When it comes to fabric, we outsource them. What it means is we buy our fabrics from local fabric suppliers, however they are not made in Australia.
Thank you for the amazing opportunity, Adriana! XOXO
Jessica Awad is a talented Australian designer, she's the creator of Jessica A label and is no newbie on the scene, with much experience and expertise after working for different brands gaining her experience in the industry she has brought her own mark to the fashion industry.
I featured her label in my current shoot
What inspired you to become a fashion designer? Tell us a little about your journey so far…
As a little girl, I was always inspired by clothing and what the new upcoming pieces were, as well as looking through my mother's wardrobe filled with funky pieces from the 70's and 80's, this was my first steps in loving fashion and knowing I wanted to be involved in some way. After studying fashion through high school, i knew this was the industry for me. Through years of experience working under the umbrella of a fashion house and helping brands develop and create pieces into store, it was time to step away from the umbrella and begin my own label to get a touch of Jessica A to public.
What was you experience studying fashion design?
After failing to get into the design course I wanted. I applied and successfully got into a fashion production and design course at a Tafe institution, this in fact, turned out to be my better pathway as it allowed me, not only to learn about fashion design, but the process' involved in taking a design, to a pattern and into production. This was a great stepping stone in learning the trade steps and helped me enormously when i began working in the industry.
Your inspiration behind your current collection
Our current collection "Blossom into winter" range was inspired by the beautiful blossoms in summer I was surrounded by when developing my winter range. As i knew it was going to drop in the colder months, i decided to make the floral a subtle greyscale tone, so it suited the season correctly. Using the blossom print, i wanted to create beautiful but easy silhouette styles, that customer could wear from work to dinner to out on the town without having to change anything but their flats to their heels.
How do you go about sourcing your fabric?
I'm very lucky when it comes to sourcing fabrics, as I have an awesome fabric agent overseas who helps source out the quality fabrics I'm after. When I am forecasting I will look at the upcoming trends in fabrications that are coming through and decide whether or not they are right for my target audience. At the start of every sourcing season, I will send a list to my agent who will find the fabrics that i'm after and will send a library of different options for me to select and choose for the coming range.
Tell us a little bit about your process in creating a collection - from concept to design and creation?
Every collection that is created takes a lot of thought processing and time. I begin by forecasting the trends filtering through from the catwalks of the US and European fashion markets. Its at this point, where I will create a plan of action on the upcoming trends, colours, fabrics and styles that will be the in thing for the upcoming seasons. From here I need to calculate how to change these points of trends to suit the Australian market and to ensure that the Jessica A The Label identity is filtered through these future crazes. Once I have worked out what key points I would like to grasp from the trends, I will begin to design the collection, with a hint of trend but ensuring that our key easy gal attitude of Jessica A stays within the collection. As much as Jessica A likes to be up to the market with designs, our focus of forecasting, mainly transparent's through our prints, colours and fabrications, as we like to keep our styling simple and not overly commercial, as we want our ladies to be able to wear our collections for seasons to come. From here, I then send my designs and specifications of our standard fit to my factories, whom then begin sampling the collection. They will then send these samples to my team and I for fitting, the sampling and fit process will go back and forth until the fit and collection is right. It's at that stage we will begin selling the range.
What is the most challenging thing about creating a label? ……And the most rewarding?
The whole thing is a challenge, from the general fears of whether or not the label will be loved by the world and how to get the word out there that Jessica A exists!!! To the ins and outs of not only running a label but a business ahhh!! It's not all creative vibes flowing, there's even mathematical challenges I face almost everyday, that drives me crazy but it's all worth the stress and lose of night sleeps, when you see a customer in the streets or on social media excited to be wearing your label!!!
How do you feel the name change of your brand? Are you targeting a different audience and what was the story behind the brand label name change?
I am very excited with both the label name change and our new website launch. The new name is a lot more appealing and clean, which relates to the styles that we have always and will always offer. Easy to wear and fresh styling.This season Jessica A. offers retailers a collection that puts a heavy focus on creating pieces that have a designer aesthetic, yet still keeping the collection commercial and wearable, appealing to the labels original market.
We are not targeting a difference audience, we are just wanting to expand it. We are looking at making Jessica A. a brand that will appeal to the Boutique market, as well as continue to sell to our more mainstream retailers. We want to strike a great balance, of still being able to offer our more commercial customers what they want and expect from the label, however our focus has now moved to creating exclusive designer capsule collections within all our ranges, which will be offered only to the Boutique market.
