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Photography

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry

Fashion Design Studio 2018

November 27
Models standing backstage at the Fashion Design Studio Graduate Runway 2018 at Ultimo TAFE

Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the Fashion Design Studio’s 2018 annual graduate runway.

The eagerly awaited fashion spectacle which showcases the most celebrated of their students.  The outstanding and often times breathtaking talent is awe inspiring and one must always remember that we are, in that very moment, bearing witness to those who will be the future heroes of the Australian fashion industry.

May I open with this.

Fashion design is not for the faint hearted.

Models standing backstage with Jade Cosgrove, CEO Label Ministry at the Fashion Design Studio Graduate Runway 2018 at Ultimo TAFE

Photography | Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+ | Fashion Design Studio Graduate Runway 2018

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, New Zealand Fashion Week

Orange Is The New Black

October 15
A model walks the runway in a design by Ruscoe during the New Generation Emerging Couture show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

If you’ve been keeping up with our latest articles, you already know that Label Ministry ventured to lovely Auckland for New Zealand Fashion Week in August this year.

While most of Jade’s mission at NZFW revolved around the production of the unreal runway show for Heaven Swimwear I was lucky enough to have some time to kick back in the front-row of several other shows.

While I relished my time at every show, one label stood out among the rest. An… orange diamond in the (not-at-all) rough, if you will …

Enjoy xx

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Global Fashion Industry, New Zealand Fashion Week

Romance with Rachel Mills

October 5
Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

As you know Label Ministry recently visited New Zealand for fashion week. I was there to cover and work on the Heaven swimwear show for which I crafted the involvement of none other than the amazing Imogen Anthony, beauty extraordinaire and one of the best walkers of the catwalk I have ever seen.

This year for the first time, I travelled with Sophie, my wonderful intern who will, as I explained in a previous article be contributing to Label Ministry from now on. It is a most gleeful subject that Label Ministry is growing at an incredibly exciting rate and Sophie’s experience in the Australian fashion industry is greatly welcomed and appreciated. She is experienced in fashion public relations and writing as I am sure you will find evident in her article below on Rachel Mills …

Say a big hello!

Jade X

Sophie van den Bogaerde

Sophie van den Bogaerde

Rachel Mills gently set in motion day two of New Zealand Fashion week this Tuesday gone. They are an Auckland-based womenswear label committed to sustainability and the sole use of local manufacturers. The label is based on seeking to “transform the process of getting dressed into a ritual rather than a chore.” Their designs can only be described as gracefully modern and charming, and the Rachel Mills Fashion week session captured this entirely.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

The intimate installation was essentially a room for spectators to walk through, broken up by the blocking of different models against hanging material. It took place in The Studio of the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre, inducing a sense of ease in all of us who, (at first hazily), wandered through the room. The studio itself had high ceilings and a definite industrial sense about it, which made it feel, when set against the installation, like a New York loft apartment or a quiet street when one meandered within it.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

Almost every piece in the collection was simplistic but embellished tastefully with romantic wraps, folds, relaxed fits, clinched-waists and tie details. The colour palette mostly stuck to light-greys, whites, and neutrals, with the occasional delightful pop of lemon or electric blue. The result: A willowy, sophisticated, feminine, effortlessly-cool vibe. The pieces on show largely tailored to smart-casual looks, but could be suitable for any occasion that calls for an understated yet chic beauty.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

The piece that stood out most for me was the ‘Divided Pants’ in Harlequin spot and organic multi check, available now online for pre-order. (IMAGE: Divided Pant.jpg). The pants are split into two different halves: A soft cotton check in pale purple and white, and a silky black and white polka dot. They can be styled to look almost like a wrap maxi-skirt, or just left looking like trousers. I don’t quite understand the mechanics behind the pants and how they transform, but they were very flattering on model Diana Anuenue who sported them styled as a skirt on the day, and something I’m dying to get my hands on.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

 

The room was dimmed, while the beautiful wistful-looking models were lit up against sheer curtains that evoked the feeling of a lazy Sunday morning. Most notable among them was stunning model Raina Masters, who commanded the room with her warm disposition and enthusiasm to quietly work with those photographing her, making for an enjoyable and personable event so different to that of many other installations.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

Cinematic projections played out against the fabric backdrops, with the enchanting live vocals of Lilly Carron weaving a post-breakup mood that was utterly dreamy and captivating. It was as though Lilly’s presence was a ‘final destination’ within the installation, as at first it seemed that the vocals were recorded. Alas- no. Lilly’s voice really was that hauntingly beautiful live, and added the final touch needed to concoct Rachel Mills’ magical session. Lilly Carron is certainly one to keep an eye on for those interested in the music scene looking to support local vocalists as well as local fashion labels.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

The whole thing had me wanting to own and wear every piece on show, while sitting in a cafe, gazing out a window at rainy streets with Lilly’s rendition of Etta James’ ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’ on repeat.

