The Melbourne Fashion Showcase | HK BoDW 2018

The Melbourne Fashion Showcase | HK BoDW 2018

The largest-ever international presentation of Victorian fashion is set to showcase in Hong Kong this December as part of Hong Kong Business of Design Week (HK BoDW), Asia’s premier design event! Running from the 1st-9th, the ‘Melbourne Fashion Showcase’ will see over 50 Victorian designers across three exhibitions and two showcases.

Alvanon's 'The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry' 2018 Report

Alvanon's 'The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry' 2018 Report

Alvanon’s global survey highlights an unprecedented skills crisis in the fashion industry, with 62% of respondents struggling to fill skilled roles. The report data reveals a ‘war for talent’ across the supply chain, with big fashion retailers, brands, manufacturers and vendors, facing a shortage of workers with key, specialised skills… Do you agree?

Think – Collaborate – Create | Melbourne’s BoDW HK Program Revealed 

Think – Collaborate – Create | Melbourne’s BoDW HK Program Revealed 

The largest-ever international presentation of Victorian design will be showcased at Asia’s premier design event, Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BODW) this December 2018 and we, the Australian Fashion Council, are thrilled to be a part of it!

Financing Your International Growth

Financing Your International Growth

Charith Amarasinghe, Associate Director Business Development at Efic, is no stranger to helping Australian fashion businesses get the finance support they need to take on international growth. Working closely with Australian industry leaders he’s seen what it takes to become an international success.

WORKSHOP | Sustainability & Supply Chain Management for Textiles

WORKSHOP | Sustainability & Supply Chain Management for Textiles

During the 2018 International Sourcing Expo, Australian Fashion Council and UL bring you a workshop focused on "Sustainability & Supply Chain Management for Textiles: Reducing Recall Risk and Chemical Management – A ZDHC Overview".

WORKSHOP | IP for Emerging Fashion Brands

WORKSHOP | IP for Emerging Fashion Brands

During the 2018 International Sourcing Expo, Australian Fashion Council(AFC) and Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick bring you a workshop focused on "IP for emerging fashion brands - from import to export, what you need to know in today’s global fashion market".

Meet | The Fashion Advocate

Meet | The Fashion Advocate

This week we caught up with Claire Goldsworthy, Founder and Editor The Fashion Advocate, a blog devoted to likeminded individuals who are designing for positive social and environmental change…

4 Tips to Grow Your International Business...

4 Tips to Grow Your International Business...

In line with their recently launched free eBook, Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, outlines 4 tips to help your business take on the world.

Meet | Hills & West

AFC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

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MEET | HILLS & WEST

Aisha Hillary-Morgan

Founder & Creative Director

This week we caught up with Aisha Hillary-Morgan, Founder and Creative Director of luxury accessories brand Hills & West…

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR OWN INDUSTRY BACKGROUND AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO ‘FASHION’?

In a few words; branding, marketing, tech, startups, fashion and now a fabulous combination of them all. I have been lucky to have a pretty colourful background in a diverse range of industries and countries, working for some pioneering people and companies. In October of 2014, I decided to change track from my 20 or so years working for other people and set up on my own. This was the beginning of Hills & West, my all Australian-made, lifestyle bag and accessory label.

My love for fashion started at a very young age, always doing dress ups and styling my friends. It was always a passion on the side while I build my career in marketing and tech.  However every year, to temper my creative hunger and to help me to continue to grow, I would always try and learn a new skill. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember, and activities have included; meditation, DJing, fashion drawing, Dragon Boat racing and French. In 2014 I decided I would gift myself a luxury handbag-making course in Milan, between my Singapore and London work trips. I was instantly hooked. I loved the artisan techniques, their passion, the history and craftsmanship and all I wanted to do was come back home and make Australian luxury pieces, at attainable prices. My new path had been carved.

After I resigned from my global role in tech, people kept asking if I was scared and nervous to go into the unknown. I had not really thought about nerves as I was more of a jump first and think later kind of person. I had created and grown so many businesses for other people, so why not do it for myself. I knew that I had the passion, confidence and support network to help me through any challenge. This has been the dream and is what drives me everyday.

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HOW DID HILLS & WEST COME TO BE? WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE BRAND?

I drew inspiration from my experience as a frequent flyer for work. I always had to go from the plane to the boardroom, to dinner, to the plane again… and many variations of the same dance. My ‘seedling’ vision for Hills & West was to create a product for professional women that were sophisticated, stylish, versatile and practical.

Today, Hills & West is a minimal accessory brand that aspires to declutter and simplify, always of the highest quality and with a versatile twist. The collections are catered to the busy lifestyles of the modern man and woman and are available online, and in collaboration with other designers and boutiques, at an accessible price point for quality handmade pieces in Australia.

