Dream Monstar: Ella

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Ella is the fashion designer and founder of Australian womens street wear label DREAMMONSTAR. I had met Ella a couple of years back and was an admirer of her brand. I was instantly intrigued by her collection when I first came across the label at a Neverland store. Dream Monstar is not only designed but created right here in Australia. Her brand is stylish and fashion forward; Dream Monstar is well-known for their muscle tops, street luxe style and neoprene swimwear collections. Her playful and statement designs would complete any savvy fashionistas wardrobe. Ella is now not only simply sold in Australia, but has succeeded to stock her brand in America. Such as online NASTY GAL and Kourtney Kardashian store - DASH boutique just to name a few.

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” Dream Monstar is for both dreamers and monstars, and each collection reflects this. We are dreamers with a soft, feminine side, but we are also monstars, rock inspired groupies. The choice is yours, join us in the clouds or down on the wild side.”

Ella how did you get into fashion tell us your story.

I have always been obsessed with everything design – from fashion to print media, art and architecture. I’ve subscribed to Vogue, Harpers and ELLE USA since I was young and would pour over the pages for hours. I still have all issues archived at home.. I started designing swimwear before I worked on Dream Monstar. My husband designs / owns a number of menswear labels and when we met I realised it was the perfect time to start my dream and create my own label. Dream Monstar was born. 

What is your label about? How many years did it take for your brand to make the scene?

Dream Monstar is started as a street wear label for every girl, the ‘dream’ girl who likes more feminine pieces and the ‘monstar’ girl who’s a little edgier.

I was really lucky and launched Dream Monstar as social media was making waves. The label’s social media profile grew fast and with that the brand awareness was strengthened. We then showed at the trade shows in the US, found an LA showroom and sold to Nasty Gal, Dolls Kill and the Kardashian’s DASH stores across the US.

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You create day/sleepwear, swimwear and candles tells us a little bit about the progress of each when sourcing to selecting your materials to achieve the final product?

For our fashion and swimwear collections I am inspired by travel, editorial shoots, blogs, fashion sites and runway collections. It’s a long process from sourcing inspiration to receiving samples, shooting our look book and then retailing our product. Each season is completely different, that’s what keeps things fresh.

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?

Honestly – the whole process. Sourcing inspiration online is totally addictive, planning and shooting look books and campaigns is also extremely creatively fulfilling. Taking a garment from an idea t hrough to a finished product is such a rewarding feeling. I live for travel – it truly ensures constant evolution and a fresh approach to the process.

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Who’s your inspiration/ fashion designers who you look up to?

On an international level, I am always inspired by Karl Lagerfeld / Chanel, Olivier Rousteing and his Balmain collections, also labels Emilio Pucci, Saint Laurent and Isabel Marant. Also the glamour of the 70s and the history of LA life.

What gives you inspiration for each collection you create, do you go on fashion trips to gain inspiration?

Inspiration can come from many mediums – from a print created in a landscape to interior styling and runway collections.  For our collections we undertake intensive research online and also go on vacation for true inspiration. I love getting over to the US for inspiration – almost every aspect of our trips there bring inspiration.

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What’s your current achievement with the brand that you are most proud of?

Our stockists in the US are pretty damn cool – we loved seeing Dream Monstar on Nasty Gal and also on Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian. Particularly knowing they had chosen to wear our label, we don’t pay people to wear our pieces.

And lastly, any advice to people who want to get into the industry!

It can definitely be a really difficult industry to succeed in, need to have a creative eye, fresh concepts, financial backing and a super strong work ethic and determination to make it. Never give up and remember, everything happens for a reason.

Special thanks to Ella xx

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Check out all the collections Ella has created HERE Instagram: Website: www.dreammonstar.com.au

KIRSTY IRWIN

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Special thanks to Kirsty xx Website: http://www.kirstyirwin.com Instagram: kirstyirwinofficial Blog: http://kirstyirwin.blogspot.com.au

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.

MAUDE Studio

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Glitz and Glamour there is never a dull moment with the emerging designer Courtenay. Founder of Melbourne label MAUDE Studio

Having handcrafted all her collection to shimmer perfection. Courtenay’s hard work shows in all her ultimate statement pieces.

I sat down with Courtenay for our interview inside a café, below where her studio is situated. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek upstairs. I must say it’s very enchanting to see the full range out in display I was mesmerised by the handbags, a truly beautiful collection. From lined up bags to cabineted glitzy sparkly shoes she had hand embellished herself.

Did you study fashion?

I attended RMIT’s, Bachelor Of Design (Fashion) course, I graduated in 2008 with first class honours.

I was awarded Most Promising Student in 2007, which was judged by Karen Rieschieck, owner of Alice Euphemia which was a little boutique in the Nicholson building which housed independent Australian designers. After the completion of my course I moved overseas to Stockholm, Sweden. I interned for 6 months with local designers Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair. It was a small boutique fashion company where i got to work in all area's of the business. The designers there was really creative and inspiring, it was great to work alongside her.

What was it like to intern overseas?

I always knew when I graduated I wanted to go to Europe. My internship was for six months. It was a fantastic experience, because it was a really small team of seven people, so it was very hands on. After my internship I then started working for a much bigger company, which gave me a different skill set and valuable knowledge into the high street market.

What is your label about?

