In the last 4 weeks, I have been attending several evening events called Fashion Talks, held at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
The talks featured some of Australia’s best designers and provided a rare opportunity to hear them speak about their backgrounds, journey into fashion, concepts behind their aesthetics and more.
I went to all four of the talks by Akira Isogawa, Antipodium, Josh Goot and Marnie Skillings, and got to meet some of the designers briefly.
Me and fashion designer Josh Goot (who is rather hot if you ask me!). For some reason, he stopped smiling when the camera came out. Perhaps he has been hanging around with fashion models too long?
I thought that the format would be like a formal presentation, with each designer speaking for an hour, behind a podium, with a power point presentation, or something like that.
But it was much cooler than that! The format was chat-show interview style – two lounge chairs and a coffee table – with a facilitator (Jo Pickup) asking questions and the designer responding with interesting stories. This allowed their personalities to shine through, and the whole thing was like a relaxed conversation. It was very intimate and honest and I really enjoyed them.
There were many strong themes during all four talks – one was fashion as a creative outlet. I identified with this the most, because I am familiar with the creative process, and how design concepts start from inspiration, move through a development process and finally turn into a finished product. It was interesting to see how the design process is the same across all creative mediums.
But another strong theme was insight into the fashion industry. This covered all kinds of fascinating details such as sourcing material and fabrics, choosing patternmakers, seamstresses, quality control, stock distribution, investing in international fashion shows and trade shows.
The most interesting thing was hearing how each designer had done it differently – some chose to have garments made locally or overseas, some chose not to participate in international shows, some have a huge team working for them and some only employ 6 people etc.
And lastly, what I found to be most interesting, was the strong theme of fashion as a business.
They talked about balancing the creative direction with commercial appeal. Being mindful of budgets and financial forecasts. Being more strategic with returns on their investments of money and time. Each designer would say something like, “At the end of the day, it’s all about making money. We’re a business.”
I found myself walking away from each of the Fashion Talks deeply inspired. It was amazing to strip away the “fantasy of fashion” and hear about the nuts and bolts involved in running a fashion label. It was very inspiring to hear different ways people have chosen to run their business, and succeeded!
And while some might not agree, I liked the fact that we can hear designers talk so openly and honestly, and see that they are not gods, and that they are not all high-and-mighty.
It’s nice to know that they have a business to run and bills to pay, and really, they are just like the rest of us.