Your biggest achievement with your brand?
Stocking with The Iconic
Describe Jessica A in 3 words
Fresh, Easy to wear, Price driven
Dancing the night away (and singing even though my voice is no Whitney Houston)
Get to know Jessica a little more……
I never leave the house without my… my phone
Favourite song at the moment : John Legend and Sam Smith song - Lay me down
My most prized item in my wardrobe : My prada case bag
flats or heels : heels
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
Special thanks to Jessica xx
Kirsty Irwin is a self-taught fashion designer from Adelaide. Having started at a young age her talent was strong and didn’t go unnoticed. Before Kirsty would get ready for the weekend she would think to herself “if I could wear anything what would it be”?. From there she would then go on to design her own clothes and draw them from scratch. Such a talented person it takes to do this. Kirsty first began working in retail and from there working as a wholesale fashion agent. After gaining experience she then went on to create KIRSTY IRWIN & JAGGAR the label. Now relaunching her self-named brand KIRSTY IRWIN. One of her main focuses is on cutting edge style, and quality as well as high-end pieces for individuals.
You’ve created not one but two labels! Tell us about JAGGAR The Label. How was it creating your first brand? It must’ve been exciting to get your ideas out and creating a collection!
I had actually started Kirsty Irwin before JAGGAR & that is how Australian Fashion Labels stumbled upon me as a designer. Starting up a label is a very exciting experience and I would encourage anyone to give it a crack, if you have a true passion for it.
Tell us, What made you want to create your own self-named label?
Although I had almost complete creative control with JAGGAR, designing/owning your own namesake label is a completely different experience. This is what I have always wanted to do in life, so I’m just going for it!
Typical day in the office?
Step 1- Get caffeinated… This is a very important step!
Step 2- Answer the abundant amount of emails you have received overnight.
Step 3- Could be anything! The best thing about this job is that no day is the same. Anything from designing, fittings, fabric approvals, to the administration side of the business.
What inspires you when you’re designing a collection?
I find both music & travel my biggest sources of inspiration.
How do you go about sourcing your products? Especially leather, I’ve always been so curious about the process (I'm a big fan of leather jackets… I love them!) Tell us about how you source your leather- to creating a leather jacket or leather skirt. What is the process?
I am a huge leather lover, as you probably know. So it’s all about the quality of the leather. I don’t start designing until I have found the leather that puts a smile on my dial. The process for leather styles always take a little longer, so I have to do these styles before the rest of the collection. So it’s really the leather that sets the mood for the collection sometimes.
What’s it like to see both worlds from model to fashion designer?
My sister is the one living the #modellife! I decided to stop that at a very young age. I think immersing yourself in as many sides of the fashion industry is always a good idea.
What is the most challenging thing about creating a label?
There is so much more to it that just designing. Obviously the business side is another huge aspect. You have to wear many hats, so sometimes you aren’t going to know how to wear some of them.
……And the most rewarding? If I see someone in one of my designs as I am walking down the street I give myself a little mental fist pump. I get a real kick out of girls that just contact me on social media, appreciating all the time and effort gone into their garment.
How would you describe your personal style? Does it reflect into your designs?
I always cringe when having to describe my “style”… I like to mix grungy, worn in pieces & match it back with more structured, sophisticated style. This will definitely be imminent in the KIRSTY IRWIN collections.
Your biggest achievement with your brand?
Seeing JAGGAR on the runway at Fashion Week, has been my career highlight so far. Watch this space!
And lastly, any advice and tips to people who want to get into the industry!
Prepare to work hard & be ready to overcome some hurdles along the way… It’s a wild ride, so make sure you hang on!
5 Second chit-chat with Kirsty…
Most treasured item in your closet? My first ever design… A pair of crazy leather pants!
The person that inspires me the most…… My amazing boyfriend, Tom! He is pretty much a design assistant ha ha.
When I leave the house I never leave without my…..My phone! Instagram never sleeps.
Dream location shoot? Somewhere no one else has ever been allowed.
If I could go anywhere right now I’d go to…………………………… Mexico!
Describe the fashion industry in three words. Exciting, innovative & challenging.
Definition of Style. What does style mean to you? I personally think true style is not something that can be taught; you are born with it running through your veins.
