November 2015 marks the launch of Flaunter’s Emerging Designer showcase. This digital showcase is the first of its kind for Australia’s fashion industry.
We're so excited to be able to use the power of our platform to support young designers at the very beginning of their journeys to becoming fashion kingpins.
These are the faces to watch, the future of the Australian fashion industry.
Introducing Kat Walsh, 2015 Graduate, QUT.
F: Why did you choose to study fashion?
KW: I'm interested in the way that clothes allow people to communicate without speaking. Both conscious decisions relating to what you might want to say about yourself and subconscious markers of personality are rich with narrative. I think it all stems from a fascination with people.
F: What’s been the most exciting moment for you to-date?
KW: It's incredibly validating to produce work that other people want to wear, so being approached after the graduate show by people who are as excited about the collection as I am has been my highlight.
F: Who/what do you look to for inspiration?
KW: I find little sparks of inspiration in everything around me but I think I'm most interested in the nature of things. The inherent qualities of an object or material suggest how it wants to be worked with and translated as a garment.
F: What Australian designers do you most admire and why?
KW: I actually most admire my classmates and other emerging design practitioners as they're approaching the industry with such fresh perspectives and passion. Graduate collections are particularly exciting moments as they're full of pure creative expression - you get the first glimpse of what the designers are really about.
F: Who are you designing for - who’s your target market?
KW: I'm designing for people who have an eye for detail. Focusing on cut, quality and creativity, pieces subtly subvert conventions and invite the viewer to take a second look. It follows too, I suppose, that my target market would also feel comfortable within themselves in being a little off-center and subversive - regardless of age or gender. Kindred spirits.
F: What’s been the biggest challenge in getting your collection to this point?
KW: The unexpected hiccups in life that take your focus away from where you imagine it's going to be! I think when considering a final year collection it's important to factor in being human, allowing the collection to change form where it needs to.
F: Tell us what the last 24hrs in your life looked like?
KW: Sleep! Hugging an Italian Greyhound. Sorting through three years worth of patterns. Portfolio design. Research. The third season of Charmed. Catching up with friends. Sketching a summer range in revolt against the heat wave!
Flaunter offers a streamlined platform for brands to upload, organise and track hi res, media-ready content (photos, videos, documents) and an easy-to-access system for media to follow, find, and download it.
Flaunter Emerging is a program established for schools, universities and colleges to support final year and newly graduated fashion design students in building their public profiles and showcasing their work to a large media network.
Introducing Tom Summers, 2015 Graduate, QUT.
TS: I chose to study fashion because I wanted to see a more critical engagement with fashion. Also to encourage a greater interaction and understanding between maker and wearer.
TS: My most exciting moment (although it was a rather long moment) was my semester-long student exchange to The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, Sweden. I got to learn so much more about textiles, and the possibilities available with a variety of textiles, that has really helped to inform my design practice.
TS: Like most creative people I can see inspiration in anything and leaving myself open to that is a really enjoyable part of being a designer. However, there are themes that I continuously return to. For example, I am very interested in the way the brain interprets the information sent from your eye to form a visual perception of the world and how our eyes can lie to us. Colour interactions/colour theory and optical art are also a great source of inspiration to me.
TS: My favourite Australian Designers are Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci from Strateas.Carlucci. I love the aesthetics of their clothes, the thoughtfulness behind their designs and then, maybe most importantly, how they have been able to establish themselves within the Australian fashion landscape without compromising their version of what it means to be an Australian designer.
TS: There is something inherently androgynous about my clothes. It’s never really my intention, but always ends up being that way.
I think the biggest challenge was production scheduling. Making sure the supplies I sourced would come in time, and if they couldn't, finding a local alternative that could arrive quicker or making sure I had enough meterage for fabrics I had printed etc.
F: Tell us what the last 24hrs in your life looked like?
TS: Today was actually quite a relaxing day. I went to acupuncture this morning and then I spent the rest of my day applying for some fashion graduate competitions and then coming home to work on these questions :)
Introducing Kirsten Hughes of Saint, 2015 Graduate, Whitehouse Institute of Design.
