Todd Anthony – Melbourne Mecca

A few month ago I was invited by Todd Anthony to his self funded fashion Expo. I had heard great things about Todd Anthony, I was so eager to get more insight and a story behind the designs.

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The show “Hybrid 524′, the invitation stating ‘Be the first to meet some of Melbourne’s most innovative designers showcase their brand new collections’. ‘Get up close and personal’. ‘Opportunity to mingle and share a glass of bubbly’.  How could I refuse!!

On arrival I was greeted and introduced to Todd.  I think I was instantly magnetized.  A super charismatic man with the very personable approach. He stood out for all the right reasons and I was taken aback by his attention to detail, his attentiveness to others and his incredible ease and warmth of character. There were many people there and I wanted to stand back and capture the atmosphere and the energy around him and get a general feel.

I’d been working with an awesome model Sam Carson, I wanted to have him work with Todd on this project, so all was organised setting up a studio in Todd’s apartment.  It was a very exciting creative mix of talent that really worked well, each of us pushed to get the best.

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During our shoot we talked about so many things. I asked him what made him decide to start a career as a fashion designer?

Todd tells me about his career as a professional dancer, ‘Dancing from eight and always feeling  invincible, as I got a little older I felt my body change and realised the impending end to a happy dance career’.  An inevitable life shift faced by all dancers, he knew he needed to do something that had the same combination of creativity and discipline, affirming ‘The only thing I could think of was fashion’. With strong ambition and determination he studies both undergraduate and masters degrees at Whitehouse Institute of Design.  The undergraduate in Sydney and masters in Melbourne.

His career has flourished, lecturing at the Fashion Institute in Melbourne, I wanted to know more about his development, what he teaches and the way he sees fashion eduction today?

‘I teach design’, adding, ‘Illustration and design business looking at brand marketing and such. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. It is a magical thing to do’, saying with great satisfaction, ‘Inspiring others to create is a wonderful privilege’. He is a very amiable person, with a passion to advance others and with this creative and progressive personality he has tutored and nurtured many students, enriching their learning not only with his knowledge of fashion but his life experiences.

Tell me what you see in the students?

‘In the beginning I see fear and uncertainty but day by day I see each student grow in their individual way.’ He finds, ‘At some point throughout their degree a ball will drop or a sparkle of light will come and that’s the moment I think. Ha! that student is now a designer’.   

It must be a very rewarding experience the conception and spark of creativity and seeing unique designs take shape, I ask how do you approach teaching fashion?

He explains that his priority is to give the students contemporary design knowledge without creating baby Todd’s ‘I nurture all aesthetically’ directions.

Back to the Hybrid Event, I  found it interesting that three designers, including Todd, self funded the event. Why?  Private funding?

‘Yes I collaborated with three other creatives all of us producing local and ethical products but all showcasing something different. Yes we funded the event ourselves. We wanted to test this small boutique static trade showcase idea to see how the industry would respond. It was terribly successful so we will do it again’.

 

Do you think that major corporations should be backing the fashion industry?

“YES YES YES so should the Government’. Todd’s eyes rolling, he adds,’ I believe there is sooooo much opportunity within this country for manufacturing of both textiles and products’, ‘Our best graduates leave Australia for the North in order to make their way. There is so much talent so much land so much money to be made. I actually am totally perplexed that finding funding is so difficult’.

For all the contacts I’ve made in this while working on this blog, the general feed back is grim when it comes to funding and support of up and coming designers.  The Council of Textile and Fashion are working hard to push development and growth in the industry forward, but what about corporate funding or even lottery funding (as in the UK).  There must be many schemes that could and should be designed by larger corporates.  I am very eager to know if this is happening? I know that Myer works with RMIT and Cotton On have a student training project, but why have the large corporates not been putting their name to schemes, grants and awards and funding of the Universities and TAFE’s? Getting new grads financial opportunities to take their new enthusiastic energy to the next level. I would very much like to be part of this and feel that the gap needs to be filled.  With the right funding and investment the fashion industry could evolve into a something massive and contend with other business sector economical pullers.

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Can you tell what inspired you to do your own expo?

He answers, “For years I have been lecturing my students to support local suppliers. Manufacture locally and consider ethical and eco design. I wasn’t doing that myself. I felt fraudulent and thought screw this I’m going to show them it can be done. It took me 18 months but I did it.’

Its great to see that the show was a success, I know how hard Todd worked to get that off the ground. It crucial that more financial support is directed for designers fashion expo events.  Todd definitely has the right ideas getting people involved face to face, networking and putting the designer and the business together.

I want to see more events like this and am looking forward to the next one. I will keep you all posted on Todd’s plans. If you know about funding and supporting new up and coming designers, I would be interested.

I asked what do you think about the Melbourne fashion industry?

Reinforcing his view on talent here, he thinks the Melbourne fashion industry is astonishing ,’I’ll tell you why, Designers here do not have access to a lot of new fabrications and technologies that the rest of the world can access so readily. This creates great opportunity for innovation and that’s what Melbourne designers do. They create and innovate because they have to. I call them engineers rather than just designers’.

How do you think the fashion industry here can be pushed into the global market? How do you feel about that?

