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.
So, Camilla and Marc opened Australian Fashion Week tonight in tandem celebration with their 15th Anniversary, with an incredible show!
Well, of course it was incredible … it was Camilla and Marc!!! What more would one expect?
I loved the feeling of this show. Firstly, it was reminiscent of times past as it was held at the iconic Sydney space, The Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park.
I was so delighted to see this gorgeous collection … beautiful brocades in pale palettes graced the runway followed by the re-invention of traditional power suiting. I think I even detected some shoulder pads, matched in strength by the oversized double breasted jacket in various checks with very lengthy arms. A little impractical you might say … but bloody fantastic on the runway! Continue Reading…
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
“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.”
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.
Fashion is no longer just about ‘the garment’ …
On Tuesday night Sydney’s Raffles College of Design took over Ambush Gallery in Chippendale for their graduate show 2016.
A huge open space, walls pulsating with tunes, matched with sheer adrenalin and anticipation running through the fashionista veins of this year’s graduating emerging fashion designers.
The charge in the air was tangible.
Each and every year, Australia welcomes a new group of emerging designers who hope to break into the Australian fashion industry. It is competitive, fiercely challenging and not for the feint hearted. The vast global arms of the international fashion industry at large and its devotees stand and wait with baited breath, beckoning those to live up to the industry standard. And in Australia, that bar is high. Very high. At least creatively.
Commercially our industry has suffered greatly through years of the ever changing climate of the digital age, struggling economic trends, and the inevitable rise of the “fast fashion” chains.
It has long been the case, for independent designers, that success is difficult to achieve and recognition difficult to attain. Support, government funding and financial backing are not as easy to come by as one might think.
I know it is the sentiment of myself and many others that the nurturing of our beloved industry back to its former glory days is a work in progress, for established designers and particularly for emerging talent.
I am pleased to report, I am really starting to see the tide turn.
We habitually look at fashion as the spectacle and traditionally iconic.
The space was filled with chatty, enthusiastic people who clearly loved anything creative.
This year, different to last, where the event was held at Carriageworks in a traditional runway setting.
2016 saw the graduate fashion designers share their space with other graduating Raffles students from Fashion Marketing, Photography, Interior Design, Graphic Design and Digital Media.
I had a long chat with Nick Comino, Raffles Program Director, who said, “this year we wanted to produce a show that encompassed everyone. We habitually look at fashion as the spectacle and traditionally iconic, so this year, we wanted to address things a little differently”.
He added, “even though a lot of the designers who have historically graduated from Raffles, may not have a label as such, the course offers them the opportunity to explore themselves and their own minds. Most find placement within the industry that we all love. Fashion is no longer just about the garment”.
I also spoke to Betsabeh Sohrabi-Sabi. The Assistant Program Director of Fashion and teacher of the course, Fashion Marketing. I asked her about how she felt about the contrast of her fashion marketing students showing alongside the runway of graduate emerging fashion designers; so different from the preceding year. She proudly showed me the work of her fashion marketing students; an essential wheel of course in the industry of fashion and the imperative and successful marketing of such.
Shortly after 7pm the lighting changed and the audible sighs of said fashionistas filled the room.
It was a full and excited house. The usual, wonderful suspects were there. Fedora hats, latest cuffed chinos and expensive brogues, not to mention the ever present designer handbag. Sky high heels, with and without platform, and carefully curated outfits. One doesn’t like to stare … but sometimes you just can’t help it! Surprisingly, many of the girls sported flats … an ever increasing trend I have noticed during recent months and events. A spill over from fashion week this year, with an obvious hint of permanence. Thank God! That’s a trend I’m all for!
Amazing tailoring, creative skill, and sheer mastery of sewing and construction went to Ruth Read who was selected to participate in an exchange program in Milan, an experience that fortified her attention to detail and craftsmanship, leading her to becoming a finalist for Emerging Designer of the Year in the 2015 Australian Wool Awards. Read currently has an internship with Vogue Australia, and will be travelling to Milan next year to gain further experience and refine her artistry. She said, “The making of fashion garments allows me to explore deep levels of personal expression. My designs and making processes allow me to develop fashion forms that communicate a ‘breaking through’ emotion. The final garment becomes a point of balance between internal and external. An equilibrium of dark and light”.