KH: We were always creative types, but ended up spending some time working in ‘sensible’ careers after school (Dean in Finance and me in Sales & Marketing). I think we both just reached a point in our mid twenties where we could no longer suppress the creative urges…
F: What’s been your most exciting moment to date?
KH: Probably finding out that we’d been selected to showcase at the country’s largest Sustainable Fashion event, Undress Runways. Our collection was shown in three major cities across Australia, which was a huge deal considering we hadn’t even put together our first commercial collection yet!
F: Who/What do you look to for inspiration?
KH: We’re both really interested in looking for beauty in unexpected places, usually the darker the better.
F: What Australian Designers do you admire and why?
KH: We’re big fans of Strateas.Carlucci, their pieces have an incredibly polished feel to them, inside and out. We also love Kit Willow. Her new label is proof that sustainable fashion can be sleek, elegant and on trend.
F: Who are you designing for? Who’s your target market?
KH: Those who recognise the human and environmental consequences behind what they choose to purchase and wear, but don’t want to have to sacrifice their personal style to be an ethical consumer.
F: Whats the biggest challenge in getting your collection to this point?
KH: We prepare collections for our end of year assessments as individuals but then essentially complete a third collection as Saint. Finding time to meet with each other to sew and design is really difficult. Suffice to say we don’t really sleep much.
F: Tell us what the last 24 hours of your life looked like?
KH: A complete frenzy! We actually had our final graduate parade last night, so there was a lot of last minute pressing, repairs and running around. Seeing our pieces up there on the runway and celebrating with our classmates was incredible though… all those sleepless nights were worth it!
Photo: Natasha Killeen
Introducing Sally Corben, 2015 Graduate, Fashion Design Studio.
Why did you choose to study fashion?
Growing up I was always surrounded by design. My father is an architect and my mother is an interior designer, so I was constantly watching them transform spaces. They would show me a lot of art and talk about colours and proportions. When it came to school I loved textiles and visual arts, so I was naturally pulled in that direction. For a long time I tossed up between makeup artistry and fashion. In the end I loved the whole process involved in creating garments and watching my drawings come to life, so from about age 14 I had my eyes set on The Fashion Design Studio (which at the time was East Sydney Tech.)
What’s been the most exciting moment for you to-date?
I've been through a huge learning curve since starting fashion design, and I think that’s the biggest reward. Just seeing how far I've come from my first days at FDS, in terms of everything from style to organisation! Then finally this year having written my own brief and seeing it all come together. There was definitely a moment when I got my campaign images back from the photographer and I was really happy with how everything turned out. It hit then that I had my own little collection and some work I am really proud of.
Who/what do you look to for inspiration?
I purposely try steer away from fashion inspiration and trends when I start designing. I look at a lot of beauty images, set designs and architecture. Usually when starting out I do what I call a huge 'image drop' of inspiration. I'll gather a couple hundred images that capture the mood I am going for and that really resonate with me. I'll pile them into art diary and from there they will inspire me and help develop my ideas for texture, colour and shape.
What Australian designers do you most admire and why?
I interned with Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales at Romance Was Born for a large a portion of my studies and I really admire what they are doing. I would definitely consider their work to be wearable art, and not just fashion garments. Their attitude towards their work is so inspiring. They are always looking to push the boundaries in one way or another; to create garments that are not just 'on trend' but are also really beautiful pieces of art.
Who are you designing for - who’s your target market?
The Sally Corben woman dresses with flair and carries herself with confidence. She doesn't necessarily follow trends but her intuition and sense of style will always carry her through.
What’s been the biggest challenge in getting your collection to this point?
I've been working with silicone throughout this collection and it’s a completely new material for me so it’s definitely been a learning curve! All my prints have been done completely by hand using palette knives, spoons, hair combs, you name it! So when I'm standing in front of pearly white finished cut pieces and I've got a brush full of black paint in my hand, trusting my intuition and knowing that it will all work out has been important!
Tell us what the last 24hrs in your life looked like?