‘The way fashion or Australian fashion is showcased and promoted needs to change. I love a good fashion week but. Fashion showcases move in trends as does fashion itself. The way in which we promote Australian design needs to be considered carefully and this goes back to the financial support as discussed earlier’.

I think that is so significant, Todd and I see the standard here in Melbourne. Its eco development and growth in innovation is thriving, it’s exciting and the future looks bright, but it still comes back to funding and financial. Lets get things moving before the talent ships off to other countries never to be seen again.

What do you think about Australian fashion to European fashion?

Todd thinks its major difference with Australian fashion to European is that the Australian consumer is far more conservative when it comes to dressing.  ‘Mind you’  he jokes ,”This is a generalisation because at some of the events I beam with smiles at men in sparkles and women in heels so high I get vertigo. But generally Australians are not as adventurous with fashion’.

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So where do you see the Melbourne made fashion in the future? Do you think there is a market place for ‘Melbourne Made’?

Todd feels there are so many strong innovative Melbourne designers again, he mentions that all need a platform in which to promote showcase and sell. ‘Melbourne has the space and the interest’, which is good to know.  He sees that the fashion climate is changing with the big European guys coming in. He wants Australian Designers to innovate again and ‘play the game differently than ever before’. Todd’s view, ‘It will all be about the entire experience for the consumer. Melbourne designers need a story they can share and an experience they can deliver. How wonderful’.

I agree – mainstream, mainstream, mainstream – its time for a shake up – more big business and department stores, not only need to re think their approach to brands, they need to take some risks and get behind independent Melbourne designers. It does sound right and the talent is outstanding here, a change is needed, bring it on!

 

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So when Todd isn’t busy lecturing, he manages to squeeze in the time to design and run a successful fashion business.  Having seen and photographed his garments, I was eager to get more information about his ideas behind his concepts and more about Todd Anthony. I asked him about his designs and inspirations?

‘My designs are inspired by the things I love which are. Japanese flowers, Art Deco furniture and Australian birds’, mentioning,’ I use fine virgin wool and bamboo knits’. Every piece is draped and can be worn numerous ways due to the buckles used as closures. ‘I design for myself, meaning if I wouldn’t wear it it doesn’t get made’.

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You mentioned that you aren’t keen on your designs being labelled ambiguous? How would you describe your work?

Todd’s clothes are menswear, explaining, ‘By having a soft aesthetic myself, lots of women showed interest in what I was doing’. He makes it clear that, ‘It’s not unisex that makes me think of women dressing masculine nor is it’s androgynous because that makes me think of boys dressing feminine, so I call it non binary. My designs don’t seem to favour masculine or feminine they just are’.

The designs flow around the body.  The fabric choice works, giving a soft and tactile appearance.  Some of the clothes are almost seamless, just hanging.  The clothes can be dressed up and down allowing a versatile and modern style.

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You have done a lot in your life? What are your future ambitions?

He answered, ‘It sounds naff but I don’t make long term goals. As a dancer I learned that once you achieve a goal as wonderful as it is you feel instant terror. Where now? It’s done and now I’m lost. The goal is simply to keep going and to enjoy the process as I move forward. To be happy with my work true to my braving and ethos and to inspire change in the consumers mind to embrace and support local design’.

Who inspires you in life ? His response, My mother and father. They see the real me and do nothing but love me’. This is so evident when you meet Todd, a strong image with self confident and positive persona. I’d say beautiful, not just in appearance, but all his soul.

Who are you inspirations in fashion? I love Todd’s answers,’I miss Joan Rivers. Lol. I know I know but she did inspire me. She said “anyone who takes fashion too seriously is an idiot” whenever I overthink or if I am having difficulty in trusting myself or even worse if I start to doubt my work I think of that quote’.

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For a very ambitious man a question that need to be asked – Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

His answer, ‘Working from my little farm in the middle of nowhere in my onsie, with my laptop, living off the grid developing new and better design that is transparent ethical sustainable and local’.  Love it ! A perfect way to go!

I had the best time working with Todd, British born, he hasn’t forgotten his British sense of humour. Living here most of his life, He’s a true success!

Thank you for the jokes, sarcasm and fab stories x

Thanks to Sam Carson for his awesome work and the lovely Matthew Saint Clair for your fantastic make up and hair work xx

Find Todd Anthony on Info@toddanthony.design www.toddanthony.design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MNDATORY

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Brian Huynh is a cool and unassuming menswear designer, based in Melbourne. I ran into him in the Curated Pop Up.  His collection is made with lovely wools, cottons and Japanese tempiboshi treated cotton.  The smooth simplistic cuts and quality of his suits and jackets got my attention.

 

Brian studied at the Whitehouse Institute of Design here in Melbourne.  Was it his ambition to be a designer?  ‘No’ was the answer, he tells me, ‘I was convinced I wanted to be an Optometrist’. After one year of studying  at the University of Melbourne he soon realised that it wasn’t his vocation and decided to use his natural creative ability, also  coming from a line of sewers, it didn’t take long to find his calling, clearly he’s never looked back.

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On asking him what inspired him to go it alone in business?

His reply ,’I think as with any creative process, there’s always an extension of self, so I think it was really important for me to have autonomy in my design and delivery’.  Brian  radiates an uncomplicated confidents, very conscientious and calm in his approach to life and work.