As I build on my collections, I am inspired by my customers who always say, wouldn’t it be great if Hills & West did a…. this is where the shopper, weekender and my cowhide pillows came from. Always looking at how can I simplify and beautify our everyday.

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WHAT DREW YOU TO LEATHER & ACCESSORIES? TELL US ABOUT YOUR DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PROCESS…

I have to start with the fact that I have been a vegetarian since I was 16 years old. People are always a little shocked when I say that however I have always been supportive of sustainable fashion and against fast fashion and wastage. I am however a huge lover of clothing, bags and accessories. So I always think about how can I be as sustainable as possible and make pieces that are durable, timeless and transeasonal, with an as ethical production process as possible. I think of my pieces more as functional, beautiful pieces that people are proud to wear, share the story behind the piece and keep them for a longtime.

When I was researching where to learn the art of handbag craftsmanship, Arsutoria kept popping up. Arsutoria is an established and renowned school specialising in design courses for leather makers of shoes and bags. I was toying between NY and Milan, and I am so glad that my work at the time took me to Europe at the perfect time.

The course set the foundations and taught me a lot about the traditional techniques in Italy. It gave me such an appreciation for the craft of making bags and this passion for handmade traditional techniques is a big factor when finding artisans to work with in Australia. With Australian made products, there is an element of quality care and craftsmanship that cannot be beaten. I love to be hands on in the making process and often spend hours looking at different hides and materials for my pieces. Curiosity fosters creativity; I love brainstorming ideas and am often getting input of others. Whether they’re my husband, friends, other Australian designers, artisans or my teacher from Milan, who I keep in touch with regularly for guidance.

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THERE IS THE COMMON THOUGHT THAT THE INDUSTRY IS ‘DEAD’ IN AUSTRALIA… WHY WAS AUSTRALIAN MADE AN IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR YOU? HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE PROCESS OF MAKING LOCALLY AND WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES/ OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU IN THIS SPACE?

When starting Hills & West, it was really important to me to do things locally. With only 9% of fashion being Australian made, I wanted to help reinvigorate this craft locally and proudly introduce Hills & West as handmade in Australia, to the rest of the world. We have the ability to create the highest quality pieces here, ethically and sustainably, so why not try. I am an avid supporter of buying local and homegrown products, and I wanted to innovatively craft pieces with local artisans intertwining my learnings from bag making in Italy and my brand building experience from my previous life.

There are of course challenges with crafting in Australia. Labour is more costly and materials not produced in Australia that need to be imported have a heft price tag (especially when you are sourcing sustainable).

Also, I wanted to connect directly to customers online, minimising markups through wholesale, however the price point can be challenging as people can’t touch, smell and see the pieces. Especially when you are funding a brand on your own and competing with luxury brands with huge budgets and awareness.

I am fortunate that I can do a lot of my creative, marketing and digital work on my own. I am also so lucky I have a wonderful group of Hills & West lovers and ambassadors who continuously spruik my pieces and give me lots of wonderful referrals.

Collaborations have also been a wonderful part of Hills & West’s growth. By working with other Australian emerging designers, we have been able to get in front of a lot more people with an appreciation for independent and Australian made.

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WHAT DOES ‘AUSTRALIAN’ FASHION/STYLE/DESIGN MEAN TO YOU?

Being Australian made celebrates so many things that are truly wonderful and unique about Australia. We are unique, love self expression, battlers and are incredibly resourceful. We may be small in population but are vocal in our ideals and creativity.

Australian fashion/design has already made a big impact globally and I am super proud to be Australian made and supporting local artisans in a profession that has been slowing down in Australia.

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RECOMMEND 5! WHO/WHAT/WHERE ARE YOUR LOCAL TEXTILE & FASHION GO TO’S?

1. Lustr fabulous fashion initiative, started by founders Angela, Lilliana and Jeremy, supporting independent designers. The give emerging designers a voice and a way to connect with locally inspired and motivated customers. You can read my interview with them here.

2. 6 on 771/2 George I had to share this, my latest collaboration with five wonderful Australian labels in The Rocks including Cedar & Onyx (classic luxury for women of all sizes), Everyday Cashmere (cashmere, silk, and cashmere essentials), Boehm Intimates (lingerie of delicate lace and luxe), Extraordinary Ordinary Day (the holy grail of handmade shoes) and Susan Driver (handmade jewellery). If you are interested check it out until September 16.

3. Semipermanent founded by fellow Sydney sider Murray Bell and Andrew Johnstone in 2003 is a global creative and design-thinking platform. Over the last 15 years, they have established a community of over 400,000 people and a network of over 800 speakers and artists, across our operation around the globe. I go here to be inspired, challenged and boost my creative juices.

