available online at LunarSand.

We are also stocked at SMFA Gallery | Knox St, Double Bay, Sydney and The Design Residency | Oxford St, Darlinghurst, Sydney.

The LunarSand ‘Felix the Cat’ collection is also available through The First Thread.

LM

The world needs more of LunarSand! Can we hope to see you at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week next year?

RL

Thank you! Yes, I would absolutely love to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. I am working on next years collection as we speak! We have something very special up our sleeves and MBFWA would be the perfect place to reveal our secret! A collaboration would be incredible; I think 2017 is our year!

Girl standing in a modelling shoot wearing a black and white high waisted bikini with her arms up clasping her hands. She is looking sideways at the camera.

LM

Totally!

LM

When you are shooting a new collection, what do you look for in terms of location?

RL

Researching and choosing a location for a shoot is one of my favorite parts of the process. I look for a number of things. Firstly the location must compliment and elevate the creative vision and feel of the collection.  I look at the variety and angles that can be achieved – a really varied landscape that can be accessed and utilised without having to travel from one place to the other. I like to look at the big picture and think about capturing shots that take advantage of the stunning natural landscape and textures to create drama – cliffs, rock faces, breaking waves. I would love to push the boundaries further with future collections and start looking at interesting and quirky locations that tell fascinating stories. I have always loved the work of Patrick Russell and the scenes that he created in the 1970’s. He captured down to earth Australian women in casual locations, but added such an element of glamour. This juxtaposition of glamour and the casual Australian spirit creates excitement, intrigue and attitude.

LM

What Australian fashion designers and swimwear designers do you most admire? And, overseas?

RL

I admire so many! I would have to say Romance Was Born – I love what they do, such creativity and vision. Camilla, has such a stunning aesthetic. We Are Handsome. They have such a powerful and unique style and Valentino is to die for!

LM

What is your greatest dream?

RL

Oh my greatest dream – that is a hard one. I have lots of little dreams, which seem to be ever changing and evolving. But I guess my greatest dream is to be in a position where I can continue to create on a larger scale. I would also like to align this creative vision with making a small difference for better in the world. Travelling the world, meeting and working with inspiring people, growing as a designer and breathing in all that the universe has to offer.

Model lying on a towel smiling up at the photographer for a swimwear shoot. She is wearing a blue floral bikini with matching towel.

Photographer | Dan Gosse | MUA | Linda Thi | Model | Sarah Halloran | Jewellery | Tessarella House | Assistant Director | Emma Scott | Styling | Ruby Licciardi

LM

As a mother, and a wife, how difficult has it been to maintain the success of your label?

RL

It can be challenging at times to say the least; we definitely need more hours in the day but like everyone, we have had to find a groove that works for us. My children are still quite young; Atticus is six and Phoenix has just turned four months so I am working interesting hours. I have always been a night owl, however the last couple of months have given this a whole new meaning. I am lucky in that I have a very supportive husband and family. It’s good fun, our kids are a big part of what I do; our house is a circus: kids toys, half finished artwork, swimwear, plants and mannequins everywhere – organised chaos!

LM

Where would you like to see yourself in five years from now?

RL

LunarSand … well established and loved in the Australian market place and making a big splash on the international scene. I would like to think that we will be working with an exceptional team of dynamic people. I would love to branch out into mens and childrens swimwear and work on pushing creative boundaries.

LM

Do you believe in the power of fashion collaborations?

RL

Absolutely! Artistic magic is achieved when a group of people come together and pool their individual strengths to work towards a common vision. It also gives you the chance to work on interesting projects that may be a little left of field. I’ll never forget Vogue, March 2014. This particular shoot featured Mia Wasikowska and was a collaboration between Jillian Davison,  Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton, Emma Summerton and Alice Babidge; the outcome was spectacular, the images have a beautiful ethereal mood with a bold and dramatic undertone! It would be a dream to be involved in something like this.

Model standing in front of an ocean pool wearing a one piece blue swimsuit with Felix the Cat on the front. The swimsuit has lacing detail at the front.

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

LM

When do you see yourself breaking into the international swimwear market?

RL

As mentioned above, the LunarSand ‘Felix the Cat’ range was launched on the first of September and is available internationally in the USA, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which is fantastic, really exciting and a wonderful opportunity. I would love to start exploring the possibilities of introducing the LunarSand label as a whole to an international market in the next one or two years.

LM

Summer is upon us! What style do you believe is trending this year?

RL

Yes!!! It is finally here, those warm evenings and days full of sunshine do wonders for the soul. There are clear trends each year, but what I love about swimwear is that each designer/label stamps their own signature twist on a trend. I definitely like to be aware of trend and predictions, but I make an effort to ensure that they don’t confine me as this can take over your creative process. However I do believe that side cut-outs are absolutely trending. Thin, strappy ties/details are a favorite this year and the high cut bottom with cheekier coverage will be big.

Until next time,

Jade xx

Featured Image

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

Shop LunarSand for Summer 2016!

LunarSand | The First Thread | The Design Residency | Style Me Fashion Agency | SMFA |

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Say Hello to Ruby! 

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Support Ruby’s Charity

Purchase the LunarSand ‘Sporty Swag” drawstring bag perfect for the beach or the gym. 100% of the proceeds go to BeyondBlue.

Shop Sporty Swag

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.

 

 

 

 

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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