 

He tells me more about MNDATORY’s philosophy, ‘It was born from the idea that classic menswear has always been utilitarian in its approach – designed not for fashion or trend, but for function. Because of this, I found that many historical garments still form much of today’s modern male wardrobe’. Brian adds, ‘ Iconic garments like a Bomber Jacket, whilst often updated and reinterpreted, are by and large reiterations of well-known themes. So, whilst the originals set benchmarks for all subsequent versions of their kind, our focus at MNDATORY is to innovate on the recognisable’.

 

Brian finishes by saying, ‘MNDATORY is really for the modern man – a self-taught, well-versed, innovator’. His brand remains as a classic aesthetic that empowers customers to wear garments in their own individual way.

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How do you come up with the ideas of each collection? Is there a specific process?

He starts each collection, designing and prepping a ‘concept board’, beginning with a compilation of colour palettes and then draws inspiration and mood into the collection.  It is a different method that steers away from the traditional mood board approach.

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Tell me where you source your fabrics?

His fabrics are  sourced either locally here in Melbourne, or if offshore adding  ‘there’s a heavy focus on artisanal Japanese cloths’. The selection and flow of fabric is a key fundamental requirement for the constuction and form of each garment.

 

Brian takes a philosophical view on life, having a strong aptitude, ingenuity and a constructive energy which resinates in the productivity.  He is strongly influenced by ‘Louis Kahn’ a highly regarded architect of our time who strongly believed materials had  a sense of their own destiny in a project’. Brian explains this theory, ‘It’s all about honouring the materials you use and allowing them to express themselves’. Brian works his initially,  constructing and designing his created thoughts led by the fabrics themselves. He tells me,’I work backwards in a way, beginning by sourcing the fabric and allowing the fabric to inform the design of the garment’, adding, ‘It’s fundamentally a process of self-actualisation’.

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I wanted to know about his key influences in his life?  He tells me, ‘My own story to tell’, but mainly influence his fiancée, ‘The reason why I went into fashion’.

So what drives the man behind MNDATORY?  His answers, ‘Self-actualisation’, informing me about Abraham Maslow, another noted philosopher, with his work  “A Theory of Human Motivation” (worth looking up). He adds, “The desire to become more and more 20171009_1493what one is”.  It’s a very admirable way to go about life, the constant striving for self perfection in all elements of life.  This constantly challenging and progressive creative formula has push MNDATORY to acquiring a notoriety in the Melbourne fashion scene.

 

I ask about the inspirations in fashion business ?

He mentions three major fashion players, firstly, Jean Touitou, the founder of  the very successful A.C.P. the creator of the ‘life style concept’ store and cool ‘prêt-á-porter’ fashion. Touitou pulls collaborators, working creativity to develop strong and continuous brands, avoiding the ‘trends’ and fast fashion.  A very successful business that as run for 30 years, with Touitou at the helm making a substantial influences in fashion market place today.

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Brian continues talking about another philosophical, entrepreneurial fashion designer and Empire creator, Ramdane Touhami, then Paul Harnden, a super talented designer, using stunning fabrics and cool clean tailoring, (Love his shoes and clothes, worth a look). All very highly focused individuals, talented in many ways, with defined quality to grow, develop and learn in a creative business fashion.

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Is this going to be MNDATORY concept here in Melbourne?

He examples ‘We’re currently also in the process of finding a location for a permanent flagship – a joint venture with local labels Scott Benedictine and A.BCH. Watch this space’.

I think this is awesome news, having met this super trio of fashion design talents, I am very exciting and will follow their progress.

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To close the interview, I asked about future plans?

‘A runway is definitely on the cards’. MNDATORY will continue running more pop-ups in 2017, working in conjunction with the Council of Textile & Fashion.

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I asked him where he sees himself in 10 years?

“Learning’, was his response.

I very much enjoyed meeting Brian an understanding more about his point of view of the world, fashion, business and creativity. With this knowledge I can safely say how this business and designer will be a great success.

Please check out the website to see all the range and the ‘Made-To-Measure’ tailoring service!

https://www.mndatory.com

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I want to thanks MNDATORY for allowing photograph a beautiful collection. It was great fun working Sam Carson, a cool up and coming model. It was great fun working together on this project.

Thanks again x

Male Model Portfolio – Sam Carson

I spotted Sam on the train. I gave him my card, explained briefly about my photography and blog and; that was that. I was delighted when he got back to me. We arranged a meeting and started to plan his portfolio. Sam has a very unique look that sets him apart from other models. This contemporary appearance and strong attitude he carries is perfect for editorial work. I’m not sure if Australia is ready for him, but I’m hoping that attitudes change and more mainstream designers take on this new look, which is found more in European and Asian markets. I would like to see Sam break the mould and set a new presence for male models here in Melbourne. Onwards and upwards!

The images presented are for our first photoshoot and the beginning of his portfolio. While we worked I asked him if he’d ever considered modelling before?

‘I only started thinking about it more seriously this year because it seemed more realistic to me’.  Sam is at still at school and concentrating on his studies, wanting to study Film and TV Media Courses at University.  His sights are firmly on the future, and he is out there making connections with people in the industry.  He adds, ‘Through studying photography, I kind of naturally became more interested in the modelling side of things too’.

