When I was in school I used to made scrapbooks with images of clothing and designers that I found intriguing. I always knew I wanted to be part of it.
After school I went to study art which allowed me to develop a strong aesthetic foundation, and thereafter, I studied fashion design. After my studies I knew I needed to intern, to learn the ins-and-outs of the business. I was fortunate enough to work with the brilliant Marianne Fassler (a designer that had featured numerous times in my scrapbooks) for two years. I also entered young designer competitions and sewed wedding dresses after work to earn extra money. After the ELLE Rising Star Competition I met Felicity Spies, owner of Egality boutique, who was keen to stock my clothes. I decided to fully commit to this.
My fine art studies have taught me to engage with your medium. As an artist you learn to express your ideas through a particular medium by learning its characteristics, and also through experimenting. Today I use fabrics in the same way. This is why my clothes aren’t trend inspired, but created purely from what the fabric tells me it wants to become; how it will feel against the skin.
Fashion is not without its challenges though. As a young designer it can be very challenging to generate an income from the world of fashion. One of the helping factors has been the local boutiques that accept small quantities of my garments every month. Designers that can’t afford large scale production, or the rental and staff of their own store, simply don’t have a selling point. I think customers want to buy local, but mostly don’t know where to find it.
My design style has been described as “honest” with a “relaxed characteristic.” I’m inspired by secret shapes, overlapping, overloading and over-enticing the senses. I want my garments to go beyond a mundane life. For my latest collection I opened my wardrobe and asked myself what I would like to see: great trousers, jeans, an interesting jacket, a flattering skirt, a seriously comfortable dress. It’s all about being practical right now. The type of questions I ask myself are: What kind of fabric do I want to feel on my skin? How long will the garment keep.
How can I play with detail and texture to feel excited when I wear it? How can I create it for retail at a price that’s not only for the rich? Most importantly, I explore how I can capture the joy of creating and get involved in the making of each piece.
Each of my collections tell a story. They are created at certain time, in a certain place, in a certain context, so it’s unavoidable for them to not carry some type of narrative.
However, I don’t think that attaching a story or message to your collections adds to its authenticity. A strong collection has its own story and develops its own message – this is the prerequisite for an authentic collection.
My vision for the future is to grow a substantial business that adds a depth and enjoyment to my working day. If you watch certain documentaries on the fashion industry, such as True Cost, that exposes the underbelly of factory production at large, mainstream fashion brands, you will witness how many people in this environment hate every second of their job.
We should all be inspired to create an environment where our day-to-day experiences are enriched and made more meaningful. We should also strive to infuse a sense of value into the products we make within these spaces. Importantly, these values should not be solely measured against the distressing, profit-driven economy that the whole world seems to be caught-up in right now.