Designer Profiles

Fashfest 2017 Runway Review – Melanie Child

In the lead up to Fashfest 2016 I interviewed Dunedin based designer Melanie Child, and as I tend to do, I turned the discussion towards whether there was any chance of Melanie introducing menswear to her existing range of sublime denim recreations.

At the time Mel said that she didn’t have any in the 2016 show, but that menswear was on the cards for the future.

 

It shouldn’t have surprised me then to seem menswear pieces on the runway this year in the Melanie Child collection, which opened an entirely New Zealand made show this year, sponsored by the New Zealand High Commission. But to be perfectly honest, despite basically begging to see Mel’s recycled denim creations turned towards menswear, I wasn’t really expecting it.

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Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Casa Pavone

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Braddon Tailors has been a leading light on Canberra’s menswear scene, since they stole the show with their first collection at Fashfest 2014. Since that show, the homegrown Braddon Tailors label has developed a cult following within the region and has continued to grow; with permanent locations now established in other major centres in Australia including Sydney and Adelaide.

In exciting news Jono McFeat and Pip Morgan, two of the gents behind Braddon Tailors, have now launched their new accessories label Casa Pavone. Casa Pavone specialises in creating ties, bow ties and other menswear accessories that are beautiful, timeless, versatile and of exceptional quality.

The gents will be debuting their latest Casa Pavone designs at Fashfest 2016, and today I’ve had the chance to speak with Jono McFeat. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Braddon Tailors

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Menswear at Fashfest, and for Canberra in general, has benefitted greatly from the introduction of Braddon Tailors to the local scene. Since their first show for Fashfest 2014, the boys behind Braddon Tailors have continued to develop and grow the business. Launching a gorgeous retail space in the heart of Braddon was just the tip of the iceberg; with the establishment of permanent locations in Adelaide and Sydney, and the development of a unique offering for corporate or large groups where the gents come out to your office and discuss all things style with you and your colleagues. Braddon Tailors have also just launched their exciting new website, where you are able to book an appointment with them directly. Whether you are in Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney or elsewhere in Australia, you should book your appointment now!

I’ve talked about Braddon Tailors a lot here on the Blog, and while it might seem a little biased, my previous experiences with “tailors” have left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and less than exceptional garments for my wardrobe. I’ve been over-charged, misrepresented and told that I could absolutely pull of a style which frankly I am just too fat for. So meeting CEO and Creative Director Pip Morgan and his team and being walked through the process, my options and given frank advice has been nothing short of a revelation.

Braddon Tailors’ was one of my favourite collections from Fashfest 2015. The selection of fabrics for the show was sublime, and the men’s and women’s tailoring was perfectly matched to each look and model. There was collegiate cool vibe running through the collection that was perfect for the autumn/winter season, showing  an eye for detail that simply cannot be taught.

While Braddon Tailors runway collections are impressive, it is the one-on-one interactions that you have as a customer that truly make this team so remarkable. In preparation for Fashfest 2016 I have been on a brilliant adventure with Canberra store manager Aidan, selecting fabrics, learning about the construction of the garments and a bit about the history of tailoring, and laughing the whole time. I cannot wait to share my new purchases with you, and I will have a full write-up on the blog when they are completed.

Naturally, in 2016 I am expecting big things from Braddon Tailors, and so I thought it best to check in with Pip to get the lowdown on what is new with the Braddon Tailors, and just what we are in for with their third Fashfest collection at this year’s show. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Illustrator Profile – Johanna Dziadkiewicz

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Fashion illustration is a tricky art form. Where we often think of illustration as capturing a likeness of an object or subject, fashion illustration requires a little more from the artist, especially with regard to capturing movement. A large part of the appeal of a runway show is seeing the garments in the flesh: how they sit on the model, how they move, and of course the feeling that they evoke in the audience.

For a fashion illustrator, these are all integral parts of their subjects that they need to convey through their medium in order to illicit a response from their audience. Reliving the swish of a dress through strokes of a pen, or the glint of light off sequins with shading, or the feeling you get from observing something truly beautiful with careful drops of colour.

It is not just a matter of putting pen to paper.

As the official illustrator for Fashfest 2016, no one knows this more keenly that Melbourne based fashion illustrator Johanna Dziadkiewicz

With a background in Fine Arts, Printmaking studying at the Brighton Bay Art, Design & Photography Program before two years at the Victorian College of the Arts, and later completing a brief course in Fashion Drawing and Design at RMIT Johanna brings years of drawing experience and a love of creative fashion to her work.

With an impressive clientele including online journal This is Canberra and science/fashion blog Entropy of Style, Johanna is also a contributor to Leiden Magazine, and has held several exhibitions of her illustrations and prints over the years.

You can imagine just how delighted I was then to be offered to have one of my previous Fashfest outfits illustrated by Johanna for this year’s event.

 

The piece that Johanna illustrated was what I wore to the first night of Fashfest 2014, and it’s a sequined hoodie by Slick It Up. I’m so in love with this illustration, not only because I am insanely vain, but because of the way that Johanna has brought the texture of the piece to life.

