PRECIOUS FASHION ASSETS #1

Independant designers in small ateliers are the lifeblood of Melbourne’s tight-fused fashion community. Today, guest Voxfrockers Estelle Michaelides (herself the exotically talented designer of indie fashion brand Mickey In The Van) and photographer Kayla Piccolo, record the first of two meet and greet Q&As with some of the precious fashion assets behind VAMFF‘s arts programme and offsite runways.

DESIGNER: SIMONE FARRUGIA   LABEL: GUIRO (PRONOUNCED “GWEERO”)

Simone Farrugia. Photo: Kayla Piccolo

Simone Farrugia. Photo: Kayla Piccolo

Tell us about your label: “A collection of Melbourne made pieces inspired by my love of the cities music scene and the female performers in it.”
How should fashion be approached?: “I guess it’s best answered with my hopes on how people would approach it and that’s with a sense of fun, self expression and also a bit of nonchalance in the fact that at the end of the day, whilst we can adore fashion and what comes with it, the person underneath has far more significance.”
What’s your view on Australian fashion?: “I’m excited for the future of Australian Fashion, slow fashion is gaining momentum and local labels can really benefit from that.”
What do you want people to know about you (re your work)?: “That myself and my work are ever evolving and I’m learning. I’m really proud that all my products are now manufactured in Melbourne and that process has been a long and hard one with expensive lessons learnt first. Styling has taught me so much in terms of what women actually want to invest in and wear, especially creatives on stage. I’m excited to build collections based on these ideals.”
Can you describe the people who buy your clothes and how do you hope they might wear them? “My clothes sell well in local boutiques in the company of other Australian made garments. My customer is nearly always someone who is conscious about making ethical fashion choices. Further to that I find they are typically creatives who are inspired by the same things that I am.”

DESIGNER: KARA BAKER  LABEL: KARA BAKER

Kara Baker. Photo: Kayla Piccolo

Kara Baker. Photo: Kayla Piccolo

Tell us about your label: “Kara Baker is a different business model – my summer and winter collections are sold by appointment to private clients from a salon in the CBD. Clients are able to choose fabrics and orders are made to measure. I mostly work in silk, cotton, wool and linen and I have beautiful vintage and contemporary fabrics in stock.”
How should fashion be approached? “Anyway you want! Clothes are meant to make you feel good. Personally I favour dressing to flatter your figure and I am not a fan of over- sexualised dressing (and it is fast becoming very unfashionable). In my opinion clothes should be comfortable and elegant and fit properly and make you feel special and gorgeous.”
What’s your view on Australian fashion? “I live in my own little fashion bubble and don’t really follow it.”

DESIGNER: ESTELLE MICHAELIDES  LABEL: MICKEY IN THE VAN (Main photo, top)

Tell us about your label:  “An evocative and passionate expression of my inner musings, journey and story. Each piece is designed with an artistic approach creating a dramatic and unique take on fashion and femininity.”
How should fashion be approached? “Without fear! Dressing to your authentic self can be so powerful. We must do away with trends and fads and focus more on intuition; what feels right and beautiful to the self.”
What’s your view on Australian fashion? “We have so many local sartorial stars and they need to be supported and celebrated. Vamff is a perfect platform that does just this but it’s merely two weeks in the year. Media need to spend more time showcasing and supporting local designers rather than promoting designer trends from the States and Europe.”
What do you want people to know about you (re your work)? “That it comes from the heart. My designs are my wearable word. I am the narrator and I tell my story through the clothes I design.”
Can you describe the people who buy your clothes and how do you hope they might wear them? “I refuse to dictate trends. I want my clothes to be the tools that evoke self expression. The people who buy my clothes have a fond appreciation for beautiful pieces that are witty and spirited. They have an admiration for well crafted, locally made garments and feel liberated in my design offerings.”