Designer Profile: Maak


Canberra Institute of Technology has provided a significant number of FASHFEST designer alumni the education and industry experience that got them to a point where their designs were selected to appear on the catwalk for Canberra’s biggest fashion event. This year Fashfest has brought CIT on-board as its official education partner, and in line with FASHFEST’s commitment to ongoing education, students from CIT’s creative courses will be involved in a multitude of many ways and different levels in the 2015 show, giving them real industry experience.

Charne Esterhuizen is a recent Graduate from the CIT Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design) from CIT, and will be launching her debut collection for her label MAAK on the runway at Fashfest 2015.


The name MAAK is Afrikaans, Charne’s national language. It translates to ‘make something’ and is a strong connection to Charne’s brand and culture.

With garments that are designed for the 20-35 market and a strong focus on designs which celebrate and embody personal freedom, MAAK is an innovative, independent label with garments designed for everyday living. MAAK’s unisex, street and sports-inspired aesthetic is a perfect fit for those who want to freely express themselves.

Charne designs for men and women who are immersed in city life. Her consumers have sophisticated, yet rebellious personalities, are always busy and hard-working, and are driven by communication, group activities and social media.

All garments produced under the MAAK label are designed and locally made by the fashion designer herself, using innovative patterns. Where possible, Charne focuses on minimal waste during production.

MAAK’s debut collection at FASHFEST 2015 is not necessarily made for sport, but has a strong sporting aesthetic.


Fashfest has showcased a number of CIT graduates and current students over the past two years. As a recent Graduate of CIT, now the Education Partner with Fashfest, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. How are you going to carry the torch for CIT this year?

I honestly think that judging from the current graduates that ‘we’ in Canberra are a  talented group of people. It’s not always the same designs being distributed it is always something different and for me having a different and fresh approach makes my brand MAAK what it is. I never focus on the same concept and I always challenge myself with innovation and textiles, creating something that is ‘Different’ but is wearable at the same time.

Your designs are evidentially influenced and inspired by sports and street wear; can you tell us a little about how sports and street wear can be made into something luxurious and high fashion?

When you think ‘sports’ , you would think runners and gym gear but for me it was beyond that. MAAK focuses on people and their personalities, focusing on what make people …, well people. Last year I challenged myself by designing a sports lux collection for those who want to express their personality.

And to represent or visually communicate a sportive look  you have to look at the basics.

1) What elements and principles to follow
2)  What stays in trend longer
3) and that the garment can be worn in different total looks and still give a sporty feel

Fashfest 2015 will be the launch of your Graduating collection, which is a huge step for a designer. When you started your degree at CIT 4 years ago, did you ever think that you would be taking part in something as large as Fashfest so soon after graduation?

A Huge step indeed, Fashfest  only started a few years back but there was never a  negative impression that I wouldn’t be a part of it. Canberra is such a supportive community only if you are dedicated and willing

I am a little sports-luxe obsessed at the moment, and as someone who clearly adores sports and street wear yourself; I would love to hear your thought, and any tips that you might have, on incorporating sportswear into your everyday outfit.

Easy, have a little ‘guts’ and colour-match with textures. Add hoodies, or even wear a cap with a singlet and jeans. Its all how you style your outfits, have a look online to give a you a little more encouragement.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the inspiration behind your collection for Fashfest 2015?

Its obvious by now that MAAK Focuses on people and who they are, But its the realisation of how loud a personality can be that is key.


Tickets to Fashfest 2015 are now available to purchase through Ticktek. I strongly suggest that you grab yours now before the four-night celebration of Canberran Fashion sells out!