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Sam had never modeled before, but as a photographer he understood light and composition. We made a good team. It was clear that from the first shot how good he was, clearly photogenic, he followed direction and overall the shoot was very productive. He is a very intelligent young man and is definitely going to make his mark.

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We chatted about Bill Eggleston and how amazing it is to see and grasp the gravity of talent by such an accomplished photographer.  We talked about the craftsmanship of darkroom and large colour print development, we covered camera techniques and Sam explained about photographer Phillip Lorca diCorcia, and his Hustlers, the series; definitely worth a look.  I could see these influences in Sam and his psyche.  These inspirations are what make models standout, this substance and depth is key to a successful modelling career, models needs to switch into roles and translate this energy on set.

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I asked him about his inspirations in fashion?

‘In fashion and any kind of art, I’m most inspired by something that changes my perspective on something. If an outfit makes you rethink how you see things, it’s really exciting’. Sam is not openly rebellious, maybe demur, he his refreshing and needed in the industry today.  He adds,’I love being around new and interesting people because it means I’m always learning, becoming a better person’.

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So where is this guy going to be in 10 years?

‘I hope to hell that by the time I’m 27 I am established and successful enough that if I have a creative idea that I can express it without limitations’. He tells me that he finds that, especially with film, it takes so much collaboration, so many expenses that as a young creative it’s not always possible to express your ideas in a way that is most complimentary to the original concept.

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He jokes ‘I hopes that the future some idiot with a lot of money can trust me enough to let me go out and make a big budget film my way’. I feel Sam is pursuing his dreams and modelling is a great introduction in to the arts.  If he gets his face around and starts working editorials and is open to travel, he could easily finance and create his own film production business one day.  The future is bright!

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I really enjoyed meeting Sam. Each time we’ve worked together I see him grow and take on a new confidence.  With his cool demeanour and  his progressive liberal approach to life,  he’s got an exciting  future.

Look out for my next fashion Editorial with Sam Carson and ‘Mndatory’  An amazing Melbourne based Menswear Designer: https://www.mndatory.com/pages/about-us 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BonVoyage – Melbourne to New York City Girl

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Jimmy Dean Street Style, Natalie is the girl who can do boy so well.

Natalie Deely is on her way to New York City, probably landing at JFK as I post this article.  I met Natalie a year ago.  I was out photographing when she walked by.  She is so striking in appearance, with a super cool demeanour . Happy and unpretentious and definitely a no drama girl, a very mature person for her age and a very pragmatic approach to life, she really makes her presence felt. I gave her my card and the rest, as they say is history.

Natalie agreed to work with me on the first shoot for GetYAfashON.  It was her first pro-shoot, although nervous, she really switched it on and was great.  She made the shoot easy and worked so hard following direction and together we achieved some great photographs.  I published ‘The Making of A model’ in September 2016 since then Natalie has worked with some great photographers in Melbourne and has fronted various modelling campaigns.

We had the chance to work on a few project together making a massive contribution to GetYAfashON.  Together we have developed our skills, grown creatively and had some good times.

 

 

I wanted to get my last photoshoot with her, so we arranged to meet in Richmond, where I had located a good urban space. I instructed Natalie to wear a boys suit, the rest was up to her.  It was typical Melbourne weather and the light was changeable, so between showers we got to it.  It was easy and fun.  I am really going to miss working with Natalie.  She has a tremendous energy and no fear.  I know she will go far.

I wanted Natalie to go to New York.  I feel her look and energy would be more commercial there.  She’s got so much to give, she is so young and gifted in many ways. She needs to be discovered in the northern hemisphere.  The world needs to meet Natalie Deely.

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Natalie and I are going to continue working together. Obviously I can’t get the photos, in person, (not yet, I’m working on it) so Natalie will create an image of her journey and I will put together an interview updating her progress. Very excited.

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So Miss Natalie D get ready to take a BITE out of the Big Apple and rock NYCity.

Zoe xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rags To Runway

I was very excited to be invited to the Kangan Institute Fashion Events – Rags to Runway – Kinship. This event is a culmination of the Kangan Fashion students and the Australian Red Cross working together to create and educate people about the issues on the shocking situation of the mass production of clothing and wastage. The aim of this exciting union is to address, inform and give a constructive obtainable solution towards sustainability in the fashion industry.  The students showed their skills and training by producing brilliant collections made with pre-loved Australian Red Cross Op shop clothing.

If you are unaware of the global issues we face here are some facts so we are on the same page.  It is estimated that in Australia alone, we send 85% of textiles to landfill.  It’s the man made synthetics, plastics and non bio-degradable fibres that are scary.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  The mass production of garments happens to be the second worst polluter in the world, the first being oil, so says the Danish Fashion Institute’s 2013 study. The amount of chemicals used to produce fabrics, including dyes and insecticide (use for cotton) is huge and the list goes on. Its all pumped out into the environment. We are all part of the fashion supply chain and we need to re-think our situation. The Kangan Students clearly are leading the way, crafting old to new and producing ingenious creations.  These talented designers are turning things around, led by the educators who’s mission it is to capture the imagination of the future generations of designers and instilling ecological and sustainable ethics.

