Meet the Next Generation of Local Fashion Designers

I am seated across from international designer Patricia Field in a carpark-turned-catwalk illuminated with pendant chandeliers. Electrifying beats pulsate as models begin to suavely strut down the runaway, wearing clothes from the future. Glamorous spectators applaud, some behind rockstar shades (even though it’s pitch black) whilst simultaneously clasping champagne glasses.  I’m not in New York. Heck, I’m not even on the East Coast. I’m in Lakeside Joondalup Shopping Centre’s carpark. So, what is the New York costume designer responsible for the wardrobes in both The Devil Wears Prada and Sex in the City doing in this humble part of the world?

It’s the eve of Urban Couture’s Emerging and Graduate Designer Capsule Showcase. And every fashionista, industry stalwart and socialite has gathered to watch the prestigious extravaganza. One by one, thirteen of the crème de la crème fashion design graduates from WA’s universities and design institutions hit the runway with their collections, each separated by a standing ovation from the audience.

I was mesmerised by the extraordinary talent of these up-and-coming designers. Every hand-crafted assemble burst the senses with intricate textures, embellishments and delicate, exquisite embroidery. The finale collection (Gabby Olivier, TAFE) was truly the icing on the cake; closing the runway with magical garments of vibrant colours, adorned with rainbow feathers and tulle. An enchanting juxtaposition from traditionally dull palettes. The pure talent of these budding designers was palpable.

For the most part, the collections seemed to place a greater weight on meaning than wearability, deviating from conventional expectations. So, I was eager to talk to the designers themselves about what they wanted their couture to communicate to the world.

5 fashionable minutes with designer…

Ancille Kashaba

Curtin University

How would you describe your collection?

A silhouette of two people in the far distance hand in hand walk through the city at sunset; hair clean shaven, elongated shirts flowing in the light breeze, shortened at the knees, tight trousers, platform sneakers…Two males chilling? Girls night out? Or simply a girl and a guy out on their first tinder date? Who knows? You can no longer assume the gender of the millennial individual simply by the way they adorn their bodies.

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

I was inspired by today’s youth and how they refuse to conform to gender norms. The textiles are inspired by the Australian outback and wildflowers.

What attracted you to the fashion design industry?

I have loved fashion ever since I could remember. I grew up watching my Mum turn fabric into incredible outfits it was magical. I would make clothes for my own dolls and daydream about making clothes for myself. I remember wanting to be just like my Mum so when it came to deciding what I wanted to do with my life it was a no brainer.


Photographer: Shaedyn Browne

Model: Zoe Gayle

Beth Mosely

Curtin University

How would you describe your collection?

Denim, textural, and rebellious. My collection is very much centered around textural components and printed textiles; anything and everything that makes you want to reach out and touch the garments for yourself.

What inspired your collection?

The starting foundation for my collection is the symbolism of denim in the 1950’s, and how it was used as a vehicle for rebellion. Fast forward to today, and denim is one of the most normal, almost boring, materials of the 21st century. I wanted to create a new way in which denim could represent the same rebellious ideals, but bring it into the now.

What attracted you to the fashion design industry?

I’m a big believer in the fact that you need to do what you love. I love fashion design, and being creative. Working in a creative practice and industry means that you regularly push yourself and think outside the box. In this industry, no two days are the same – which is something I absolutely enjoy.

Follow Beth @elementarythelabel

Photographed by Stefan Gosatti

Erin Mulholland

Edith Cowan University

How would you describe your collection?

Digital technology, obsession and consuming.

What inspired your collection?

I was inspired by society’s, myself included, obsession with technology and existing in a digital world. As well as the realisation of the time and the energy people put into creating their online ‘lives’.

What are your future aspirations? My goals for the short-term future are to really find what I enjoy most about fashion and create a collection and label that can start to grow.  In the long run I would love to do styling on the sets of movies and tv shows; a lot like what Patricia Fields does.

By Songy Knox Photography  2017


Melanie Wozniak

Curtin University

How would you describe your collection?

WILD celebrates and embodies the rugged, masculine free spirit of the modern American country man.

What inspired your collection?

WILD was inspired by my recent travels to California. I was inspired by the desert terrain, wild horses, and the rich and nostalgic history of the American country man. A key design component of my collection was to use and revitalise old horse strapping and buckles. I paired these with the finest wool fabrics in order to find a coexistence between the rugged country spirit and refined tailoring techniques.  On the Urban Couture Runway my collection was worn by female models which really excited me and brought to light how versatile a strong concept design can be no matter who wears the items.

What are your future aspirations?

I would love to work in a creative environment with a team dedicated to menswear fashion. I have a strong passion for the history of menswear tailoring, and am enthusiastic about exploring the opportunity to use this aesthetic to find a new contemporary pathway.

Follow Melanie @melaniewozniakcreative

Photograph by Melanie Wozniak.

The future of the local fashion industry is full of limitless possibilities with these creative protégées aboard. These graduate designers are definitely the next big names to look out for!

Joondalup City’s Urban Couture program runs until March 26th


Susie Charkey
Fashion Co-Editor


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