4. Some of my fave home grown labels include that I love to wear and watch in the order they come to mind; Manning Cartel, Dion Lee, Michael Lo Sordo, Alice McCall, Sir the Label, Christopher Esber, Nice Martin, macgraw, Anna Quan, Camilla and Marc, and the list goes on….

5. Lastly but not less importantly Australian Fashion Council of course for fashion news, tips, resources, events and brining emerging designers to the forefront.

Bonus, it’s not local but it is a fantastic resource for what is going on in fashion globally. Great interviews, resources and insights - Business of Fashion.

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WANT MORE ?

Drop by their 6 on 771/2 George pop-up before it closes on Sunday 16th September!

Follow the Hills & West story on Instagram at @hillsandwest, on Facebook as @hillsandwest and on Twitter as @hillsandwest! You can also catch them on YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Say hello to Aisha at aisha@hillsandwest.com.


Aussie Kiosk Launch | LA Pop-Up Store

Aussie Kiosk Launch | LA Pop-Up Store

A launch event officially kicked off a month of Aussie retail in Los Angeles on Wednesday night!  The Aussie Kiosk is an Australian brand collective showcasing the best mix of Australian brands to the LA market.


Meet | Arnsdorf

AFC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

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MEET | ARNSDORF

Jade Sarita Arnott

Designer/ Creative Director /Founder

In honour of Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW) we caught up with Melbourne-based fashion designer and AFC Member Jade Sarita Arnott. Jade is the Designer, Creative Director and Founder behind the label ARNSDORF...

 
 

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR OWN INDUSTRY BACKGROUND AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO ‘FASHION’?

From a young age I always had a strong interest in fashion and knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, however wasn't sure which medium it would take. I grew up in a creative environment, my parents met at Art School- my dad is a photographer and my mother was a painter although they also had other jobs to support their practices. After school I studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts at VCA and then went on to do a Bachelor of Fashion Design at RMIT University, so I have a background in both art and fashion.

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HOW DID THE NAME ‘ARNSDORF’ COME TO BE? WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE BRAND?

The name ARNSDORF is actually my original surname lost to me through history. When my grandparents migrated to Australia from Germany, they changed it to Arnott.

The mission for the brand is to create modern archetypal clothing for women of style and purpose. We believe that what you wear has a direct impact on the way you feel and your well being, which has a profound impact on every aspect of your life. Our mission is to continually drive transparency across all levels of the fashion life cycle to help enable women to lead stylish and purposeful lives.

Our vision is to be the leading transparent womenswear brand operating in Australia, championing greater transparency, ethics and purpose in the industry within five years.

We go into more detail on our website here

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ARNSDORF OPERATES A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY TO YOUR TYPICAL FASHION MODEL, TELL US ABOUT YOUR DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PROCESS, AND THE ROLE OF YOUR CUSTOMER?

We have set up our own factory here in Collingwood, Melbourne so that we have total control over the supply chain and working conditions of our machinists/craftspeople. Everything we produce is made in-house with the exception of denim which is made at a denim factory down the road whom we've had a relationship with for over a decade.

We start by sourcing fabrics or developing fabrics by their sustainable properties. We work directly with specialty sustainable fabric mills across the world to source the highest quality lowest impact fibers and fabrics. We also utilise high quality dead-stock fabrics, that have been over produced by international designers.

Design is front and centre to the brand and the key to longevity of the garment. We spend a lot of time, sampling and prototyping and testing our garments so they are refined and perfected, it's a circular process as we work directly with our machinists in-house.

We have an ongoing relationship with our customers too, we offer styling services and have capacity to offer a made-to-measure service, free alterations and free repairs for the lifetime of our garments.

We feel transparency is an integral part of bringing about systemic change within an industry which has been traditionally very opaque in terms of its often times questionable ethical and sustainable practices.

On our website we reveal all the costs that go in to the garments from labor and material to logistics. We also show supply chain information about which mills our fabrics have come from. We are continually incorporating ways to be more sustainable within our practice, from zero waste cutting techniques or incorporating discarded fabric scraps into something new. We are also the process of B Corporation accreditation and ECA accreditation.

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WHY WAS AUSTRALIAN MADE AN IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR YOU? WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES IN MAKING LOCALLY?

We believe in supporting the Australian manufacturing industry and at the same time having an intimate relationship with the making of our garments. The challenge is the cost of wages in Australia for manufacturing are high compared with other countries offshore. However, we believe there is a great opportunity to nurture the industry here, the benefits are lead times can be short. So there can be a better response to sell through and recutting a style that is performing well and getting it into store quickly. The alternative system of making large quantities in one order offshore can lead to oversupply and waste, or selling out and not being nimble enough due to distance to meet the demand.

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'SUSTAINABILITY' IS A BROAD TERM, WHICH CAN MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS FOR DIFFERENT BUSINESSES, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ARNSDORF AND  YOUR CUSTOMER?