Oh wow. Well, I'm more of a night owl... I was up until the early hours so the first thing on my mind this morning was coffee! From there I've been at my sewing machine, making final adjustments to garments and doing a touch of hand sewing. Last on my to-do list before I hit the hay is to fix a top where the silicone didn't set properly. Solution 1 was a fail so we're onto solution 2 and this is definitely going to keep me up for a while yet. So here I am again... It's 1am and I am currently sitting on the floor of my garage (where I do all my prints) waiting for silicone to set before my first runway show tomorrow night. Ha!
Photo: Natasha Foster
Introducing Cassandra Wheat of Chorus, current PhD Student, RMIT.
CW: I was one of those clichéd designers that always knew what I wanted to do. There are sketchbooks of collections I designed when I was 10 years old. I am also a perpetual studier; I have my undergraduate from RMIT University with honours, a Masters from Domus Academy in Milan, and am currently undertaking a PhD in fashion back at RMIT. I like the intellectual rigour that studying adds to the practice of designing. Constantly opening up your mind to new theories and concepts makes for a more agile approach. I also teach at RMIT, so I can’t get away from it it seems! Louise my business partner studied Visual Merchandising, also at RMIT, and has worked for many major Australian brands, Mecca and Mimco to name a few. She brings another perspective to Chorus, she has a really keen editing eye and keeps us running!
CW: Working for Viktor and Rolf in Amsterdam was my highlight prior to starting Chorus, but definitely launching the label with Louise. We have known each other since high school and always planned to work together. Every day we get to spend together in the studio is exciting for us.
CW: We take a slightly different approach to the design process, always inviting another creative practitioner in to our process, usually from a different discipline. So I would say our main inspiration comes from working with others.
CW: There are some great accessories designers we love, for their quality but also irreverent approach - Lucy Folk, Aesque, Elke Kramer come to mind.
CW: We are designing for intelligent, creative and open-minded women who have busy lives, therefore need practicality. They have a sense of humour and adventure so desire to dress elegantly and bravely. We like to think of Chorus pieces as elevated work wear.
CW: Louise’s dad advised us when we first started “cash flow is king”, we should have listened!
CW: We are born multi-taskers, between us it includes, swimming, reading, writing, sketching, mothering two beautiful little girls, drinking gin, wrangling spreadsheets, pattern making, sewing and sending each other a million text messages.
Introducing Zoe Efstathis, 2015 Graduate, Whitehouse Institute of Design.
ZE: I chose to study fashion design because growing up my Mum was very into fashion and step-by-step I too became obsessed. First with fashion, and then with sewing and designing. As high school came to a close it became obvious that I was going to world in a creative field and getting into Whitehouse helped make up my mind that fashion design was the course for me. Even though I had to make the move from Brisbane to Sydney it just felt right and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
ZE: Securing a freelance design job with Brisbane label Sabo Skirt would have to be the most exciting moment for me to date. It’s been such a great opportunity to work with the girls and I’ve been able to create a diverse new range of looks for their label over this past year.
ZE: I love to be inspired by culture and travel. The inspiration for my graduate collection was my travel to Greece and Abu Dhabi. I love immersing myself in new places and cultures. I also get inspiration from textile development and love creating ‘something from nothing’.
ZE: One of my favourite Australian designer’s is West-Australian designer Jaime Lee. I love her use of textile development. She is a breath of fresh air in the fashion industry. She has fun and it shows in her collections. I believe if you can’t have a bit of fun with fashion, it’s not worth it!
ZE: I love designing for women like myself. Young, fresh women who love to experiment with their fashion and wear their clothes like a badge of honour. It takes a particular woman to take risks with her fashion choices. I want to create clothing for that woman so she can stand out and make a statement.
ZE: Committing to a single idea was the biggest pressure - I didn’t feel ready! It probably took me six weeks to get to the point where I was finally happy with an idea. During that time I also did a quick trip overseas for my Mum’s birthday, which actually really helped cement the concept.
Introducing Kirsten O’Dowd, 2014 graduate, Melbourne Fashion Masters.
KO: I had always had an interest in fashion and had taken sewing classes in high school and loved them. However I was dubious about trying to make fashion my career…fashion/sewing was my hobby and what if I sucked at it in the real world?! I ended up walking into my very first class and immediately feeling like I was absolutely supposed to be there.