The night was the most exciting of the week for me. The buzz and energy was great.  I was allowed to photograph behind the scenes. The organisers, models, designers, make up and press where all milling around in a tiny space. It was well coordinated, and from the schedule list, everything ran to plan.

 

The lights kicked in and the music pumped, the models began the show.  Two female models appeared with Alex Van Os, cool celebrity Eco-stylist. They walked the catwalk with beautiful pieces.  Two by two, more models appeared strutting their stuff to the beat, each outfit constructed from various fabrics types and textures. It was great to see the crowd relish each concept piece. Definitely ‘selfies-central’ as the designers and models  enjoyed some well deserved attention.  The atmosphere was fun, optimist and happy.  A Pop Up Shop with a selection from each designers was present, giving us the chance to get close up and appreciate the workmanship and a good buying opportunity to raise money for this amazing charity.

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While I was there, I got an opportunity to get a few quick words with Alex Van Os, Red Cross Ambassador and super ‘Op Shop’ stylist. This is a girl after my own heart. I am the ‘Op Shop’ Queen. I love the pre-loved culture here in Australia. Its guilt free shopping, all for a good cause. Alex is an accomplished business women out there encouraging people to visit Op shops by the coach load. Adding to her credentials,  she’s styled major celebrities and working on various campaigns such with the Red Cross.  She is very passionate about this collaboration with the Kangan Institute. She loves the way the students have thought out of the box and created such cool fashion. Please check put her http://www.redcross.org.au/ambassadors-alex-van-os.aspx .

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Amongst these up and coming designers I bumped into the lovely Harry Millward, Award winning Kangan ‘Inspirational Student in 2016’.  I met Harry nearly a year ago. He’s a great designer, adept in all aspects of fashion, creative and fun, I’ve watched him take risks and explore new projects over the year.  He’s ambitious, intelligent and being  one of the nicest guys in the business he’s really set to go places. We should all keep an eye on him.  https://www.harrymillward.com/home/

I have met and covered a lot of designers in Melbourne, who are keen to change and innovate the fashion scene.  It’s been a very educational and rewarding experience. I am hearing ‘Reduce, recycle and reuse’ banded about. This theory that must become a reality.  Several major designers, including Vivienne Westwood, are taking a stance and embarking on ethical fashion projects.  Inevitably the major fashion houses need to pick up and carry the torch, and the mainstream stores need to restructure, and re-consider their business strategy, turning their brands in to a more productive, sustainable and ecologically sound business model.  These new trained designers will carry skills that will enhance and advance the fashion industry, taking fashion into a new healthy productive and inspiring realm.

I would like to thank Vicki Nicola – Lead Fashion Educator for inviting me to the show and David Clay and the Marketing and Events Management Team for all your assistance, and of course the models and designers.  I will be following these Guys. I can’t wait to see how they develop their skills and knowledge in the world of eco-fashion.

Watch this space – these designers  are the future. I hope they craft their way to the best roles in Fashion.

Chi Cao, Bridie Riordan, Karunatilaka Nyana, Dai Sanders, Lisa Engelhardt, Tiffany Khaing,Vu Dang,Krittika Sillapasomak, Kristina Salunga, Adele Merlo, Jenny Ann Copeland, Megan Taylor, Hoda Mohamad, Uni Rasmi, Samen Kim, Ping Zhao, Fernanda Andrade Ramos, Annha Vie Namokot, Maelle Moreau, Harry Millward, Ingrid Ariza, Nada Allsop, Rachel Jory, Lydney Kirkham, Jen Huffer, Yeirin Ju, Elizabeth Agok, Ashley Vola, Jessica Lawrence, Nayana Nilmini, Vivianne (Kwacha) Luka.

The future is shining bright.

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Creative Collection Exhibition – Melbourne’s bright sparks.

Held in Melbourne Town Hall’s Swanston Hall over the fashion week, this is an opportunity to view up and coming artists, designers and creatives. An inspiring view of art in a cool space. An installation, designed as a maze.  Walk round and a look through the peep holes into an artist ‘a mind.

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If you get the chance visit this interesting  and inspiring space.  The clothes are beautiful and so very well thought out. Incredible ideas – support these incredible talents.

Enjoy a drink and sit back, enjoy the DJ and watch the culture.

Awesome x

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Dior at The NGV

 

The Dior Exhibition is worth a visit.  It is a great opportunity to see the different eras of Dior and a selection of  innovative designers who helped evolve fashion since opening in 1946.  The show represents garments by Christian Dior ,Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Boham, Gianfranco Ferre and Raf Simms and the current day Artistic Director Maria Graziz Chiuri.

Dior opened the World’s mind to a new elegance and chic look.  He famously created a beautifully structured feminine silhouette with a slim waist and curves to die for.  He was resourceful and creative using incredible fabrics, cutting and designing flowing, show-stopping gowns and accessories.

Go and see the chandeliers and graceful stairways, emulating the Dior Salon,  walk amongst the 140 garments and meet the Dior Atelier seamstresses and listen to their stories, watch them craft and structure fabrics. It’s a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the workmanship and skill that makes Haute Couture so special.

