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.
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,
Runways are crucial to the development of fashion. They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look, they reflect the current culture and they represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story. Runways are stories, and they’re special.
Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.
It’s that time of year again. VAMFF is here. The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is fast approaching and the city of Melbourne and fashion devotees from far and wide make their way to the eighteen day long festival. As tribute to this years festival the star of this article is Claire Goldsworthy. A girl after my own heart.
She is the passionate fashionista and founder of the print and digital magazine, The Fashion Advocate and the creator of the collaborative brainchild, The Dress Collective. A collective of emerging Australian designers who manufacture their product in Australia.
This year Claire is at the helm. The Fashion Advocate Runway is a hand-picked collection of emerging Australian designers from around the country. As a vocal and passionate advocate of Australian fashion myself, this runway is one not to be missed by virtue of the fact that its focal point is Australian designers who manufacture in Australia.
Contrary to popular belief there are many emerging and established designers who still manufacture in Australia. In my opinion we should all be following them with great interest, applauding their ethics and moral values, and then setting aside our fashion budget to committing to buying their product, thus supporting their work, and most importantly keeping them in business.
Claire Goldsworthy describes “fast fashion” as “The dirty F-word”! I couldn’t agree more!
Why do we buy fast, dirty, cheap, badly made, unethically produced, highly pollutive fast fashion? Designs that are all too often ripped off from the world’s top designers?? If you have the answer, please let me know, because I am totally miffed as to why these fast fashion giants have such an enormous share of our fashion market. I have written many an article about supporting local Australian fashion and all of you who follow me (God love you all!), well know my opinion on this important subject. Some of you may have already read my article on the Zara Phenomenon …
Have we become such lazy and disinterested sheep that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves? Are we so disinterested in our own local fashion market, and our own economy that we have just given up fighting for what is right? Please. Pretty Please. Buy Australian Made Fashion. Support Australian Designers. Vote with your fashion dollar to create much needed change.
Anyhow, back to The Fashion Advocate.
Isn’t it just soooo refreshing to find someone who champions the importance of showcasing, supporting, and bringing to the spotlight, Australian designers, who produce sustainable, ethical product and manufacture in Australia.
Meet Claire Goldsworthy. She is. The Fashion Advocate.
Melbourne Entrepreneur. Fashionista. Editor. Founder of The Dress Collective. Runway Curator. Lover of Australian fashion. Gem.
If you would like to attend the The Fashion Advocate Runway on March 11 get in quick because tix are selling fast!
Here is her story.
Until next time,
Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, and no value …
Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.
What is the work of The Fashion Advocate?
The Fashion Advocate is a print and digital magazine dedicated to Australian made fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, with a focus on ethical and sustainable content.
What has been the major inspiration for your work?
I wanted to see change. It drives me mad to see the plethora of fast fashion in shopping centres selling for five dollars a piece. How on earth can a garment be made, transported and retailed for five dollars?
It can’t – unless it’s been created under unsustainable and unethical standards. I was sick of seeing fast fashion crap. Sick of the facts and figures that get released every year about the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry, and sick and tired of seeing the same style top in ten different stores.
Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, no value.
The inspiration for The Fashion Advocate was my desire for change; I wanted to promote fashion that matters. I wanted to inspire other people to start thinking about the impact of their shopping habits. I launched The Fashion Advocate to support Australian brands who have morals, values and ethics. To introduce consumers to a range of options that they might not otherwise have known about.
You are a fashion designer yourself. How does that assist you in understanding the difficulties other designers face?
I launched my own fashion label straight out of high school and worked everything out the hard way from the bottom up. I have a first-hand understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that go into a locally made fashion label because I’ve been there and done that. I’ve since put that label to rest as my aesthetic has changed, but having the first hand experience exposed me to the ups and downs of fashion.
I understand what brands go through. It helps me connect with designers and it’s not a foreign topic; fashion is simultaneously heart-breakingly hard. It conjures up so many different emotions. My experience helps me write about fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands in a personal way because I get it.
How much has your own label, Harriette Hill, influenced your own work?
Although I don’t run the brand anymore, it all started with Harriette Hill… My love of vintage fabrics, traditional sewing techniques and my ethical values all stem from my first brand. When I inherited my great grandmother’s 1950’s and 1960’s fabric collection, I was forced to find ways to make it last and so my journey into sustainability began.
How important do you believe is the unveiling of collections on the runway?
Runways are crucial to the development of fashion.
They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look.
They reflect the current culture and represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story.
Runways are stories, and they’re special.
Yes. Yes. Yes!
How was The Dress Collective birthed?