Rachel Mills at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 in Auckland, seen and written about by intern Sophie.

If it was Rachel Mills’ intention to have me wanting to stay a while with a book and a hot cup of tea…

She certainly succeeded.

Rachel Mills | Instagram

Until next time,

Sophie xx

Label Ministry Logo

 

 

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry

Heaven Swimwear

September 20
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

As many of you will already know, in August of this year I travelled to Auckland, New Zealand to work on the Heaven Swimwear show.

As a show producer, fashion editor and stylist I was privileged to bring on board for this event, the beautiful Imogen Anthony who walked for the show. The first time ever that an Australian swimwear label has shown in NZ.

And walk she did.

Like a boss.

And … mustn’t forget the gorgeous boys!

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

This article however is to celebrate the designer behind this ever growing label Heaven who has now stepped in to some very large shoes after the Creative Director of Oz Swim Group, Kristian Chase has decided to concentrate solely on designing the globally acclaimed sister label Aqua Blu.

Enter Stephanie Cunningham …

LM

Stephanie Cunningham started her Fashion Design degree in 2008 at Whitehouse. Starting with sixty in the course, it soon reduced to twenty five. Right from her point of graduation, Stephanie went straight to Hussy as an intern and describes this as most fortuitous as it pushed her into the industry straight away. They produced womens clothing, shoes and accessories. From there she went into a hands-on-role in sampling and designing for a girl who started a formal wear label. From there. she moved across to a label which produced a maternity line. As strange as that seems it gave Stephanie three solid years of well rounded and invaluable experience.  As the fabrics were all stretch it provided Stephanie with the knowledge and all she needed to know about creating fashion “with a bump”. During this time, the label opened a physical store, so Stephanie learned to interact with customers to find out exactly what they wanted.  After that she went to bridal wear, again dealing directly with customers which allowed her to see the design process right through from start to finish.  She then started to design for herself and finally moved across into swimwear.

LM

What is the only aesthetic you haven’t worked on so far?

SC

Probably, denim …

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

In your experience, what does the customer want?

SC

The customer wants “the familiar” but not something that has been done before.  For example, women love the crop top but my job is not just to re-create the crop top.  It is to take the popular item and add fresh, new elements to create a new masterpiece.

In my mind, this is the problem with Instagram brands who churn out the same thing.  I think the design element is missing and does not consider what the customer wants.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What is your opinion of social media?

SC

I love social media and as the same time, I hate social media.

People who follow Instagram closely seem to take so much notice of the influencers but some of the brands saturate Instagram so much with the same material that there is a real pressure for everyone to look the same.

Heaven has strongly pushed the view forward that our customers do not have to look like everyone else.  I think we are helping people to realise that they don’t have to look like they are all the same and that in reality, colour and individuality speak volumes.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

Why do you think people who follow Instagram feel like it’s important to look the same?

SC

I think it’s because of the celebrity culture, and everyone is desperate to fit in.

Slightly older groups have the opinion that they don’t want to be the same, but the younger demographic does not know anything different and therefore, don’t have the confidence to be completely individual.

We are seeing lately a translation of older designs, and the revival culture is huge which really equals a trend. To me, this proves that we are not completely innovating as much as we could, and this is why we try to be as creative as we can at Heaven to fill in those fashion and social gaps.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

What is your opinion of the influencer?

SC

In some ways I think that the influencer is unnecessary due to the the constant saturation of that one person and one general style.

On the other hand, I feel that it can work well, as long as the influencer translates specifically to the brand that they are aligned with.

There is an obsessive tendency around the culture of Instagram and influencers, so I would prefer to see “quality over quantity”. The exposure should be about the brand, not the influencer.

The saturation point has reached an all time high and over exposure can reverse the benefits to a brand.

At Heaven we are extremely careful to research the value of the influencer to make sure that it is right for our brand and not just an avenue to provide the influencer with free content.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What is your opinion of paid posts on Instagram?

SC

In my opinion that would be need to be attached to specific strategy and my feeling is many Instagram brands are fleeting and this is the reason why.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

What do you think about influencers sitting in the FROW at events?

SC

I think the same strategy applies, and for my brand it is important that loyalty for our customers is paramount.