KO: I’ve had a couple of small ‘moments’ but my most memorable was being published in Elements Magazine in January this year. It was my first piece of editorial so it was exciting from that perspective, but mostly because my dad was so proud. It made me happy.
KO: I always look to architecture and interiors for inspiration - a modern minimal vibe. I love simplicity with a point of interest.
KO: I have a top three - haha.
1 - Dion Lee. I have loved watching the evolution of his brand. I remember when he first came onto the fashion scene and just thinking wow, this is so different and exciting. I just think he's a legend.
2 - Josh Goot. I love his aesthetic. He manages to intertwine clean, sharp and minimal with relaxed and totally effortless.
3 - camilla and marc. I have always aspired to reach their level of brand awareness and reputation. When I think of cool Australian fashion, I think camilla and marc.
KO: ODOWD is for women who appreciate affordable luxury and high quality garments. ODOWD is a uniform for day and night and every piece can seamlessly fit into existing wardrobes.
F: What’s been your biggest challenge in getting your collection to this point?
KO: Exposure is a big one. Getting people and women and the industry to stop and take notice. But more than that I think knowing what to do next is challenging. How does the brand continue to grow and evolve in a positive way….?
F: Tell us what the last 24 hours in your life looked like
KO: Ha ok, I got back from the Bellarine Peninsula [VIC] this morning. My parents have a place out there so I love to go there and get away from the city from time to time to clear my head and relax.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun doing some sketching for the upcoming collection. I like to exhaust every idea I have in my mind and get it all down on paper. Bellarine is a great place for that, it’s peaceful and I can just think. Today I’ve been fabric sourcing. I’m loving everything at Davisha at the moment - they have a beautiful selection of wool and I get lost in there for ages just thinking of how I can use different fabric and colour variations. The rest of the afternoon I’ll be matching fabrics to designs and attempting to finalise designs to go into pattern production early next week!
Introducing Ahmad Taufik, 2015 graduate, Fashion Design Studio.
I grew up surrounded by tailors, pattern makers and machinists but never thought that I'd work in the industry. I was always making garments but was never formally ‘taught’ so I decided to apply to FDS and have never looked back.
The close friendships that I have formed throughout my years of study and working alongside such talented people and going through the same eventful processes that they've gone through.
I tend to find inspiration from different sources. It usually starts off from a particular feeling, quote or a thought process and then it evolves from that. I then try and find artwork, textures or colours that relate to the initial influence.
After interning at Christopher Esber and seeing each collection unfold, I admire his tenacity, integrity and hard working attitude.
I design for the individual that seeks out that point of difference. I like to combine the traditional and the contemporary, so the target market is quite universal.
Trying to get the fit and proportion right and making sure each garment is as good as the last. Anyone can do a boxy shape and add a few layers here and there but I want to create garments that can easily translate into a commercial market while also retaining my traditional/contemporary aesthetic.
Photos: Natasha Killeen
Introducing Sofia Moreno-Marcos, 2016 graduate, QUT.
SMM: Actually, fashion was not my first choice. I started with a degree in Translation & Interpreting in Peru and then a Diploma in Community Services here in Australia. However I have always been interested in design and art and I was always a bit frustrated with not finding exactly the clothes I wanted so I would always alter the clothes I bought to my liking.
I didn’t own a sewing machine until 2013, before then all my designs were completely hand stitched (crazy huh!?). So after a year of teaching myself how to sew I decided this [fashion] was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I wanted to do it the proper way, which for me meant getting a higher education. I did my research and chose QUT.
I still keep those hand-sewn skirts for sentimental reasons….
I know the fashion industry is a very competitive one. I can see that first hand as I share the classroom with a very talented group of young designers. However I can say that I have tried a few things in life, have lived in few places in the world, learnt a few languages, made mistakes and also made great decisions - and all that has helped me to be sure of what I want in my life. I know the path is still long and unknown but I am happy to walk it and see what the future brings for Moreno Marcos.
