ROOKIE REPORTER REVIEWS ROOKIE DESIGNERS

The Voxfrock Rookies are fashion’s future journalists, sharp as tacks, ethically sound, radars ever-pinging for the knutty knub of every frocky story. Their wordskills are honed at Voxfrock’s knee and at the runways, media risers, street beats, backstage; everywhere newness and nextness blossom around Australia’s fashion weeks. Today, we’re thrilled to the gills our Voxfrock Rookie and RMIT Journalism student Anastasia McInerney has returned to deep-dive into last night’s RMIT Student Runway at Melbourne Fashion Week 2017.

Anastasia McInerney

Anastasia McInerney

Words: Anastasia McInerney Pictures: Lucas Dawson

Last night proved why the RMIT Student Runway is still my favourite Melbourne Fashion Week event. Free from commerciality, boundaries and fear (questionable), students have total artistic freedom to create whatever they please. And, pleased I most certainly was.

Bahar Acahan. Photo: Lucas Dawson. "Macramé, embroidery and needle crochet– Bahar’s modest collection was nothing short of crafty." Anastasia McInerney

Bahar Acahan. Photo: Lucas Dawson. “Macramé, embroidery and needle crochet– Bahar’s modest collection was nothing short of crafty.” Anastasia McInerney

Bahar Acahan pushed the envelope. Emerging as Melbourne’s only modest designer, Bahar presented her “completely spontaneous” collection to a welcoming crowd. Her designs, for the first time, fused her Turkish culture with her Islamic religion. “The most important thing in my life is my religion, and everything I do is reflective of that,” she told me. In fact, the entire collection was completely within Islamic guidelines, including suitability for daily prayer.

Merging fashion and religion is always controversial, and can read as either; “Really offensive, or really passive,” Bahar said. The designer’s bustiers were created to exaggerate a woman’s hips and breasts, but were completely detachable. Each piece of the collection was handmade, using near-obsolete crafts such as Arabic macramé. Astonishingly, Bahar had 300 needle crocheted flowers shipped from a newly discovered relative in Turkey. Each flower had taken two days to make: “No one does that anymore,” she said.

Bahar also managed to generate auditory stimulation – and a feelgood shiver – when coin-trimmed belts clinked down the runway.

Jessica Gregory. Photo: Lucas Dawson "Memes on the runway– Jessica Gregory’s Legit Poetry collection." Anastasia McInerney

Jessica Gregory. Photo: Lucas Dawson
“Memes on the runway– Jessica Gregory’s Legit Poetry collection.” Anastasia McInerney

Fellow student, Jessica Gregory, used the concept of communication, not only in the presentation of her garments, but also in their production. Jessica said her collection (her “little brainchild”) entitled Legit Poetry, mimicked her career path. After starting communication studies, she moved across to study fashion design. There she found her sweet spot, bridging the gap between the two.

Jessica’s prints and silhouettes echoed meme culture; “A satirical view of the low-fi form of communication,” she explained. More deeply, her screen printed memes, all done in her garage, explored the idea of freedom of authorship through images manipulated after being pulled from the internet. “Like books or text,” she explained, “The body can be a platform for information to be read, or ideas to be expressed.”

Before the runway, Jessica told me she hoped the collection would be “enjoyable,” with “humour” and “playfulness” coming across. And so it was. But, the fun didn’t stop at Jessica’s designs.

Lucinda Houghston. Photo: Lucas Dawson.  "Lucinda Houghston, perpetuating the life of a quilt, and making a case for neon’s comeback." Anastasia McInerney

Lucinda Houghston. Photo: Lucas Dawson.
“Lucinda Houghston, perpetuating the life of a quilt, and making a case for neon’s comeback.” Anastasia McInerney

In the safe, warm nest of student creativity, sky was the limit but, many of the designers created pieces a little closer to home. There were fashioned pillows, doonas, quilts, even a woven basket that served as a hat, could also double as a washing basket.

The ability to turn a household thingamabob into an artform is the essence of student design albeit, cleverly executed with a little tongue-in-cheek and a whole lot of skill, of course.

Jasper Fearnley. Photo: Lucas Dawson. "Jasper Fearnley’s Life Hangs by a Thread collection featuring a woven basket." Anastasia McInerney

Jasper Fearnley. Photo: Lucas Dawson.
“Jasper Fearnley’s Life Hangs by a Thread collection featuring a woven basket.” Anastasia McInerney

Fashion cajoles, teases, delights and amuses. And, when executed all at once, it can elicit a gasp response that leaves people clutching their hearts. So when Xiangqiao Sheng’s final design (Main photo, top.) left a trail of gold and silver streamers, whispers were heard from the stands. Just like the words embroidered onto designer Alex McQuire’s scarf, the show was a “complete success”.