Much the same as The Fashion Advocate – I wanted to see change. I had always been interested in fashion and over the years, I worked nationally and internationally in retail, brand management, PR and marketing, runway management, creative direction for various brands large and small, and always in fashion.
I was never truly content with working for other brands as their values and ethics didn’t quite align with mine. I launched The Dress Collective in 2015 to make a positive change for the fashion industry. I just couldn’t sit back and watch the damage anymore.
Please describe the role of The Dress Collective?
The Dress Collective is an online store that sells only 100 per cent Australian made fashion. It’s also 100 per cent transparent and each designers story is attached to every single item we sell, along with the garment’s design and manufacturing origins. The Dress Collective is more than just an online shop for Australian designers though; it’s a support network and creative foundation, built on a vision of positive and sustainable growth for the future of the Australian fashion industry. It doesn’t focus solely on ‘trends’ or seasonal collections, because that can sometimes create the ideal of ‘past season’ or ‘out of fashion’. Instead, The Dress Collective helps consumers make long term decisions about their wardrobe by introducing them to high quality, trans-seasonal and unique labels.
How difficult is it for Australian labels to produce their collections in Australia?
Contrary to popular belief, quite easy.
The cost is sometimes higher, but we do have a host of high quality manufacturers in Australia. The question though is about values and profit.
Is it difficult to manufacture in Australia? No.
Is it difficult to compete with fast fashion when you manufacture in Australia? Yes.
Local manufacturing can be costly, which drives up the cost of the final garment, but the value is in the ethical benefits of local manufacturing, so it depends on what you value and which part of the production cycle you consider to be more important.
What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing Australian designers in our current market?
Fast fashion. The dirty F-word!
People are hungry for unique clothing; the challenge isn’t demand as there’s plenty of that.
It’s the cheap fast fashion that causes a problem, and it starts to desensitise people to the bigger problem. You don’t think much about a twenty dollar top because you’d pay the same for pizza, therefore you’re more likely to throw it away, not care for it, and replace it with another twenty dollar top.
It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a hard one to break. The constant struggle is educating people about the importance of supporting local brands and the play-off between fast and slow fashion is an enormous challenge.
What is your opinion of fast fashion? What do you believe is its future?
Fast fashion has ruined our industry, globally.
It’s raping and pillaging the earth, killing garment workers and devaluing something that deserves so much more credit and thought. I do believe that people are slowly waking up to the impact of fast fashion and slowly making better choices, but it’s going to take a long time to see a total shift.
I won’t stop fighting for slow fashion though, no matter long it takes.
What do you most love about Australian fashion?
The diversity of it. I know labels that make entire garments out of pompoms, and some that make entire garments out of repurposed jeans. There are so many unique and diverse labels locally. I love it! Australian designers tend to be very self-driven and not focus on global trends too much because of the differences in season and locality compared with the rest of the world.
What are your favourite Australian labels?
All of the labels I stock online at The Dress Collective!
I hand pick them and they’re all so unique, yet very wearable and practical. Black Mob is incredible – it’s unisex and very vocal about the issues it stands for, I love it. DEVOI is another of my favourites; I absolutely love bright colour and prints, and this label delivers both.
Please share your views on the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion production?
It’s not even a question for me – you either engage ethical and sustainable practices, or you shouldn’t be running a business. If you are going to offer a product to the world, it is your responsibility to do so in an ethical manner; the harm of people or the environment shouldn’t be something that is gambled in the process. It is so very simple to ensure ethical and sustainable production and something you choose. Every step of the process is a choice for brands. We live in an incredible country and we are so very fortunate; we take it for granted. No-one in Australia would accept the garment factory working conditions or pay that are ‘the norm’ in third world countries. No-one would show up to work in Australia for those conditions. If you wouldn’t accept it for yourself, you shouldn’t accept it for any other person involved in the cycle of your business.
How does VAMFF differ to the other events across the Australian fashion calendar?
I love VAMFF!
It is such an inclusive, diverse festival that appeals to so many different people from all walks of life. The main fashion week is of course very targeted to your fashion-nuts, but the wider calendar includes beauty events, styling workshops, business seminars, shopping activations, film, photography … there’s something for everyone and I’m all about inclusion and diversity.
I believe you are curating your own show this year at VAMFF – The Fashion Advocate Runway. Please tell us more …
I am SO excited to be curating this event! I’ve handpicked twelve labels from around the country to showcase the diversity and talent of the Australian fashion industry, and all labels are entirely Australian made.
