10 things to know about emma mulholland
The recent winner of the BT Emerging Designer Award incorporates fun into fashion.
Photography Byron Spencer
Emma Mulholland makes fun clothes which tend to riff heavily on the theme of the particular collection they're part of. Previous seasons include Risque Business, Spaced Out and As Bad as I Guana Be where bight prints, colour and texture combine to create strong stories that have earned her a dedicated fanbase and impressive celebrity following.
Heat Wave is the latest range and its hallmarks include Emma's signature sequin detail, as well as embroidery and a throwback to flattering 70s silhouettes. Byron Spencer shot the collection shown here at a giant prop warehouse and we asked Emma to tell us a little more about herself and her work.
1. This Heat Wave collection is inspired by the desert. A lot of the prints revolve around the sun and heat - I began designing it when I was on a road trip to Palm Springs and the Joshua Tree last year. I loved how Palm Springs feels like a 1970s time warp, which really comes into the style of the clothes.
2. I've never been amazing at sport but my whole family is - both my sisters were always the school champions. Once I won the long jump at the school carnival and somehow it ended up being the photo that was put in the newspaper, it was on our fridge at home until recently. I went on to the next level for the first time but missed the event because I was too busy chatting with friends and eating lollies. My Mum who was my PE teacher at the time was not impressed.
3. I met Byron Spencer when we were both working at separate concession stands in David Jones - I worked at Veronika Maine and he worked for Country Road. Since then we've done a lot of fun stuff together including this photo shoot. We lived together in a crappy house in Surry Hills for a while, which was so much fun. When I was in my final year of TAFE, I had to make a tailored coat and it was so hard - there is a video somewhere of Byron singing 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' but replacing 'Fun' with 'Coats' while I'm crying into my jacket. He was always very supportive in helping me get through that time.
4. We shot my first look book on the rocks at Clovelly with Rachel Rutt. It was super lo-fi and I remember Rachel had paint on her legs for some reason. We had no proper equipment and no hair or make-up team but it's still one of my favourite shoots ever. The next project we worked on was a short film for my collection, cut to a slightly stoned R. Rutt being put into a large tank we bought at 'reverse garbage' while we pour fluresent paint on her and almost flood our studio.
5. I have been collaborating with one of my all time favourite brands recently...I can't disclose who it is right now but it's really exciting and will be coming out in August.
6. I played the saxophone, I think mainly to be like Lisa Simpson, which is weird because now she is one of my least favourite characters. I did it for my HSC and then never picked it up again after my exam.
7. I won the recent BT Emerging Designer award, which was very exciting. I cried a bit onstage with Deborah Hutton, who is lovely. It was really nice to be acknowledged by the industry. It's been business as usual since then but there are some exciting things coming up through the award including a trip to LA.
8. I actually failed my first year of TAFE and had to repeat so it ended up taking 4 years. I told myself that if I was going to do my final year that I was going to push myself to get into fashion week, which is a challenge as they only choose 4 students. Most people who knew me probably laughed but I worked hard and achieved what I set out to do.
9. I have a dry sense of humour combined with a deep voice which means I often get asked to repeat interview questions with more 'enthusiasm'. I also catch my friends explaining to other people that I don't hate them, that I'm just like that. Some of my best friends actually thought I hated them when I met them.
10. Since Kanye West bought one of my backpacks a few years ago, I've also been lucky enough to have it picked up by other great artists I like including Azealia Banks, Grimes, M.I.A and Kimbra.
Text Briony Wright
Photography Byron Spencer