For FDS (TAFE) graduate Charlotte Terry, fashion design was an unexpected calling. Leaving her law studies at the Australian National University, Charlotte launched into a journey exploring the psychology behind clothing with a mission to create empowering garments.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
In 2014 I was a law student at the Australian National University and working part-time as a paralegal at a family law firm. While my studies were eye-opening, I found myself doubting whether a law career was the path I wanted to take. I would get really excited whenever I came in contact with musicians, or artists, and I’d always loved clothing. I spent that year studying full time and working in Canberra, while commuting weekly to complete an internship at InStyle magazine in their fashion department, as well directing several large-scale college events and teaching myself to draw.
As I became more immersed in the world of fashion, my motivation to become a designer was undoubtedly inspired by a fascination with the psychology behind why people dress the way they do. In designing, I have always been motivated by how I could potentially create clothing that helped women stand taller, stride more confidently, or just generally feel more bullet-proof.
WHAT WAS THE CONCEPT BEHIND YOUR GRADUATE COLLECTION & YOUR CAMPAIGN IMAGES?
My graduate collection ‘Chrysalis’ AW19, was inspired by the transitional stages of a butterfly’s growth and emergence from the chrysalis. Chrysalis refers to a sheltered state or stage of being, and I was inspired by juxtaposing visual ideas such as the hardness of an armour-like shell, contrasted with an emerging, transforming silhouette; softly unfurling, unravelling and hinting at a final form.
For my graduate lookbook, I decided to keep the shoot real and honest. While the model, Julianne Propsting, is stunningly elegant and composed, I wanted the backdrop clean, but kept the floor of the Marrickville studio uncovered, a little roughened up and a bit paint splattered.
WHO ARE YOU DESIGNING FOR – WHO’S YOUR TARGET MARKET?
My target market is women who adore luxury fashion, appreciate wearing natural fibres and are interested in unique, wearable designs. I hesitate to name a target age bracket as I think fashion now is all about the remix – women of all ages are able to apply their eye to creating stylish outfits from across many brands.
WHAT IS THE FIRST PIECE OF FASHION YOU EVER LOVED OR MADE?
The first piece of fashion I ever loved was definitely one of the incredible gowns from Marchesa’s earlier collections. They were at the forefront of using laser cutting for a fashion application and I remember being awestruck by it.
The first piece of fashion I ever made was a McCall’s Pattern shift dress. I chose the wrong size, and a completely unsuitable fabric. The zipper was wonky, the hem uneven. I wore it with absolute pride.
WHERE WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PLACE TO WORK IN THE FUTURE?
I would absolutely love to work in luxury womenswear, either in Sydney or Melbourne, or a major fashion capital in Western Europe. Rather than a specific brand name being of utmost importance to me, the “dream place” is a workplace that is working towards environmental sustainability and ethical manufacturing, runs on creative energy and sound business practices, and is passionate about creating quality design.
NOW THAT YOU’VE GRADUATED, WHAT’S NEXT?
I’ll be continuing to design and extend my current collection. After a week off, I’m already itching to get the ideas in my head out on to paper and into toiles (test garments).
In the new year, I will be launching a fashion history and analytical platform called The Humble Thread. This will be comprised of free-to-public, well-researched articles on the fashion industry (local and international – past, present, and looking to the future).
NAME YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION IN THE INDUSTRY
Phoebe Philo. What she accomplished at Celine has been hugely inspirational. Her ability to design with foresight as to what women will want before they even know it, and to consistently deliver clothing that is both serious and playful is just awesome.
YOUR BRAND IN 3 WORDS
Confident, authentic and cool.