Although it is hard to choose a favourite, for me I loved seeing Yves Saint Laurent’s work. I have to say I was so inspired by his designs and how rebellious he was to change the old silhouettes of Dior, taking away the structure of the iconic Dior shape and reinventing a new silhouette,  creating the more free 60’s styles.  He really rocked the House of Dior in many ways and shocked the conservative french audience. Very risqué ! (I’ve always loved the rebel) In my opinion his work is shear elegance, ‘sleek lines and cool flowing style’.  This creative ability embodies his whole career, making his own name one of the most sort after commodities  in the fashion world and creating some of the most influential and iconic changes in fashion.

I’m a big fan of Galliano, since he left St Martins he worked hard growing and developing his unique talent and his eye for perfection and tailoring and then he got his moment. .’L’enfant Terrible’ really turned the Dior Empire round in the 1990’s, refreshing the fashion industry and putting glamour back on the map.  His reign at Dior, gave him the chance to work and push the edges of an already globally established business.  In my opinion, he took the original shapes, styles and energy of Christian Dior work and added is own take, throwing in his ancestry and creating incredible collections during his time there. In my eyes I would say, he made obviously stunning, well constructed pieces, that are exaggerated and extravagant and beautiful in every way. He has an incredible knowledge of fabric, form and design, taking  his chance with Dior allowed him to conquer the world for a while.

I have invited some local Melbourne creatives to give their opinions of the show.

VINCENT LI

Director and Designer (http://www.vincentli.com.au)

Overall, I think it is a beautiful presentation of Dior House through its history. It is always great to bring them especially in Australia at the beautiful NGV. It does show a range of products of Dior, from couture, perfume, shoes, and hats. Also, the representatives of the actual makers of Dior Couture and the display of toiles provide great insights and the interaction. The visual display of Dior Couture Runway shows the movements of the garments. The merchandising products of the Dior exhibition are nice souvenir memories for the visitors’.

‘By comparison to the other three from Dior exhibitions (1. In Bendigo (Focus on 1950s); 2. Shanghai (very comprehensive); 3. Shanghai (Miss Dior + 6 Female Chinese Artists) that I visited previous, the NGV Dior is not comprehensive enough, and also does not some of the key pieces (I think). After you finish the first room (1950s), in the second space, it mixed the pieces from all different years. I don’t really like it so much. I wish it could continue the direction of the room by room in different period or styles. Also, there are not enough displays of toile pieces. In shanghai Dior exhibition, there is a full room of toiles from the floor to the ceiling. Also, the visitor can get the hand-made ribbon wraps onto the perfume bottle from the actual markers. In additional, I would prefer to display the Dior Campaign films through each period on the big screen rather than the runway’.

However, it is still a beautiful experience to see fashion in the gallery, because fashion could be a form of arts besides the commerce. We need more these opportunities for Australian to appreciate Fashion’.

Cameron James Dixon – Cameron & James Designer (http://www.cameronandjames.com)

‘The layout of the Dior exhibition was executed excellently. Attention to detail in each section of the exhibition made you feel like you were right there in the atelier. I did however feel like it was quite compacted and that the exhibition really could’ve been longer seeing as it was supposed to represent 70 years of Dior. In comparison to other exhibitions the NGV has done, this one wasn’t entirely my favourite’.

‘The clothing at the Dior was of course phenomenal. The house of Dior produces some of the most amazing pieces of couture. It was a great opportunity to get up close and really see the work and craftmanship that goes into each piece of artwork’.

Going on the night I went, it was hard to stop really and get a chance to read everything. The people I went with said they felt there wasn’t enough information but I’m planning on going back a second time to go and have a proper look. Hopefully I’ll get the audio tour and that will have a lot more information’.

‘By far the best thing of the entire exhibition was being able to get up close & personal with the ladies from the Dior atelier. Being able to watch them at work and ask them questions about the process was really inspiring’.

“The one thing I didn’t like about the exhibition was the multi-level section in the second room of the exhibition.  I felt uncomfortable & overwhelmed.  I’m not sure if it was that it was crowded and hard to get around, or that some of the pieces were hard to see. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t like it’.

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Natalie Deely – Model 

‘I love how the garments were presented like works of art, complete with a few sentences on the designer and influences. The exhibition flowed very cohesively, building from the ground up. My favourite part of the exhibition was the floor to ceiling screen playing footage from runway shows as a backdrop to the garments. The clothes were absolutely breathtaking – even just on mannequins, they drew such a strong presence. It was such a great experience to see this exhibition – it gave such a great insight into the house of Dior, and answered so many questions I didn’t even know I had’.

Thanks you to Vincent Li, Cameron James Dixon and Natalie Deely for sharing their thoughts x
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Melbourne Fashion Week 2017 – Opening Night

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The light flashed up and the music boomed – a very dramatic start at the Emporium Fashion Show. Atmospheric is the word as the models strutted past.  The catwalk was set up on Little Bourke Street, between Myer, David Jones and Emporium. The lighting and layout was great and the models had a good run.  The layout for the general public or should I say the by passes, made it crowded and too busy.  Not the best view for all, but there were scenes.