Another standout in the designer line up for me was Alexandra Uyen Nguyen. A label for both men and women, I loved her use of black and white and the “Flintstone” feel of her geometric prints. The see-through top combined with cotton; very clever, and my other favourite, the oversized, off the shoulder top with big bold stripes. I thought the collection refreshing indeed. Her collection, ‘States of Mind’ was influenced by the work of ‘outsider’ artists like Yayoi Kusama. Through the use of repetitive prints and oversized silhouettes her work challenges the conventional social norms of fashion.
In Hayley Kang’s collection, we saw the return of the classic sundress, a black and white maxi skirt teamed with an interestingly created crop top, and the use of blue and orange tones combined. Men’s suiting; a combination of pastels worked alongside plain grey, teamed with cropped drop crutch pants. I enjoyed the assymetrical skirts and her clever take on the geometrically patterned pea coat with “crayon effect”design. The use of fabric with self patterned spots, fringing and lattice work was inspiring. An altogether Alice McCall feel to me. Apparently, inspiration for the collection came from a traditional Korean folk tale about a masked dance, the purpose of which was to breathe courage into people, to break through the status quo and forego self-regulation.
Mary Quach … more black and white. In my opinion, always a winner on the runway and in life. I could see from very quick glimpses of her graduate collection that this young lady has the gift of design, sewing, and commercial ability. I loved the men’s cropped white trousers with a broad panel of fabric finishing off the hem. The gorgeous red coat with subtle stripe and hood, a traditional take on the duffle coat of old. Her women’s black pants shown with an interesting, wearable and textured top. Her collection to me had an almost industrial feel and laboratory driven design. I loved the details of lacing, the use of industrial climbing ropes, and gorgeous khaki sensibility. Her collection embodied fashion in an era of political subterfuge and dysfunction. A collection directly influenced by the Japanese film ‘Akira’ and its dystopian vision, coupled with the aesthetic influences of the constructivist design movement of the Russian revolution.
Alyce Chen’s beautiful cornflower blue leather dress was a standout also. A truly beautiful, wearable creation which I personally would like to see more of. Her collection explored female sensuality and sexuality as historically portrayed in romantic literature and painting.
Laura Davis’ work was a collection of immense quality. Clever layering, feminine skirts, and a beautiful green, long flowing coat closely related to the trench, but created outside of the box in super fun fabric. I loved her colour combinations, an art in itself. Her use of applique fabrics, unfinished hems, raw edges, and assymetrical skirts were interesting, versatile and wearable. “Frustrated by the perpetual revolving door of fashion, Laura took matters into her own hands, creating a label that represents a beautiful, minimalist life that prioritises style over quantity”.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to write about everyone in an article such as this, as time does not permit. Congratulations to all the emerging designers.
People are watching you. You are loved!
I should mention as a spokesperson for the Australian Fashion Industry … that our extremely talented established and emerging designers and their creative teams need your support.
What does that mean? It means we need you to spend your fashion dollar on Australian labels. Read our editorials. Buy tickets to events.
Follow LABEL MINISTRY on social media so our platform can become THE VOICE and THE PLATFORM. In this way, our work and our passion can ripple out to those whose full hearts are relying upon our work, far and wide across Australasia and the world.
Until next time,
Thanks To |
Special thanks should go to Romualdo Nubla, the photographer behind StudioMOR+. Romualdo is devoted to supporting, photographing, and representing Australian fashion, Australian emerging designers, and Australian Fashion Week and associated festivals across the fashion calendar year. Without these devoted professionals our industry would not exist. Please support so that our beloved fashion industry can flourish once again.
Studio MOR+ | StudioMOR+ |
Raffles College of Design |
Designers Featured |
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.
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”.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016
Designer | Aqua Blue | Swim Runway | Carriageworks