SMM: Oh my goodness! I could name a few. From the moment I got accepted into QUT, to then receiving a scholarship to showcase my designs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with Undress Runways 2015… it was so surreal to see my whole first collection in the catwalk. I'm not going to lie, I was super nervous and I thought I was going to pass out but I got great feedback and those experiences do motivate you to keep going.
SMM: As clichéd as it may sound, the answer is everything! Hard working people inspire me the most. Both of my grandmothers were dressmakers so I guess you could say it kind off runs in my blood. A lot of the time inspiration comes to me in vivid dreams, where I can actually see a design, which I later recreate. I find great inspiration in music, what would you wear to dance to this Spanish or French song for example. I also find inspiration in intense feelings, extreme drama, deep love or despair.
SMM: Romance Was Born is my absolute favourite from the Australian designers. The prints, the details and the fabrics are just a pure clash of perfection – their work seems so effortless but with so much thought in it. It's actually insane how colours and shapes I never knew existed can fit together like in a puzzle and create this whole amazing world that is Romance was Born.
F: Who are you designing for - who is your target market?
SMM: The Moreno Marcos woman is in different places, all the time, every season. She is on the go, she is versatile and she changes with the time, like a chameleon. She is definitely like a time traveller heroine who adapts to whatever life brings to her.
SMM: I think my biggest challenge is usually me! My mind keeps changing and sometimes I overwhelm myself with ideas that eventually settle… but I do love the adrenaline rush.
I also think the financial factor in developing a collection can be hard but I'm up for recycling or up-cycling so I tried to reuse as much old material as possible. I also minimize cutting for zero waste through my draping technique, as you can see in three of the dresses from my latest collection.
SMM: A day in my life when I'm not working starts with a cup of tea, then I start playing with my fabrics in my small studio at home. I rarely sketch, I always drape...that's my life, I wait for fabric to talk to me in a way. I can spend 8 hours straight draping without realizing! My breaks during the day are dedicated to social media or chatting with friends and family overseas - and dancing salsa!
Photo credit: Vulkan Magazine
This is a big, big day for us at Flaunter. We've been bursting at the seams to announce our latest project.
Today marks the launch of our emerging designer showcase - Flaunter Emerging.
This digital showcase is the first of its kind for Australia’s fashion industry.
For media this is an exciting opportunity to access a diverse range of the country’s most talented students in one online location. For the students themselves it presents an opportunity to be noticed on a much broader scale.
The inaugural showcase will feature final year and recently graduated students from RMIT, TAFE Fashion Design Studio, The Whitehouse Institute of Design, Melbourne Fashion Masters and QUT.
“The Bachelor of Fashion program at RMIT is excited to be part of the Flaunter launch to showcase the creative talents of our current and recent graduates. Flaunter’s new digital platform is an impressive springboard to demonstrate why The Business of Fashion ranked RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles in the Top 10 fashion institutes globally." Karen Webster, Deputy Head of School - Fashion and Textiles, RMIT.
An industry panel has also been formed and each member will select their ‘Top 5 Faces to Watch’. These will be announced during the first week of December 2015.
The panel includes: Emma Read (L’Officiel), Chloe Hill (Oyster), Alyx Gorman (The Saturday Paper), Kelly Hume & Emma Freebairn (Sunday Style), Petta Chua (Vogue), Amanda Shadforth (Oracle Fox), Courtney Miller (Australian Fashion Chamber), Nikki Andrews & Anastasia Jarvis (NAC Media) and Alexandra & Genevieve Smart (Ginger & Smart).
In addition, a student from each school will be selected by the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC) to receive one-on-one mentoring with one of the AFC's Designer members.
“This is exactly the type of innovative initiative the AFC is thrilled to support. Flaunter gives students the ability to expand their audience at a critical period – while giving media the opportunity to access the country's new talent all in the one location. ” Courtney Miller, General Manager, Australian Fashion Chamber.
This project is particularly exciting for the team at Flaunter because it allows us to use the power of our platform to support young designers at the very beginning of their journeys to becoming fashion kingpins.
We look forward to introducing you to an impressive range of talented young designers over the coming weeks, months - and years!
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Photo credit: Acne.