It was fascinating watching the crowd warm up for the event ,watching row upon row of  smartphones appear as the first model stepped on to the catwalk,  All phones flashing, recording and sharing as people work their social media.  I look at many fashion shows through my view finder, that’s my job.  I’m finding it funny that the world seems to be absorbing information second hand through the faces of their phones, even when they are present at the event.  Are people really paying attention to the point of the show?

 

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The DJ banging out some cool tunes, the models looked cool and the clothes were good.  I particularly loved the white suits, so elegantly worn by Ajak Deng, below.  There was quite an array of spring/summer outfits from the Emporium Melbourne designers  – ‘bo-ho’ to sleek lines, mens and womens wear, plain colours with splashes of colour, black and white mixed with detail and texture, quite the mix. The models looked amazingly styled and performed seamlessly.

The Melbourne Fashion Week this year is making more emphasis in diversity, encouraging different cultures, skin colours and sizes.  I hope over the MFW we get to see aboriginal models.

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It was fun and after a glass of champagne and a little shopping stint with my partner in crime, Miss Natalie Deely, we headed towards ‘Curated’ in St Collins Lane to see some new emerging designers.  I had a quick catch up with Vincent Li, Harry Millward and Jude Ng.  We had a very nice G&T with Four Pillars Gin, we then headed on to the NGV to see the Dior Show.  Wait for my next article – Dior at the NGV.  I have asked some Melbourne Designers to add their point of view of the show.  Exciting x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Educators Point of View

Deborah Pratt Academic Course Manager School of Higher Education, Box Hill Institute

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I met Debbie at the 3rd year graduates fashion show at Boxhill Institute. I was really eager to learn more about her views on fashion education here in Melbourne and the future for Australian fashion.

To start with I asked about her background. After studying at RMIT, Debbie began her career in the fashion industry as an Assistant Designer at Clothing Company (Womenswear Brand), studying at RMIT. I asked her what made her decide to teach? She answers with ‘Education was my long-term career plan’. Inspired by her parents, whom both worked in education, adding ‘After 20 years plus in the commercial fashion industry, I decided it would be great give back and share my knowledge’.

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I wanted to know if she has seen any changes in fashion/retail courses over then last 10 years?

She tells me that the traditional subject matter for Fashion Design Courses has not changed significantly, designing, pattern making and garment construction are still fundamental learning requirements, acknowledging ‘Education institutions need to evolve”.

Debbie wants the courses to reflect the modern fashion industry today, including more emphasis in technology and business acumen. Students need to grasp at the new wave of fashion, the social media, marketing and the speed of production which has had a seismic shift in fashion over the last 10 years.

She tells me  ‘We have experienced an increase in fashion merchandising courses, which has more of a focus on the retail industry’, adding, ‘there are more opportunities for fashion graduates as retailers have now moved to vertical operations’.

Both myself and Debbie feel there is a gap in the structure of retails and training. Major players, Myer, David Jones, Target and the larger brands should, if they don’t already, adopt a system used in the UK, where major retailers across the UK work closely with universities creating annual programs for students suited to their courses. This Inevitably allows the retailers to develop and train the future generations and giving the students opportunity to experience and advance their skills in a working environment.
Definitely food for thought, retail needs structure to advance and flow a more efficient workforce, encourage a good work place and in the long run creating effective and economically beneficial opportunities for business growth.

Following on from discussing internship and work experience programs, I asked Debbie what other things need to change to progress the fashion industry though education? She tells me that she wants to see more of a focus on innovation whether it be design processes or new digital technologies.

I know that this is starting to take shape and the process has begun – Telstra is already working with RMIT, La Trobe, University of Melbourne and ACU introducing groundbreaking communications technology, enabling more efficient ways to collaborate on ideas where distance or remote locations and even different countries are not a problem. Telstra is launching a significant strategy for Education for improved eLearning technologies centered around Microsoft cloud services and video conferencing hardware like the Surface Hub. GetYAfashOn was also introduced to Microsoft HoloLens which is an Augmented Reality/Mixed Realtity hardware solution for virtual development. This technology is being rapidly adopted by the Universities and GetYAFashOn will be helping to develop apps and software for HoloLens in fashion. It is necessary to get this technology to TAFE Colleges and high schools to help pioneer and strength creative paths and skills for students.

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I asked her about her thoughts of the future of Fashion in Australia?

Her views strongly back the emerging design community. She tells me, ‘Australia is flooded by mainstream brands and we need to ensure that the consumer is getting a point of difference’, saying, ‘There should be more of a focus on sustainable and ethical practices in all aspects of the industry, so we can all ensure the preservation of the environment. for the future’, adding, ‘I think this conversation will become more important to consumers in the future’.

It is slowing happening, a small, but significant global movement is building, all aiming toward a better and more respectful approach to the industry. Many small designers and even global designers, such a Stella Mcartney are pushing this ideal forward. It’s refreshing and innovative and we certainly should open our eyes.  In my opinion, we are at a crossroads, we must change our attitudes to the industry. We need to learn that there is a need for better eco friendly materials, products and designs. Some of the main players, the big stores should work with the government to improve the standards of the development and manufacturing of material and the people creating them.