Our brand and business is built upon sustainability as its foundation. We take a multifaceted approach to sustainability, as outlined above. Our customers appreciate our transparency and traceability, they resonate with our vision of a healthier and more wholistic fashion system and our drive to bring greater transparency to the Australian fashion industry.

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WHAT’S NEXT? ANY EXCITING PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON?

We have a pop-up concept store at QV until the end of the month, along with our permanent Fitzroy Boutique. We are participating in the MFW runway next month at the Town Hall Runways. We are also planning to pop-up in Sydney in the near future as well as open a permanent Melbourne CBD store when we find the right premises.

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WHAT DOES ‘AUSTRALIAN’ FASHION/STYLE/DESIGN MEAN TO YOU? 

There’s a freedom in the Australian lifestyle and landscape that lends itself well to a certain paired back relaxed style. There’s this combination of being quite worldly and a multitude of cultural heritages combined with a distance to explore our own voices. I think generally it’s about taking quality, natural materials and using them in intentional, bold ways with elements of tradition but reinterpreting them in a contemporary way. There is such a rich quality of life here in Australia, from the quality of produce and restaurants we have here to the environment around us. Things I now cherish after living in New York for 6 years.

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RECOMMEND 5! WHO/WHAT/WHERE ARE YOUR LOCAL TEXTILE & FASHION GO TO’S?

1. Actually Existing - This Melbourne based accessories brand makes beautiful quality ethically sourced and sustainably produced leather prices in their own workshop.

2. Intent Journal is a wonderful online resource for well designed sustainable and ethical brands.

3. ECA - a great resource for finding Ethically Accredited suppliers and makers

4. Wardrobe Crisis Podcast - each week Claire Press delves into the issues facing the planet and the fashion industry.

5. Buttonmania is a small store in the Melbourne suburbs but supplies corozo buttons as well as a limited collection of special vintage buttons.

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WANT MORE ?

Drop by their QV pop-up or the permanent Fitzroy Boutique and catch Arnsdorf's range at the MFW Town Hall Runway 2 this September 4th! 

Follow Arnsdorf's story on Instagram at @arnsdorf, on Facebook as @arnsdorfthelabel and on Twitter as @arnsdorftweets!


Manufacturing Rebooted | Global Business Innovation Conversations 2018

Manufacturing Rebooted | Global Business Innovation Conversations 2018

If you’re in the business of manufacturing or operate within the manufacturing environment, join the conversation and collaborate with innovators, designers, technologists, academics and business experts. Adapt and plan for innovation to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.

BT Emerging Fashion Designer Awards 2019 | Entries Open

BT Emerging Fashion Designer Awards 2019 | Entries Open

Entries are now open for the 2019 BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award. The prestigious award aims to identify and showcase Australia’s most promising emerging designers.

TUXEDO | For Business and Technology in Fashion

TUXEDO | For Business and Technology in Fashion

The debut of Tuxedo Melbourne for business and technology in fashion is set to deliver real and raw case studies of disruption in the industry.

The purpose behind Tuxedo is to communicate innovative stories to an audience of retailers, technologists and creatives, kickstarting a movement for innovation amongst the community.

In 2016, the Australian fashion industry was valued at 28.5billion dollars. This valuation is increasing year-on-year, the hand of the retailer is being forced by customers to become more relevant and technology-forward.

Through these conversations, our aim is to help fashion business owners navigate their way into an innovative mindset, and in turn deliver exceptional experiences for their shoppers.

AFC Curated | Back at MFW this September!

AFC Curated | Back at MFW this September!

18 AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS. 8 DAYS. Thanks to Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW), you can shop 18 Australian fashion labels from across the country, under the one roof for 8 days this September, marking the biggest AFC Curated event yet!

Meet | NJAL

Meet | NJAL

Not Just a Label (NJAL) is the world’s leading designer platform for showcasing and nurturing today’s pioneers in contemporary fashion.  Representing over 30,000 designers from more than 150 countries, NJAL reflects the modern face of fashion and supports thriving artists also outside of the major fashion capitals, giving designers a platform to connect with a global audience and showcase their designs from anywhere in the world… We catch up with their Creative Community Curator, Carly Vidal Wallace!

Meet | Nicki Colls

Meet | Nicki Colls

Ahead of the upcoming Festival of Natural Dyes, we caught up with Fibreshed Melbourne co-founder Nicki Colls, to talk through festival highlights and her work in building networks across our local supply chain.

Lane Crawford | Winners Announced!

Lane Crawford | Winners Announced!

Lane Crawford, Asia’s iconic luxury department store, have proudly announced Tom Fereday Design as the winner of their Creative Call Out, alongside 12 other runner-ups, hand selected by a panel of judges in Sydney earlier this May.