Meet fashion designer student Hayleah Ralph. Hayleah is inspired by all things fantasy and mystical. Having always been surrounded by Art at a young age, her childhood days were filled with countless art and craft activities. She was encouraged to express herself and think outside the box and question normality.
Now as a designer Her imagination runs wild and free. She strongly encourages the expression of ones self through fashion and to be the main character of your own fairy tail. Hayleah is finalising her studies at Academy of Design(Bachelor in Design Arts Majoring in Fashion Design) Inspiring her to create her own fashion label right here in Melbourne called Delightful Darling. Her creations are marvellously unique wholly inspired and based upon fairytale books. I was thrilled to collaborate with Hayleah and her collection, it is based on “The Folk of the Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton.
How long have you wanted a career in fashion?
Many designers have dreamt of being a designer since when they were little, but for me it was right at the end of year twelve. When I was choosing what university courses to apply for. I have always enjoyed being creative and dressing up but it wasn’t until then that I really considered a career in fashion.
Tell us about your brand delightful darling
“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.” Delightful Darling aims to embody and share the essence of this statement with the world. Specialising in feminine aesthetic and child like details. The label is all about expressing yourself and having a play with your own look. The collection is exceptionally versatile; incorporating many reversible pieces. This creating ultimate wear ability and allowing the customer to tailor the collection to their own personal style.
You’re currently a student at academy of design in your final year of fashion design ,tell us more about your current experience with the academy of design and what you have achieved since attending.
Through out my time at the Academy I’ve been encouraged to really push myself as a creative,br I feel this has shaped me into the designer I am today. Last year I was lucky enough to be selected for a scholarship with a group of nine other students. I traveled to Paris and London on a two week study. This experience was a huge eye opener for me because i had experienced so much culture and exciting opportunities with the scholarship. This year I also asked to participate in “ A Capital Collection “ runway show as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program. I was asked to create two looks based on the 60’s. This was a great event as it allowed me to network with other creative people.
How did you go about sourcing your material for this collection?
A lot of research!! I used utilised websites such as aliexpress and alibaba to help me out.
What inspires you with your brand?
I tend to find my inspiration for Delightful Darling through children’s story books. The launch collection is based on “The Folk of the Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton. The clothes incorporate many hidden details and features like The Enchanted Forrest itself. I aim to carry the story book theme through out all future collections and base every new collection on a different story book.
Who is your target market?
The target customer is a woman who showcases the same fairy tail style and attitudes that the Delightful Darling holds. Puts great thought into how they visually present themselves and uses their style to express themselves in a way of empowerment. The environment in which the label is aimed at are occasions such as tea and garden parties but also whenever the customer wants to feel “classy and fabulous.”
This collection you created something very different with your garments! Tell us.
The collection incorporates some detachable accessories such as cuffs and collars. This adding to the wear ability of the collection and also a feminine touch to any outfit . These accessories also carry their own surprise whimsical feature, they are scented with Jasmine. When these accessories are purchased they also come with a small bottle of scented detergent for them to be hand washed with to reinforce the scent.
What gives you inspiration?
As a designer I gain my inspiration from many places. I really like femininity and anything bright and colourful. I love Spring afternoons and fairytales. I remember standing in Lincraft once and getting overly excited about this beautiful rainbow chiffon material that I found. It had immediately reminded me of a butterfly that I had seen, i knew at that moment i had to have it and create something out of it. I ended up buying the whole ten meters that was left of it!
Have you completed any internship?
Last year I interned for nine weeks at Megan Park. It was a great insight into the industry and networking opportunity.
What are your goals would you like to be an independent brand or work for a brand?
My goal is to develop my label Delightful Darling over the next few years while working for an established designer within the industry to build up my experience. Then ultimately I’d love to work full time on my own independent label.
What fashion designers do you look up to?
There are so many designers that I look up to. One in particular is Melbourne based designer Petrova Hammond, who is the head designer for “Lady Petrova”. I really admire her outlook on the fashion industry and her feminine aesthetic. I actually invited her to the “A Capital Collection” runway that I participated it at the beginning of the year. It was a great opportunity to have a chat to her and hear her advise. I have also invited her to my graduate show at the end of this year and am excited to have her view my collection.
What are your future plans do you wish to achieve?
I would love to have Petrova stock the Delightful Darling label in her boutique . This would be a great achievement for me as I feel the label it extremely suited to that environment. I would also like to travel some more and experience all that life has to offer.