The industry people who attend our shows actually bring something to the event, the industry, the brand and its culture. They are not just there for the selfies.

It is the difference between having a brand that has the real world aspects; bricks and mortar office space, staff, sewing rooms, etc and the desire to be globally successful and recognised. Very different to some of todays “Instagram” brands.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

What keeps the Heaven brand so well patronised and popular is the attention you pay to your customers and quite simply the quality. Would you agree?

SC

Yes. We work hard at those aspects and they have always been at the pinnacle of our brand motivation.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

LM

I was reading an article the other day about the huge problem of things being worn, and then returned in massive numbers via online shopping portals. What is your view about this problem?

SC

I think it comes back to the same old problem that we can’t see, feel and try the garment and therefore our motivation becomes purchasing for the instant adrenalin rush of something new, the Instagram post and the ultimate “like”. It is no longer about the garment, but more so about the moment.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

LM

Where do you see the future of Heaven?

SC

Well, quite literally at the moment? … the sky’s the limit.

LM

Funny about that … it is after all called Heaven 🙂

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

THANKS to:

Model Extraordinaire | Imogen Anthony

Imogen’s Team | JayMillionaires

Photography | Thanks to Fiona Goodall of Getty Images for the photographs.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: A model walks the runway in a design by Heaven Swimwear during the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Check out the beautiful, luxurious garments by Heaven.

Follow them on Instagram.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 28: Model Imogen Anthony prepares backstage ahead of the Swim and Activewear Collective show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 at Viaduct Events Centre on August 28, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Imogen Anthony

Until next time,

Jade xx

 

 

 

 

Australian Designer, Australian Fashion Industry, MBFWA

BACKSTAGE #mbfwa2018

June 14
Backstage at Fashion Design Studio at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney at Carriageworks 2018.

Backstage at Fashion Design Studio at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney at Carriageworks 2018.

Fashion Week is always special. And strangely, always, each and every year, in a different way.

For me, arriving there one year since the last time felt strange.  So much has happened in one year, and quite literally months of my life had been devoted to a very important project, both for myself and for the Australian fashion industry.  Those of you who know me, and now there are many, you will know that that project was none other than the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Runway, held in April of this year. I was thrilled to be able to work with, encourage, and develop the designers with whom I was so closely aligned on this project, as well as developing the concept in this country of working with international big guns who see benefit in fashion collaboration.  This has long been my vision and I hope to see much more of it in the future.

Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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

 

Australian Fashion Industry, Editorial, Events, Fashion Designer

Raffles Graduate Runway 2016

December 12
Model on the runway wearing a white ruffled design by Ruth Read from Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Fashion is no longer just about ‘the garment’ …

Nick Comino

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.

Thankfully …

Enjoy xx

Backstage scene at the Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 at Ambush Gallery.

Backstage | Raffles Graduate Runway 2016 | Photography Jessica Fekonia

We habitually look at fashion as the spectacle and traditionally iconic.

Nick Comino

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”.

Model on the runway wearing a white ruffled design by Ruth Read from Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Ruth Read | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

 

Model on the runway wearing a white ruffled design by Ruth Read from Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Ruth Read | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

 

Model on the runway wearing a white ruffled design by Ruth Read from Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Ruth Read | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

 

Model on the runway wearing a white ruffled design by Ruth Read from Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Ruth Read | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

 

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.

Model on the runway in a striped oversize top with white skirt with geometric pattern at the Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016.

Designer | Alexandra | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016 | | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

 

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.

Hayley Chang | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway | Photography Romualdo Nubla Studio MOR+

Hayley Chang | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway | Photography | Jessica Fekonia

 

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.

Model on the runway wearing a cornflower blue leather dress by emerging designer Alyce Chen.

Alyce Chen | Raffles College of Design Graduate Runway 2016

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.

Jade Cosgrove sitting in Ambush Gallery waiting for the Raffles College of Design graduate runway for emerging designers to start 2016.

Jade Cosgrove | Founder | Label Ministry | Photography | Romualdo Nubla | Studio MOR+ | Raffles Graduate Runway 2016

LOVE US on Facebook   &   FOLLOW US on Instagram

Until next time,

Jade xx

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+ |

StudioMOR+ Facebook | Romualdo Nubla | StudioMOR+ | Instagram

Raffles College of Design |

Raffles College of Design

Designers Featured |

Ruth Read Instagram

Laura Davis | Laura Davis Instagram

Mary Quach Instagram 

Alexandra Uyen Nguyen Instagram

Hayley Kang Instagram

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.