MAUDE Studio is very much about stand out pieces. I focus on capturing the preciousness of an object within wearability as well trying to make something fun, interesting and unique. It's also a celebration of design imagination. i want to develop the idea of creating preciousness within certain objects, that's what i'm exploring at the moment. I don't take myself too seriously and I love what I do. MAUDE Studio is about people who want to celebrate their unique personality and style. The brand is for anyone who is after something fun and interesting. The Maude customer is outgoing, independent and smiles involuntarily in response to shiny things. It's not so much about an age group, more about a mindset and attitude

What made you create this label? Tell us your story

I’ve always wanted to have my own design studio but before I could start on my own label, I wanted to gain some experience in the industry. After working within a small and super creative boutique design firm, I then worked at a much larger and more commercial fashion company, so I felt quite confident in being able to start my own label.

What’s a usual day in the office?

My studio overlooks a gallery space which is such a nice place to arrive to every morning. Basically at the moment I hand make all the pieces so that takes up most of my time. My usual day is centred around sewing, cutting out fabric pieces, applying all the hardware different gold hard wear plates installing them. Answering emails and getting in touch with people, being present online and in social media.

How many in you’re team?

Currently its just myself, however I have some really special and amazing people who have donated some of their time to helping me out at this early stage. Also I have worked really closely with Niika who are an amazing digital agency and managed to create an incredible website and online store which reflects the MAUDE Studio style.

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How did you learn to create and make your handbags?

I taught myself how to make them. I learnt at Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair that you can make anything you want however you want, there are no rules. Coming from a womenswear background, I approached handbags the same way you would a garment. However it was a long process of trial and error to make the bags perfect, as the they need to be practical, functional, long-lasting and durable-as well as pretty and fun!

How do you go about sourcing your products?

It just depends, I try to find my fabrics locally but unfortunately that is difficult. Often I can’t find what I need so I have sourced some of my fabrics though an overseas wholesaler, but where I can I will buy fabrics locally.

What materials do you use?

I use synthetic fabrics different variations of PU and PVC, as well as Polyester. I’m vegetarian so I prefer not to work with leather, and there are some really amazing synthetic fabrics available.

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Where is the final product made?

All items are handmade locally in Melbourne by hand.

How did you get to where you are now with your label?

Experience and hard work. Having worked for a small design label helped me learn how to run things in my own small business. In addition to this, working for a larger company helped gain an understanding from a really structured business perspective. I have also just completed a Certificate 4 in Small Business so that was really useful and relevant.

How and what gives your inspiration for each collection?

My first collection Blue Planet (2012) was very much inspire by David Attenborough’s documentary titled “The Blue Planet” I’ve always been fascinated by sea creatures and in this collection you can see it is very much present. It was a five piece woman’s wear capsule collection featuring delicate pleating and flounces to emulate underwater creatures.

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Glittermare (2013) was a mixture of shoes and clutches embellished with brightness and sparkles and spikes. I managed to source a whole heap of sample jewellery at the time and I came up with the idea to use all of those to regenerate something existing to make a new and exciting creation. I wanted to make pieces which were really over the top bling, crazy cool it was a scary fun look that I developed and applied onto clutches and shoes. I love the photos of this collection its one of my favourite shoots.

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The Candy Collection (2014) I knew I wanted to explore handbag design and so I decided to start to develop and focus on that. The Candy Collection is a 5 piece ensemble of bright and shimmery embellished handbags reflective of all things sugary sweet and artificial. It is currently available to purchase via the online store. I wanted to represent the feeling of being in a candy store but also make something beautiful and unique at the same time.

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My previous collections, Blue Planet and Glittermare were both developed as just personal creative outlet. Whereas The Candy Collection is my first commercial collection available for purchase

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?

Working for myself is great, I have so much creative freedom. Previously I had worked for a really big company so now working for myself I can explore different ideas and concepts that inspire and drive me as a designer. Being able to do what you love and what interests you then finding a customer who appreciates that is very rewarding.

What’s your advice on networking to all our emerging designers and students?

Be outgoing and introduce yourself, be interested in what other people are doing. Follow people up people and if your very genuine about yourself and what you love people will recognise that and be interested in helping you out. Also, be nice it’s free and you never know where it will lead you.

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What’s your current achievement with the brand that you are most proud of?

Getting my brand off the ground. Everything has come together really well and I’m really happy with the brand identity and the collection. I feel really proud of the online store and fortunate to have been able to work with Niika who have done such an amazing job with my website and online store. I’ve also had great people help me through the process supporting me at different stages with different things.

How many years did it take for your idea to hit reality and start becoming a reality?

The concept has been bubbling ever since I was a fashion student. But so far its been eight months and the online store launched a couple of weeks ago.

Who are your inspiration/ fashion designers who you look up to?

Lots of people as well lots of different things! I do have a huge appreciation for Manish Arora he is amazing. What he does is what I dream about doing, he’s really into embellishments and delicate designs, which I admire and love.

And lastly, any advice to people who want to get into the industry!

Try and align yourself with people who you admire and look up. Also with whom you want to see yourself as eventually. Try and get close to them and learn from them. My internship really defined me as a designer. Choose your internship wisely because your time is very precious, you have the potential to learn so much or so little. Additionally having a belief in what you're doing

Special thanks to Courtenay xx

WebsiteFacebook Instagram: maude_studio

Delightful Darling

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 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.

 

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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.

Youre 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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Advice for anyone who is currently studying fashion?

Never let an opportunity pass you by!

Special thanks to Hayleah xxx

Models: Adriana Perri Lewis Macmaster

Photographer: Ebony Finck Ebony J Finck Photography

Website Instagram: Delightful_Darling

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