 

Returning to the Fashfest in 2016 as the official illustrator, I was eager to get in touch with Johanna to find out what we can expect to be seeing from her this year, what she’s learned about fashion from her illustrations, and which designer’s collections she is most looking forward to this year. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Melanie Child

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One of the fantastic things about Fashfest is that it opens your eyes to a host of possibilities. For example, I have stated many times on this blog that I find a lot of ‘eco’ or sustainable designers to make really ugly clothing, and that I am someone who can’t see themselves wearing eco designs.

Enter Melanie Child, a boutique womenswear label from Dunedin, New Zealand, which focuses on upcycling and sustainable fabric choices.

In the lead up to Fashfest 2015 I can remember the head of Fashfest PR asking me if I would be interested in profiling Melanie’s label for my blog and thinking “Pshaw! Sustainable design! That’s all hemp fibers and tie-dye! No thanks!” and being, if I am honest, a bit of a tool about it all. It wasn’t until I was actually sitting there last year watching Melanie’s designs pass me on the runway that I realised just how wrong about sustainable design I was.

The aesthetic of Child’s label is thought provoking and sculptural with dark undertones, with a predominantly monotone colour palette. It is also insanely beautiful and in some ways fragile. The creative redesign of preloved denim is a Melanie Child signature.

The label’s underpinning philosophies are to reduce post-consumer textile waste into landfill and maintain a small environmental footprint by using sustainable virgin materials from ethical sources. Child creates beauty from the unwanted and wasted—timeless garments that transcend seasonal restraints. Limited edition and bespoke upcycled clothing which is thoughtfully and skilfully remade in New Zealand.

Returning to the Fashfest runways for 2016, I was eager to get in touch with Melanie to find out what she had been up to since we saw her in May last year and of course, what we can expect from her 2016 collection. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Karen Lee

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Karen Lee Fashfest 2015 collection Photography: Red Photography Models: FASHFEST and HAUS Models Hair & Makeup: FASHFEST 2015

 

Karen Lee’s reputation within Canberra is testament to the quality and individuality of her work as both a designer and as a style shepherd through her boutique Assemblage Project.

As a designer Karen Lee creates beautiful clothing pieces with refined, effortless lines and classic shapes. The use of unusual twists of fabric and pattern produce a contemporary sophistication which draws you in with a need to take a closer look. Lee creates clothing for women wanting to be comfortable and confident in expressing their individual style while making garments inherently their own. Her focus is on designing quality clothing that enhances changing body shapes, which she makes to an exact and rigorous standard of the highest quality.

Karen Lee garments do not follow current trends. These are designs which transcend age, body shape and culture, designed to last for many years and growing and aging with the wearer as time moves forward.

I’ve said multiple times that Karen’s designs remind me of Japanese labels like Comme des Garçons and Junya Wantanabe. There’s a stark elegance and reality to the designs that evokes a dedication to form and structure that surpasses trend, and which is almost timeless. 

And with her boutique Assemblage Project, housed in the glorious Ori building in Braddon, Lee provides Canberra with an upmarket haven of carefully curated labels from a select number of Australian and New Zealand designers. With an eye for beautiful fashion with wide appeal, lee has carefully handpicked designers for the store with different visions which work together as a collective.

An example of this is that many of the labels share the same ethos, designing and producing in ways that celebrate slow fashion and sustainability. Their garments are not only thoughtfully and skilfully designed, they are masterfully crafted with fabrics that are a pleasure to wear over many years.

Returning to the Fashfest runways in 2016, I was eager to get in touch with Karen to find out what she has been up to since her last collection, what her customers are looking for in a label, and of course, what we can expect from both of her 2016 Fashfest shows. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Cadia Belante

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With the increase in size and scope of Fashfest as a celebration of fashion, design and creativity – it makes sense that it’s audience grows as well. Audience doesn’t refer to just those who attend Fashfest, but also to those who take part. With each year that passes we see the number of interstate (and international) designers, models and musicians increase.

One such interstate designer who is showing at Fashfest for the very first time in 2016 is Cadia Belante, a Melbourne based designer and eponymous fashion label with a focus on sustainable clothing production.

Belante created her label in response to her concerns with the increasing volume of materials that we create and the rate at which these materials become landfill.

As a label Cadia Belante proposes to develop ways to re-circulate these consumable items, and as a result reduce waste. The original catalyst of this undertaking was the discovery of large quantities of surplus sleeping bags in second hand stores, leading Belante to explore the possibilities of re-purposing within fashion design. Cadia began to collect interesting but obsolete items to experiment with, and she now uses items that would remain unused or otherwise be tossed away to create her signature garments.

Belante’s website and social media showcase an array of boldly colured and patterned fashions in mens, womens and unisex designs, which blur the lines between art and fashion. The label is inspired by Belante’s  vision of the future possibilities of challenging boundaries within fashion design.

This is the first year that Cadia Belante will show at Fashfest, and I wanted to get an inside scoop on the label and the future-cool styling before the big night. Of course I have also sought a little bit of a sneak peek as to what we can expect from her 2016 collection. (more…)