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We talked about ‘fast fashion’ and what effects it is having on the fashion industry.
It is clearly having an enormous effect on the worlds resources, not only with materials, land space, fuel consumption, but the human cost. Debbie says, ‘The speed and turnover of production is massive’. ‘Clothes literally fall of the catwalks, straight into the customers’ wardrobes. High street shops and designers are manufacturing lines of clothes in shorter cycles and putting them rapidly into the mainstream.  We have adopted a savoir-faire approach to buying whatever we want when we what. This damaging attitude is draining the creativity of our designers and flattening any future talent before they’ve even got started. I agree that it was a revelation to buy off the peg clothing, it brought fashion to the masses, all good, but now there is such a loss of standards, good fabrics and in some cases the principle of style.

Closing our interview I asked what she would do to improve the coverage of up and coming designers in Melbourne?

She began by saying what an amazing role ‘The Council of textile and Fashion’ are playing in the supporting and mentoring of emerging designers here with their ‘Curated’, program giving designers the space to promote their brands to consumers. Debbie reiterates,’ We need greater governmental support though grants or sponsorships and mentoring programs to help young designers get started in the industry’.

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Things need to change and more corporations and business collectives are needed in the forefront, funding, developing and investing in the future of fashion here in Melbourne. The education system is crying out for private sector investments.  There is a massive opportunity for major corporations to capitalise and put their names to some incredible  up and coming talents, taking fashion and retail graduates to the next level.

Many thanks to Debbie Pratt and Boxhill Institute for this opportunity to collaborate.

The Man Behind Scott Benedictine

Scott Benedictine is making a few waves with in the Melbourne fashion scene. I got the chance to see the recent collection at the Curated – Pop Ups in Melbourne Emporium and St Collins Lane, where I came across the creator, the man himself!

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Warren Harrison is a man of contemplation, warmth and fortitude.  He is someone with strong discipline and ambitions.  He is self-taught; working hard to develop and hone his craft. Originally from NSW, he spent some years working abroad, including a year studying at St Martins in London, returning to Melbourne.  His first job on his return was working in a sewing room, realising how skilled he was he decided to set up his own business in 2015.

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Warren’s main principle is to produce a label with a conscience. To create collections that capture and enhance the wisdom of pattern cutting, style and finesse all with a focus on social and economic approach.  He proudly utilises end of line roles, cut offs or ‘dead stock’ of the best fabric. His  main objective; ‘Is to create something beautiful, something special like William Morris’.  With such an inspirational talent as William Morris it motivates me to find out more depth to this spirited individual.

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Creatively diverse, he is man with a lot of methods in his work, what about his inspirations?

Warren begins telling me about a few innovative designers, firstly, the designer and academic, Julian Roberts. He explains, ‘Julian Roberts has developed a unique and contemporary pattern cutting technique called subtraction pattern’. ‘This is a fascinating method that can be used to create volume and dimension to a garment’ adding ‘It involves the folding and cutting away of fabric instead of adding’.  ‘Julian Roberts’s quote clearly puts this technique into perspective,“Subtraction cutting is DESIGNING WITH PATTERNS, rather than creating patterns with designs”.’ It is worth looking at Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons) and Yohji Yamamoto to see these masters of fashion design out these abstract theories  into practice.

He mentions tunnel cutting and other techniques, commenting on Shingo Sato, an incredible designer who’s techniques can only be described in my opinion, as turning fabric in to paper and producing origami folded and constructed garments. Very impressive! Warren also adds, Rickard Lindqvist to his list.  This designer’s an author of Kinetic Garment Construction’  Lindqvist’s cutting methods uses a number of starting points on the body giving a place where fabric sits and hangs, allowing the fabric to drape while the wearer’s arms and legs move freely. Please look up Rickard Lindqvist  for more information; http://atacac.com

He tells me how much he enjoys the challenge of creating something from a sheet of fabric and bringing it to life, ‘I want people to change their views of how clothes are structured’. Giving examples ‘We think, top, bottom and front of a garment, why not think back, left or right?’.  ‘Using different angles and different sides, clothes can hold shape, become a sculpture, allowing fabric to work and hang better to the human form’. He has clearly embraced, locked down and developed his own creative system, taking on board all these methods.

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Warren cuts, constructs and stitches each garment creating form and dimension and clean silhouettes. The fabrics move and shift with the body. They have a sense of free feeling and comfort with a well selected fabric. I photographed a particular piece –  a cape, that effortlessly shape shifts into a scarf.

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 I wanted to capture this authentic and fluid quality of Warren’s creation. It was a great experience and lots of fun working with Warren and Natalie Deely. Warren has a great eye for photography, adding to the fun of the shoot.  I have learnt a great more depth in fashion, I will certainly look at fashion and clothing in a totally different perspective.  Fashion is ever changing and progressive.  Designers are producing clothing that are not only functional, but some would say wearable art.

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It’s been a pleasure to work with such talented people.  People who stand for principle and ethics. It would be nice to see these designers succeed in the main stream where their collections can be appreciated and enjoyed by the masses.

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Check out the website for his latest – http://scottbenedictine.bigcartel.com

Many thank’s to Scott Benedictine for allowing me into your world and thanks to the lovely Natalie Deely for your hard work and awesome input x