Get to Know Some of the MFW Student Award Finalists!
A big congratulations to the Student Award finalists from this year's Melbourne Fashion Week; Hannah Berry, Lucy Broomhall, Navarone Johnson, Nigel Vogler, and to the winner Helena Dong.
The award acknowledges the top five student collections which demonstrate excellence in research and development of fashion design, innovation, construction and potential to contribute to the future growth of the industry. We're thrilled to support the award alongside the City of Melbourne and búl.
This week we catch up with the 4 finalists!
RMIT, Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours)
WHY FASHION? I had very little interest in fashion until a couple years before moving to Melbourne to study at RMIT. I was really bored one day doing some internet browsing and came across two videos. The first being a presentation of Maison Martin Margiela’s Spring 1998 collection and the other, Alexander McQueen Spring 2007, two designers on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum. The intensities and craftsmanship within those collections intrigued me to the point of wanting to study fashion. Studying at RMIT has allowed me to feed this curiosity through intensive research and the development of technical skills. I tend to get distracted very easily and my mind often wanders off (which you can probably tell from the fragmentation of my work), so fashion and making has come to be a means of therapy for me. Honestly, I find the fashion industry so broad and that fascinates me.
THE COLLECTION | This is an unnamed collection is aimed at bridging the gap between the refined and unrefined within fashion and garment construction. This displayed through the repetition of a uniform, acting as a container for the embellished chaos beneath (the contained). Utilising ‘the cut’ (in reference to Yoko Ono) through performance, the uniform is deconstructed. Creating spillages of the amassed chaos and exposing moments of intense craftsmanship set amongst raw and unrefined construction. The idea of the container and the contained lends its proverbial hand in a couple of ways. First off, the container investigates the packaging of clothing within the context of fashion consumption and the packaging of the uniform (and clothing in general). Further, this idea of uniformity and chaos feeds into my personal experiences and research into autism and autistic personalities. My practice takes a very mindful and considered approach to design, eliminating the toiling process and slowing down the construction of garments through the implementation of drape and use of fabric remnants, allowing for minimal to no waste. This process has been integrated throughout my studies at RMIT and of course my final collection shown at MFW.
WHAT’S NEXT | I feel like my practice brings something fresh to the Australian fashion industry, so following my much deserved summer romance I plan on having over the holidays, I aim to further develop my practice and really broaden my skills through collaboration or possible further study. So I don’t really see myself leaving Australia anytime soon for an extended period of time. Through doing my honours work I’ve discovered my interest in creative consultancy and direction, curation, styling, photography and apparently I’m not all that bad at doing hair and makeup either. I think I just really like to have most of the creative control when working on a project or at least have my hand in all aspects of the “fashion process”. I think this is really important.
ADVICE | Confidence in your own work is really important. If you’re not convinced by what you’re doing and how you work then how can you expect anyone else to be? MFW was also an incredible experience, as my work sits more within the realm of performance and installation it was interesting to see it within the context of the runway and to witness the audience react to it. Through this experience I learnt that my work had purpose beyond its original intent, so it definitely pays to be open minded.
You can get in touch with Navarone here | email@example.com
RMIT, Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours)
WHY FASHION? On my 13th birthday all I wanted was a yellow terry towelling dress, some brand new bright white volley sneakers and a sombrero. When I compiled this outfit together I knew fashion was for me…but it really took off from there!!!! Op shops have definitely built my love for eccentric styling and using whatever you can find. Mum, thank you for letting me out of the house in all those ridiculous outfits.
I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into doing this course, and while initially I was interested in the creative aspects of fashion design, throughout my studies I have become fascinated with the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, which has pushed my design practice towards multidisciplinary and activism.
Artist Thomas Hirschhorn once said ‘It is not necessary to publicise not producing—to do so is defensive or selfish, and, for sure, narcissistic’ and I feel this manifests completely with my collection and myself. This collection has allowed me to create a physical representation using fashion narrative and dioramas, of what we are creating through our daily consumer habits. This process brings the issues of our consumer habits to the forefront of what we all participate in: dressing.
