Time to introduce you to the 2019 M/FW Student Award finalists; Emily Watson, Jordyn Smith, Megan Taylor, Sabrina Sekerovski, and Taelah Aitchison!
Time to introduce you to the 2019 M/FW Student Award finalists!
Emily Watson | RMIT University
Jordyn Smith | RMIT University
Megan Taylor | Whitehouse Institute of Design
Sabrina Sekerovski | Kangan Institute
Taelah Aitchison | The Masters Institute for Creative Education
My love for fashion began when I was a kid. I thoroughly enjoyed sewing clothes for my soft toys with my grandmother, sketching and pretend-managing clothing stores with my friends. I am lucky in the way that I always knew what I wanted to do.
During my 2018 exchange in New York, I began reflecting upon the contrast between the fast, busy lifestyle of the city and the relaxed culture of Australia, where I then realised the concept of my graduate collection.
My honours project; ‘Active Relaxation’ is a new resort wear proposition; hybridising active-, leisure-, resort-, lounge- and swimwear. It is a playful interpretation of the Australian leisure scene and an observation of how modes of dress that were once reserved for the home or holiday have since emerged to public spaces.
Contemporarily, leisure has assumed a central position for playing a critical role in maintaining and improving quality of life. Dramatic increases in the amount of free time has meant for a proliferation of attention on how to effectively use our free time for the benefit of our overall wellbeing, sense of identity and fulfilment. In particular, luxurious leisure wear has become a pervasive part of Australian culture and therefore is a critical consideration in my honours project.
The creative process was guided by a range of styling exercises on the body using existing, second hand items & materials associated with typical ‘leisure’ wear & influenced by the ways non-fashion creative practitioners explore the concept of leisure within their work. Most notably, photographer; Martin Parr.
Based off the luxury of free time, ’Active Relaxation’ features a mash up of materials and techniques associated with active and passive leisure. The mainly stretch collection re-imagines familiar leisure archetypes into a luxury context through the use of couture techniques and innovative design methods. Most notably including the transformation of 100+ triangle bikini components into pants & a dress. The collection consists of a recognisable & nostalgic colour palette of hot pink, vanilla yellow & blues in a range of lycra, jersey and second hand towelling. Traditional swimwear techniques of shirring and elasticating expand across the complete range. Each piece is intended to be styled and layered with each other in numerous looks extending beyond the original 8 looks.
Next year in June I will be flying to London to represent RMIT at Graduate Fashion Week. Whilst I am there I hope to land an internship at a fashion house & network with other young creatives for at least a few months and see where it takes me. I am super excited.
Hard work and dedication really does pay off.
I have the typical story, I grew up around industrial machines and local makers and practitioners. My grandma was, and still does have her own children’s clothing brand, and I spent a large amount of time with her growing up (and still now) in her workroom helping where I could. I originally studied Psychology for a semester in 2012 and was like no thanks I need to be working with my hands, took a gap year, travelled and realised that my younger self was right in thinking that working within the fashion industry is where I would like to be. One associate degree, a bachelor degree and now honours, here I am.
Fashion’s Prometheus began through an exploration of ephemera and lost and forgotten photographs I purchased via antique stores and op shops in Ballarat. Through these images now forgotten I thought I could pull a narrative from them and embed into the garments via prints or association. Living in Ballarat and commuting has meant that I’ve had to make creative connections accessible to myself, which has allowed me to connect with a variety of people within my town. I’ve been lucky enough that I was provided the opportunity to work with Interknit (have been operating for 85 years now!) one of the only remaining knitting mills in Australia, Greenhalgh Tannery to source local vegetable tanned leather (fifth generation family business) and collaborating with jeweller Georgia Morison on some pieces for the collection. I feel that through the collaborative method of practice and my inspiration has allowed to create purposeful and meaningful garments that others can hopefully relate to as well. I try to only use vintage, deadstock, thrifted or end of roll fabrications to produce my work, and where I can’t, use a sustainable alternative or fibres that can be regenerated after their use.
After graduation I have some ‘pie-in-the-sky’ dreams for particular scholarships and graduate opportunities, that would be fantastic if they came true! But my main plan is to take a small break, work hard and apply for work internationally. I’ve been studying for six years and I’d like to continue to learn but in the work environment. But I do want to come back! There’s so many amazing technologies and once existing facets of the industry I’d love to be able to help connect people like Interknit, or GM Jewllery or the tannery with at an international scale and help the Australian Fashion Industry grow, evolve and connect.
Don’t compare yourself to each other, help each other! Sometimes you feel like you’re trapped in a bubble and you can’t help but fall into imposter syndrome traps. Just know that it’s going to be okay, there will be a place for you in the industry, and that we’ll work better if we work together.
I’ve had a passion for art and creative pursuits from a young age. My final year of high school I studied Literature, English, Studio Art, Theatre Studies and Classical Studies. It was through studying all these subjects at the same time that I first understood the interconnectedness of the different mediums of art and creative expressions. Fashion was something I fell into later on, with the realisation that how we choose to present ourselves to the world is its own valid and unique form of art.
Images by Grace White, featuring Steve Fernando, Ben deSilva and Orson Silk
Why do we wear masks; and how do they define us?