There tends to be a stigma around Australian made fashion and I’m working endlessly to ensure that the wider public understands the industry. People don’t realise that everything you need in your wardrobe – whether it be corporate attire, lingerie, formal wear, swimwear, sleepwear, whatever – can be bought from designers who manufacture locally. The details have been meticulously planned, from the local cocktails on offer to the gifts in the VIP bags – it’s all about Australian made. I’ve partnered with Luna Park too; I’m honoured to be hosting an event at such an iconic and historic venue, it all ties in with the message of valuing local, our roots and delving deeper into everything we buy, wear and engage with.
It’s going to be a very special event!
And indeed it will be! The designers are …
If you could speak openly, what would you say to Australian consumers?
Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change.
How can we best support emerging designers in Australia?
By shopping online at The Dress Collective!
Love a shameless plug!
Come on peeps … Shop. Shop. Shop!
The Fashion Advocate Runway Designer Line-Up
Follow them on Instagram and show your support!
Habadakas Instagram, Tatyana Design Instagram, Vincent Li Instagram, Diida Instagram, p’junk by Kate Hannah, Oreceo Castro, Lorenza The Label, Rayan Ardati, Cameron & James, Mhoo Mhoo, ‘Blushed’ by Teagan Jacobs, and Fool.
Annabelle and Eve, Awaken The Haus, Azulant Akora, Black Mob The Label, Cameron & James, Devoi, Don’t Do Pretty, Espire Clothing, Harriette Hill, Jude, Letitia Green, Marcela’s Accessories, Mici Jay, Oroceo Castro, Rbcca Kstr, Sets of Seven, Tatyana Design, The Spotted Quoll Studio, Vincent Li, Vous, Why Mary
“Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change”.
Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.
See you at VAMFF 2017! …
Until next time,
We spend valuable time and money making sure our hair is done, skin glowing, tan in place, new dress ready, and makeup perfect for Christmas Day and the following holiday season.
Jade Cosgrove, Label Ministry
It’s the week before Christmas!
First of all I would like to wish all my wonderful Label Ministry followers a very Merry Christmas and the most wonderful New Year! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your wonderful support and interest in Australasian fashion. Thank you also to the never-ending supply of exceptional talent the Australian fashion industry dishes up each and every year by way of brilliant designers and creative teams. Writing about you, but essentially for you, is my passion and the reason the Label Ministry platform exists.
I thought I would finish up on the note of what can only be described as the ‘epic’ 2016 with an article about Alex Perrin, a Sydney makeup artist.
At this time of year we all like to go that extra mile with ourselves don’t we?
Making sure our hair is done, skin glowing, tan in place, new dress ready, and makeup perfect for Christmas Day and the following holiday season.
I hope you enjoy every moment of this festive season and Label Ministry will be back in your blog feed in January 2017!
I hope you enjoy reading about Alex and her valuable beauty tips!
I LOVE your work! Where does your inspiration come from?
Being a creative mind, I’m constantly inspired by so many different things in my day to day life. A lot of the time I will constantly have ideas popping up in my head and I just roll with that! When I am working with my clients, I will always create a vision with them based on the occasion, what they are wearing and how they want to feel. Once I have a clear vision, thats where the magic happens!
What was your driving motivation to become a makeup artist?
It honestly was one of those moments where the penny dropped. It really took me quite some time to work out what I wanted to pursue with my life and career, not to please anyone else but myself at the same time. I was hungry to find my passion and that alone took 3 years after school. It came down to a single moment that one of my closest friends had reminded me; on a leadership camp at school we had an inspirational speaker come and share his success story on how he got to where he was. There was a single moment in that 2 hour seminar that really resonated with me, and what he had said was “Start your day doing something that you love.” It didn’t take much for me to work that one out; for me, that’s doing my makeup.
What advice would you give to young women regarding makeup?
The best advice I could give to you which I wish I had been told from a younger age, is to take care of your skin. Get into good habits now. The better condition and health that your skin is in, the less makeup you need to wear.
Do you think young women wear too much makeup? Do we all wear too much makeup?
I think there is definitely a time and place for everything. I see so many young women ‘packing’ on so much product onto their skin, and that comes down to trends or lack of product knowledge or just simply using the wrong products all together! I personally am not one to criticise people on wearing too much makeup, I’ll have days where I will wear full glam just to go grocery shopping, because I feel like it..because it makes me feel good. It’s definitely a form of self expression and being who you want to be on that particular day.
How important do you believe is the routine of skin care?
Briefly touching on it previously says it all of how important it is. Especially for those who wear makeup on a day to day basis. I feel as though women are becoming more and more educated on skin care only now, there has been an emphasis on it in the past 5-10 years because ageing has become such a concern to everyone. In a nutshell, if you aren’t removing your makeup at the end of the day, you’re not allowing your skin to breathe! Using the right skin care for you is so important as well, no one has the same skin.
