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.
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
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
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
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
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
Fashion Design Studio Graduate Collection 2017 Gallery
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.