Outfaced uses the symbol of a mask to visualise themes of identity and authenticity.
So, what is authenticity? If authenticity is relative to the medium, experience and the individual, does the word authenticity has any meaning at all?
Authenticity, to many, means freedom to express themselves outside the boundaries of traditionally accepted societal norms.
Bold and graphic print design takes precedent, visualising the themes and inspirations behind the ‘Outfaced’ collection, and taking cues from WWII and Cold War-era propaganda imagery and the imaginative illustrations of Shakespeare’s published works in the 1800s.
The collection deconstructs menswear symbols from the 1940s; softening them with silhouettes from sleepwear and colourful prints. These motifs are distorted, with blown-up pin stripes, oversized peak lapels, and garments garnished with lingerie-esque frills.
A range of fabrications reflect the themes of hard and soft with suiting, twill, shirting, satin, and organic cotton jersey fleshing-out the collection.
Outfaced includes a suit that melts into a robe and a jacket that unzips into a quilt; skirting the line between playtime and bedtime. Classic men’s silhouettes are counterbalanced with slip skirts and shirts drawn out to knee-length.
‘Outfaced’ deconstructs and re-assembles its historical and social influences in a way that feels contemporary; embracing the culture of performance through clothing.
There are a few labels in the Australian market offering a more colourful, playful and diverse wardrobe to a growing market of experimental and creative people, but nowhere near on the scale in the European and American markets. I’d love to see myself bringing my own unique vision to the table here in Australia.
In the immediate future I plan to continue working with textile design and challenging myself to create bigger and better prints for the remainder of my graduate collection; I would be a happy person if I could do that every day!
Understand that what is different about you can also be what is most valuable.
I’ve always loved to create. As a child I would constantly ask my parents if we could make things instead of playing with my toys. It drove them mad trying to think of different art projects as they are not the most creative people. As I got older my love of creating only grew stronger but I hadn’t found my outlet until my first textiles class in high school. From then on fashion became an obsession. Being quite a reserved person I saw it as a way of speaking when my words would fail me. I constantly strived to be better from that point onward. I knew that the more skills I had the better I would be able to convey my message.
I am a person who hates routine. It bores me. Therefore the constant evolution of the fashion industry suits me perfectly.
My collection, Biohazard is inspired by the desire to break free from the restrictions placed on us by society. The constant feeling that we have to look a certain way, speak a certain way or act a certain way. This often means we are forced to stray away from our true selves. My opinion is that instead of living our lives trying to meet everyone else’s expectations of us we should take a step back to understand and accept ourselves wholesomely, with all of our flaws and imperfections.
My goal for this collection was to firstly, push myself to a new level and secondly, create a collection that I felt accurately represented who I am as a person and also as a designer.
After completing my studies at the end of this year I hope to get a job in the industry that will allow me to continue building my skills and knowledge. I really want to absorb as much information as I can.
Eventually I’d like to have my own streetwear brand for both men and women. I still have a lot of planning to do before this happens so for the moment its just something I daydream about. I love taking old school raver vibes and using it in a modern way in my garments so I imagine my brand will have a hint of that in there.
A great teacher/mentor of mine recently said something that really stood out to me. Why are we constantly researching trends? As fashion students/designers we should be the ones setting them, not following them.
From a very young age I loved fashion and dressing up. As I got older I began designing and creating my own clothes and from then I always knew I wanted to go into fashion. When I was 18, I moved to Melbourne to study fashion, and have loved every moment of it.
The thing I love most about fashion is that it’s a way to express yourself, the possibilities are endless, and what you wear can completely set you apart. It’s such an amazing feeling seeing your art come to life from the original sketches to a final garment.
My collection ‘FAZE ONE’, is inspired by a warped dystopian society, exploring what remaining humans would wear in the result of disaster. My garments are based off predictions of the future in an industrial, apocalyptic setting.
I was strongly influenced by outdoor recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking and camping equipment. gathering all those elements, such as waterproof performance fabrics, carabiners, elastics and toggles, to create a high-end concept. My colour palette is very dark and earthy, featuring greens, blacks and stone colours, as well as crumpled and metallic fabrics to give texture and movement. My garments all contain excessive trims and hardware, such as toggles, elastic cinching and straps to give each outfit a utilitarian look.
My design process was very experimental, and my garments evolved so much from the initial stages. My patterns and toiles were kept very basic as I wanted the garments to be organic and draped, to come alive in the process.
At the moment, I am still focussing on finishing my course, but I am looking forward to collaborating with some local stylists and designers, as well as getting more experience in the fashion industry and opportunities to work with mentors and brands.
Designing my own collection in third year was challenging, as I was not used to having total creative freedom, as usually I’d have an assignment or brief to design to. It was really important for me to stay true to my aesthetic and to create something I believed in and am passionate about.
It was a surreal opportunity to be a part of MFW. I learnt so much during the process and it really motivated me to push myself with my designs, as well as giving me insight into this fast-paced fashion industry.
As part of the finalist prize pack for the MFW Student Runway, each of the students have received complimentary memberships with AFC. A warm welcome to our Industry community!