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meet the fashion masters

Following years of study and a thrilling Masters presentation, we caught up with RMIT's class of 2016 - fashion's future stars.

by Briony Wright
|
23 November 2016, 10:20pm

Last week a handful of Melbourne's most trained fashion students — the RMIT Masters of Fashion graduates — held an independent runway in Melbourne to showcase their ideas and the results of years of research and dedicated work. Titled The Clash, the parade took place on a sunny afternoon and saw the designers, models and photographers journeying by tram from their school to a waiting audience at MPavilion a few kilometres away. While each of the designers clearly approach their craft very differently, what united them was their expertise. With Sonny Vandevelde capturing the action, we spoke to the designers about lessons learned and future plans. Remember their names. 

HUGH WILLIAM STEWART 

What are the main things you've learnt through your course?
The things I have learnt in the Masters are from dealing with people, through making connections and building creative collaborations.

How would you describe your Masters collection?
Clean and refined.

From your perspective, what are the positives and pitfalls of being a fashion designer in Australia?
That it can be super challenging in a small market place and you have to think globally.

What makes you hopeful for the future of fashion?
The current move towards design being suitable and ethical.

@hughwilliamstewart

ALEXANDRA DEAM 

Label name?
DIS/OWNED

Congrats on nearing the end of your course. What are the main things you've learnt through it all?
To just keep pushing no matter what and learning to be flexible with ideas. Sometimes things don't work out the way you envisioned them, it's important to let things grow organically and not force it.

How would you describe the collection you've made for the masters show?
It's a reflection on how one simple garment has come to define womanhood and feminine identity. Lingerie and the bra in particular carries a lot of cultural weight in society. As our ideas towards femininity and gender change, so will the way we engage with lingerie.

If you have one, what would you say is your signature?
Not taking fashion too seriously.

What's important to you in terms of making and wearing fashion.
My design practice has strong sustainable and ethical values, so when it comes to making fashion the materially and construction must live up to those values. The core materials of my masters collection are unwanted garments sourced from 2nd hand stores, reconstructed into new fashion garments so they can be loved and worn again. In terms of wearing fashion, I think the key is wearing something that is important to you and not what is dictated by trends or social media. It's only fashion if you feel it.

Do you think it's important to push boundaries?
Of course! I feel very lucky because as a student I am able to explore the depth of my ideas without commercial constraints or having to focus on a customer. But it always pays off to take a risk or question the norm. Even if it doesn't go as planned, what you learn and experience through that will not only improve you as a designer, but push fashion into the future.

@disownedstudio

ASEKA DE SILVA

What are the main things you've learnt during your course?
I have learnt that there is always something worthy you can contribute to the fashion industry, even though trying to figure out what that something is can be a challenging journey. If you work hard and never give up you will have a breakthrough.

How would you describe your Master's collection?
I would describe it as an act of revitalising traditional crafts from my home country within the context of fashion design.

Do you think it's important to push boundaries?
I absolutely believe it is important to push boundaries, and my masters project was an act of that sentiment. To push boundaries in fashion is to not contradict the existing but to introduce the new and bring more life into the creation. Refreshing how it is viewed by the industry.

What is this first thing you're going to do when you finish your last piece of course work?
Contemplate my next chapter in the world of fashion, while relaxing on my bed.

Where would you like to ultimately take your career?
I would ultimately like to have my own label that embodies the ideals of my Masters project. To effectively blend fashion design with the crafts of my home country, Sri Lanka, thus joining in the movement of reinvigorating the crafts of my heritage within the fashion industry.

PAUL CASTRO

Congrats on nearing the end of your course. What are the main things you've learnt through it all?
Thank you! It has been an amazing journey and I have learned a lot, mainly about different approaches to fashion, beyond the commercial reality that we're all familiar with. However, my main takeaway is my own rediscovery as a creative and reaffirming my identity as a designer.

How would you describe this collection?
Although the collection has been made out of repurposed deadstock (unsold) menswear garments (shirts, polo shirts, jeans, suits), the collection exudes elegance and femininity. Through the creative process, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Do you think it's important to push boundaries?
Of course it is important and this course has definitely encouraged me to push my own boundaries. Fashion without pushing boundaries is not fashion.

Where would you like to ultimately take your career?
I definitely want to pursue my practice of designing with waste/ deadstock to give them a new lease of life. I want to work as a consultant with companies who are interested in doing something with their own discarded production. There is definitely too much waste in the industry and it is our responsibility, as designers to find solutions for this.

What makes you hopeful for the future of fashion?
Sharing with young, brilliant and talented designers who share the same values as me in terms of caring for the planet gave me a lot of hope about the future.

@paulcastro

RUVINI JAYASEKARA

Congrats on nearing the end of your course. What are the main things you've learnt through it all?
The course has helped me to identify my own abilities, what I am good at, what my mastery is and to fine tune them and bring them out in a more professional way. I will not find my own capabilities if I never get a chance to bring them out. Continuous experimentation, research and critical analysis on what I did during the past two years helped me to build up my own practice.

How would you describe your Master's collection?
The series of garments exhibit ways of enhancing the materials and garments through pleating and folding fused cardboard structures, with anchored and cascading pleats, alongside metal wires and bead details. The end point is the way the movement of the body intensifies the effects of these different structures, enhanced graphically through black and white prints and contrasted with bursts of multi coloured florals.

What's important to you in terms of making and wearing fashion?
Making fashion is more important to me because as fashion designers we hold much responsibility and ownership of reshaping the fashion world either for good or bad. People will embrace it if you make something special, meaningful and good for the world.

Do you think it's important to push boundaries?
Definitely yes. People get bored seeing the same fashion being repeated over and over again. As designers, we have more capability to explore, experiment and bring something new. The use of new materials and techniques, even sewing mechanisms will lead to wearable fashion propositions. And this has to be reflecting the current trends and technology in the world.

Where would you like to ultimately take your career?
I would like to work for brands such as Maison Margiela, Issey Miyake and Gabriele Colangelo and gain experience on how businesses run in the high-end fashion world. Then later on start my own label and practice as a high end bespoke fashion brand that explores materiality and technique.

@ruvinijayasekara

SARAH HOPE SCHOFIELD

What are the main lessons you've learnt over the years completing your course?
There is never enough time! It has been an amazing journey, and a great experience to discover who you are as a person and as a designer.

How would you describe the collection you've made for the masters show?
The collection is quite personal, it meshes my upbringing in rural Australia with my past seven years living in Paris. I have taken archetypes of couture and constructed garments from inexpensive materials, adding value through laborious hand techniques.

If you have one, what would you say is your signature?
Decorative techniques which are functional or inform the final design. Buying pre-made fabric would be too easy! Flowing from my previous work as an accessory designer and developing prints from my own brand, in this project I have hand cut and hand applied each sequin and piece of leather shaped to the panel, which I think makes the work unique in a way which only comes from painstaking work.

What's this first thing you're going to do when you finish your last piece of course work?
Sleep! And maybe next week I'll go in and face the mess I made in the final hours before the show!

Where would you like to ultimately take your career?
I will be returning to Paris early 2017 where I hope to find a job in womenswear or Haute Couture. I hope to work overseas as a designer, as well as continuing to mentor and work with young students. 

@sarahscofield

Credits


Text Briony Wright
Photography Sonny Vandevelde

Tagged:
Culture
melbourne
The Clash
RMIT
fashion interviews