THE COLLECTION | My collection is a critique of and my personal reaction to some of the common consumer rituals, processes of mass production, and value systems of the fashion industry. The collection has a broad communication focus, and explores political, philosophical and social ideologies of consumer behaviour. My collection was generated from my own critical compilation of fashion narrative, poetry and experiential dioramas that are compiled from listening in on conversations in shopping malls and my own experience in the industry thus far. These observations and my additional research drove the creation of the wearable artefacts that have unified together as an unconventional collection exaggerating both the humour and ridiculousness of mass consumption.
The aesthetic of my collection questions the significance of materiality in terms of sustainable or unsustainable fashion practices which can lead us to wonder what really makes waste Waste? Through developing my own zero waste techniques, using found and unconventional materials, alongside unwanted purchased fabrics, my collection deconstructs the value systems of the fashion industry by pushing the wearability and usability of fabrics critiquing the purity politics in fashion manufacturing and production.
My collection employs juxtaposition by satirising our daily consumer behaviours such as grocery shopping, buying new shoes, eating etc. I have deliberately paired biodegradable products in plastic and exaggerated the experience of our consumption through creating mass(ive) produced garments and woven electrical cords. This materiality and process symbolises the weight of consumption. Alongside my publications and dioramas, I aim to evoke emotion and question value through referencing our daily routine. This excessively evocative process encourages conversation around our understanding of our own consumption and its role in our daily lives.
WHAT’S NEXT | The horizon currently looks like fishing, fam time and sunsets. However, I would love to further encourage awareness and conversation by involving the public through workshops/publications/installations. I am in awe of the local talent in Melbourne and would love the opportunity to collaborate with local artists to further broaden awareness of the impact of our consumer culture.
ADVICE | This year in particular has taught me to ensure you love what you are doing and that you are excited and passionate!! It’s a bit corny but I think fashion is about staying true to YOU!
For me MFW was surreal. Being able to show my collection to the public and be able to watch people’s reactions to my collection strutting down the runway was incredible, and I got exactly what I wanted: smiles and laughs.
You can get in touch with Hannah here | firstname.lastname@example.org
LUCY BROOMHALL | MARDA
The Masters Institute of Creative Education, Advanced Diploma of Fashion, Design & Merchandising
WHY FASHION? I’ve always sewn my own clothes, even as a little girl. When I turned 18 I moved to Melbourne from country Vic and worked in costume. Sewing and pattern making is my passion, I have just always loved it.
THE COLLECTION | My collection named ‘Deadair’ is my look at the women's movement and how women have been oppressed throughout history, contrasted by what I see women to be. I drew inspiration from birds, as they represent freedom. Mushrooms, the layers and conditions they grow in. I also looked at metal for inspiration on all the forms it can take and yet still remain strong and undestroyed, regardless of its treatment.
I used different silks and tules, with these fabrics I layered them and created my feathers. I also used a faux leather to mold over structure in each outfit.
I used the toiling process to refine my garments and to design and create the perfect piece.
WHAT’S NEXT | Finishing my diploma is really the most exciting thing I’m concentrating on at the moment. I also am working in bridal which is great experience and skill enhancing. I’m hoping in the next few years to expand my own label.
ADVICE | You never stop learning. And be grateful for everything people are willing to teach you.
You can get in touch with Lucy here | email@example.com
WHY FASHION? | It's a way to tell a story. Clearly translated or not, I can personally put meaning to something.
THE COLLECTION | How a dubious cultural thread can shape an identity.
WHAT’S NEXT | Seeking a deeper creativity that surpasses my own understanding.
ADVICE | Question... is it something you need?
Next time, we catch up with the winner… Stay tuned for more!
All images are thanks to the designers, and runway/backstage images by Lucas Dawson.