There are those who insist, that whether we look after our skin or not that we still age the same? What is your view on this?
This one is a bit of a hit and miss. Genetics definitely do play a big part in how one will age, but technology and science behind skin care is so advanced now, that you can definitely prevent and slow down the process. I would rather be safe than sorry! I personally use a lot of active skincare, and I have noticed a vast improvement in my complexion in comparison to when I wasn’t using a consistent skincare regime.
What do you attribute to the reason that women age differently?
I think the biggest factor to ageing is your lifestyle. Your body is designed to work in a certain way so if you give it the right tools to function properly, it will look after you. Generally people who smoke, drink alcohol frequently, have a poor diet or don’t exercise, will lack that youthful glow in their skin and will age quicker than someone who does the opposite and really looks after themselves.
What would you suggest are good “makeup options” for middle aged women?
Less is more! I would definitely say that enhancing the skin to make it appear more radiant and youthful is the way to go, starting with an illuminating primer to apply under foundation. Next to that would be a light weight foundation, that is designed to smooth out the skin and generally skin care based ingredients so you maintain hydration levels and still get your active ingredients working on your skin even during the day (By Terry is the complexion queen, her foundations are flawless on middle age/mature women). Clean, fresh eyes and a bit of colour on lips and cheeks to subtly enhance and bring life to the face is perfect for everyday wear.
Do you think women tend to wear more makeup as they get older? Why do you think that is?
This one is also a mixed bag. I will most of the time get clients asking me to use light foundations because they don’t like the heavy feeling of makeup on their skin, but they still want the coverage to even out skin tone. I think with ageing, the skin loses that glow and generally unevenness is present (sun spots, redness/discolouration), but we are so blessed with whats available on the market now. Lightweight foundations with full coverage do exist!
For people on a budget, and I guess that includes nearly everyone, what are the top three things you can’t live without in a skin care range.
This question would be like asking me to pick a favourite child!! If I had to pick three key products that I couldn’t live without, it would come down to a good oil based cleanser, eye cream and a serum.
For those of us not in the beauty industry, what does “cosmeceuticals” mean?
Basically this comes down to the brand/products philosophy, having a scientific origin, rather than natural or organic.
Do you believe that with such amazing brands now available, that the traditional role of the beautician has become redundant?
From a personal perspective, I would say yes. The last time I went to have a facial was about seven years ago, only because my daily skincare regime now delivers everything that my skin needs to be at optimum health. I think visiting a beautician is more of a luxury … a way for both men and women to pamper themselves.
What is your personal view of botox and other injectables promoting youth preserving methods. Do you think this is a good thing?
This all comes down to each individual, no one can tell you whats right or wrong or what you should or shouldn’t do. I am very neutral with this subject, I just say “as you like!” with this one. I would advise to do your research before you take the plunge with anything along these lines. People will always agree to disagree with injectables. I think if it sits well with you and its something that you want to do for yourself, then by all means go for it.
Who are your favourite Australian fashion designers? International?
Bec & Bridge, Camilla and Marc, Ellery and Scanlan and Theodore just to name a handful of my favourite Australian designers. My top International Designers would have to be Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Chanel and Valentino .. I die!
Who are your favourite makeup brands and makeup artists in Australia? International?
My top brands would have to be Nars, Hourglass, By Terry, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Too Faced. As for Australian makeup artists, I would definitely say Max May, Mia Connor, Jenny Do and Ania Milczarcyk would be my picks. International artists that inspire me would be Patrickta, Mario Dedivanovic, Huda Kattan and Desi Perkins.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
In 5 years time, I would hope that I kicked a bunch of my goals that I have set! YouTube is the next step for me, so I think being successful going down that avenue would be a start and also running masterclasses/education is another venture on the to do list. I would love to have done some travelling with my work, Milan Fashion week is right up there along with photoshoots around the world. One thing at a time!
What is your greatest dream?
I think the end goal for me would be to have my own salon/studio in Sydney CBD with a team that I have trained up myself, teamed up with leading hair stylists and to bring my vision to life! Having my own makeup brand would be phenomenal, can’t even begin to tell you how excited that makes me even thinking about it!
Good Luck Alex!
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 |
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.
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?
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,
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.
I’m feeling very lucky as I feel I am living some of my dreams right now.
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?
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 …
Congratulations! On your recent successes! How did you first come to be involved with Myer Fashions on the Field?
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.
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”.