While we wait for the judges to reveal their favourite designers for Flaunter Emerging 2019, we catch up with a few of last year’s promising designers to find out what they’ve been up to in the last 12 months.
Today we chat to Madison Hislop, a UTS alumni who’s had a huge year since graduation, namely receiving the Carla Zampatti Foundation Design Award, seeing her designs walk the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and winning the Fleece to Fashion New England Woolgrowers Supreme Award for 2019. Now focussed on her Masters of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons School of Design, Madison is set to take on the fashion industry in a big way – and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
2019 has been huge for you! Can you tell us about your year after graduation?
Yes, it has been an incredible year! I really didn’t expect any of it to happen. I look back to last year when I just had my head down focusing on finishing the collection and just trying to make it as strong as I could, I didn’t spend too much time thinking ahead. Looking back now it still doesn’t really feel real! The Carla Zampatti award was such an insightful process. I am so grateful to have learnt from Carla first hand and for the conversations we’ve had. The St George NextGen show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was such a professional event and it gave me a great look at what it means to be a young designer rather than just a design student. The Fleece to Fashion award was an incredibly humbling experience and great opportunity to reflect on the production processes of the industry and the impact you have through your design decisions.
Where are you currently based/working? What does your day to day look like?
I moved to New York in August to begin my Masters of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons School of Design. It is an incredible opportunity and something that I always dreamed of doing. It still feels surreal, getting the subway to school every morning and being in the heart of Manhattan. It’s a lot of work but great to be surrounded by, and learn from, a group of incredibly talented people that come from all over and to see how they think and design differently to me.
Was there a designer or artist who inspired you to become a designer yourself? What led you to enrol at UTS?
I have always loved sewing and design and started to think about my future in about year 10/11. I made a little label then that I used to sell at the Bondi Markets on weekends. For me, that started everything. It made me realize how much I loved design and how great it felt to see other people wearing things I’d made and feeling good in them. Thinking about what has inspired me. I’m reminded of one of the first ‘wow’ moments I had – seeing the J.W Anderson S/S 2014 show online and just being in awe at how delicate it was. There was something so sensitive and subtle about the collection. It really made me want to create clothing that could have a similar effect. That pushed me towards UTS, the course itself, having a textile focus, as well as design, was of huge significance to me, and I have always been eager to push the tactile nature of my work.
What’s the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself at the beginning of your graduate year? Any advice for this year’s cohort that might be nervous about life after uni?
University is the one chance you get to be completely self-indulgent in what you create. You are not necessarily trying to make a commercially viable collection, and you don’t have to worry about costings like you would if running your own brand. In this way, you have complete freedom to do whatever you want. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of that! I think it’s important to remember. Even in the late nights and months without a day off- what an incredible opportunity it is to be creating a collection at a design school where you are surrounded by so many resources; facilities, tutors and mentors to guide you, and take advantage of this!
Do you have a standout moment during your career as a designer?
I’ve had so many incredible experiences in the last year I really don’t know if I could narrow it down to even a few! I guess that main thing that I really love is seeing people wearing my clothes. I just get so much satisfaction when someone puts on something I’ve made and feels beautiful and confident in it.
What was your experience with the Flaunter Emerging Designer Showcase? What was the best thing that you gained from it?
The Flaunter Emerging Designer Showcase was a great opportunity for me to reflect on myself and understand what I was trying to achieve. It was important to get such insightful feedback from the judges about what they found interesting in my work. Then I was able to take the feedback and learn from it.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now I am focusing everything on my MFA. But I am living in the heart of an innovative and creative city and very hopeful for the future!
Name your biggest inspiration in the industry today…
Carla Zampatti of course – continuing to produce exciting and relevant designs for over 50 years is something I aspire to and admire.
Kym Ellery – She’s passionate and determined in her work. It’s really inspiring to see an Aussie doing such great things on an international scale.
Favourite Instagram account that we should be following…
What was the first garment you ever made?
A green and white gingham crop top with buttons from my great grandmother’s collection that I still wear today!
Your brand in 3 words…
Romantic, Feminine, Confidence