Local sweetheart and student at the Victorian College of the Arts.
How do your personal values shape your study/work?
When I was little, I used to go to my grandparents’ twice a week for what I called ‘making days’. I would sit down at a little table overloaded with utensils and paper, cut up everything I could find and coat everything in glitter. I called this back room of my grandparents’ house ‘the craft shop’. I think the concept behind these days is something I still really value; all I want to do is create.
Studying art, I see my friends getting excited at the first realisation of a new idea—making something that brings a form of pleasure to the them, something new and innovative. It’s the joy in their faces as they start creating something they love that I find most satisfying. I think this is the core principle I want to find in everything. I’m not so focused on outward excess, simply creating something new.
How would you describe your relationship with fashion/clothing?
Still being fairly young (17), and not ‘in’ the chaotic and bustling fashion industry, I view this world from the outside by researching designers, scouring through look books, and looking up stylists. I love the story behind a garment; the quality, the texture, the composition. There is a joy in finding pieces from different designers and collections and matching them together. Buying an outfit that’s entirely from the same brand or collection isn’t styling yourself—it’s like kids playing with a Lego set that has instructions outlining where each piece goes with a predetermined result. That isn’t creative or innovative, it’s planned for you. Which is why you see hundreds of people in the exact same outfit.
Style is being able to piece garments together from different designers and stores, with your cousin’s sweater she doesn’t wear anymore, and with that tartan skirt your grandma bought from Country Road twenty years ago. The story is everything. Lately I’ve found myself wearing my mum’s jacket that she bought in Bali during the 80s while on holiday with her boyfriend. When I first wore it she told me her boyfriend had a matching one (lame), then her eyes widened and she quickly checked the pockets—she was concerned a certain substance might have still been in there from thirty years ago. It’s all about the story.
The Slow Fashion movement means…
It’s the quality, in all senses of the word. That’s the difference between slow fashion and the regular churning out of items only to be thrown out after a few wears. It’s the care and integrity of a product, the fact that it has been made to last. Fashion isn’t a purchase that only has to last one season; there is a real beauty in the longevity of products. As Margaret Howell said, ‘I prefer clothes that get better with age—cotton raincoats that get softer, moleskin that wears in well.’
I like the idea of fashion being like an artwork you place on your wall; there is a lot of consideration in purchasing it, often through reading about the artist and their intentions. It is hung respectfully and where it will go on your wall is carefully considered. Maybe for a while you will replace it with a different framed work, but it will always fit in somewhere and match the decor.
“I gave away everything I didn’t wear anymore, and came to the realisation that I wasn’t actually a part of the fashion industry, I was just another part of consumerism.”
What is your personal uniform?
Most mornings I’m rolling out of bed, dragging myself to get some milk and muesli, allowing a total of six minutes to throw an outfit together. This isn’t the point in the story where I pull together a perfectly coordinated outfit and walk out the door like I’m entering a runway. Unfortunately I usually look like I’ve compiled my outfit from the lost property basket you find at a primary school. So I would have to say I survive on black jeans and ‘mum’ jumpers; these get me through the weekdays.
How are your attitudes toward fashion changing as you get older?
My attitude towards fashion is always evolving. When I first started really caring about fashion, I found myself throwing hundreds of dollars at everything I liked. I felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement when I found a garment that was perfect for an upcoming party. After six months however, I was empty-walleted with clothes everywhere, and my style had already changed. I gave away everything I didn’t wear anymore, and came to the realisation that I wasn’t actually a part of the fashion industry, I was just another part of consumerism. These days I’m much more about the story, and the process of carefully piecing items together. I now appreciate the sense of gratification that comes from having a small wardrobe of valuable items.
Who / what do you look to for style cues and why?
My grandma and mum, purely because I have never known them to lie to comfort my ego. When I was little we used to spend hours aimlessly wandering around clothing stores with price tags much too big for my Pumpkin Patch age. I’d buy a colourful dress, and be greeted with the question, ‘Why didn’t you get it in black?’ They knew what was up.
I acquainted my seven year old self with independent brands while scavenging old clothes in my mum’s wardrobe. I remember pulling something out to wear to school, and discovering that back in the day it cost my mum $400. Twenty years later, however, it was still in great condition and looking brand new. Maybe that’s when I started considering price per wear and the importance of quality.
"I need to pay respect to a particular garment that is often overlooked in my wardrobe—my fleece pants. These warm, comfortable Kathmandu pants sit patiently in a drawer in my room. Not many people even know I own them, yet they wait for every camping holiday that comes along."
Who has impacted your life the most and how so?
Being young and impressionable, there are a number of people I’ve met throughout my life who have impacted me most. There have been a few friends and family members whose opinions I’ve valued greatly, and who have shaped the way I view the world and my place in it. One time, in discussion with a friend of mine about the patterns of people’s behaviours and world events, he introduced me to the Fibonacci sequence—the mathematical spiral pattern that constantly appears in nature. It really put everything into perspective, that we are all part of a bigger picture, and that we should start considering life that way.
What tends to keep you up at night?
I find myself only wanting to write, read, plan, cook, clean past 10pm—all the things that would have been ideal to do during the day. What kept me up last night was reading pieces by Yoko Ono and sending my favourite stanzas to friends, followed by reading a book filled with words that can’t be translated into English. For example, karelu, which is the mark left on the skin by wearing something tight—a word I personally think we need to start using in day-to-day conversations.
Is there a garment that has had a special place in your life or is linked to a treasured moment?
I’ve gone through a lot of favourite garments. I went through this period where I was in love with a raincoat that I wore over everything. When I was twelve I bought my first pair of skinny jeans and I thought I was the bee’s knees, though more recently I have discovered the most comfortable pair of linen pants in the world and which are currently a major favourite.
I think for this question, however, I need to pay respect to a particular garment that is often overlooked in my wardrobe—my fleece pants. These warm, comfortable Kathmandu pants sit patiently in a drawer in my room. Not many people even know I own them, yet they wait for every camping holiday that comes along. At sunset when no one is around, I slip them on, sit in front of the campfire, and enjoy being in their warm cocoon. The world might not be ready for them but, when they are, I will be the first to endorse them.
Photography Claire Summers
Production Sigrid McCarthy