Author Archives: secretculture

About secretculture

Secret Culture is my Fashion Label it also represents the work I do as a custom Designer Dressmaker

Recreating our own custom version of the Pennywise scare clown from IT for scare actor Cosplay artist Cliff Dorian


Being contacted to make a scare clown costume was not my idea of fun.

When first contacted I was in shock.

Thoughts ran through my brain like ‘perhaps I am being stalked by a scare clown’. This was when all the hype of scary clowns chasing people on back streets was all about. ‘Perhaps when he shows up for his appointment he will bring a large knife and stab me’ I know now how irrational these thoughts were but at the time I was incredibly intrigued. I have not met a more lovely celebrity than Cliff Dorian.

I didn’t realise that being a scare actor was actually a job let alone a money making enterprise. Which as much as it brings serious joy to the lives of those children and adults that see the Pennywise costume, it is also one of the many faces of Cliff Dorian notorious Australian scare actor.

Cliff arrived at our first appointment with no knives and seemed a rather gentle soul. As we sat and drank a cup of tea together we started discussing the design and how he really wanted to pay homage to Stephen King’s Pennywise and soon decided that we match enough to begin the design process together. I drew up a quick sketch with his measurements

Little did I know the long and extremely hard stitching journey I was being commissioned upon in producing the Pennywise costume. The days when your in the sewing room for several hours at a time are just a necessary function of my business to create whatever look I have been commissioned to make. Here I am with Cliff Dorian in one of several fittings over the creation process journey we went on together.

We had to think a hell of a lot about every facet of the design process as making each piece of the garment was totally different to anything else that I would make custom for the 21st century. Cliff was very particular about what he needed and was very easy to work with in discussing viable solutions to each part of the design process that we had. From the way the collar was frilled to how the pantaloons blew out. How to create something that will move with his body in a fabric that would be versatile enough to last wash after wash and performance after performance. With months of work in the sewing room we made something quite beautifully horrible.

We looked at everything that was being offered in the market and looked at how our costume would be different to other cosplayers doing the same thing. Cliff as a professional cosplayer wanted the best finish possible. We discussed even making the garment in silk but decided for functionality it would be better to use a cotton nylon stretch blend. we searched everywhere to find proper images of the original costume so we could make it as realistic as possible but different enough through fit and fabric that it is not an exact copy. As copying the actual design 100% would be breaching copyright on the Pennywise design. Which is both morally and legally wrong. So we continued the design process onwards for months back and forth determining every single detail to perfection. Pinning every piece in place and making multiple changes to the look to fit and to the style. Like the length of the jacket to get the right proportion to Cliffs body. Everything had to be just right. After I completed my part we sent the costume over to Amanda Smythe to do further customisation to get the costume to look like it’s come right out of a sewer and look like the alien monster that Stephen King wrote about. We had a blast working together and at the end Cliff and I attended one of Cliff’s multiple Halloween events. Halloween at Lithgow. Here’s the final result

Here we are having a cuddle at the end🤡

Professional photograph by Lighthouse Photography Sydney.

Professional scare actor Cliff Dorian

Custom Costume pattern making and sewing The Dressmaker Secret Culture.

Professional Costume further customisation added dying and special FX Amanda Smythe

Mask by Shattered FX

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Authentic Creatives & designers a dying group


Designers and original makers are dying out. We are going extinct and being replaced with big machinery and cheap overseas labour. Not only that whenever we make something that is authentic it is copied. That I don’t mind. I just want to let people know that working with our hands and a sewing machine is an art form and the fact that you meet someone who can sketch an image, draw their own pattern, cut and sew from start to finish is rare nowadays and I’m amongst the youngest in this field in Australia that can make anything from the beginning.

When you look at a dress in a retail store that costs $350 it has went through so many hands for each piece and the fabric sourced all over the world but made in less than an hour. When an authentic creative makes you something for $350 +++ it would of taken many more hours or days to produce. The sewing of retail clothing is hardly done in Australia nowadays and is mostly done in India, Bali, China, Phillipines, Turkey etc where the dollar is cheaper. I don’t mind that but do not compare an authentic designer or creative who makes one off designs or capsule collections to the mass produced market or to something you buy from the retail store.

For 19 + years I have been slowly learning my craft. Just bits a pieces here and there picking up every piece of knowledge that I can from people, from books and just generally learning as much as I can of anything at all that I can apply to my field. It is my obsession and my dream. I am young to be running my own business as a Designer Dressmaker but I created my job because I saw a need in the market. Plus until I started calling myself The Designer Dressmaker nobody else had put those words together. The decline of dressmaking and especially dressmakers that make their own patterns is obvious in Australia adding further value to what is left. We are a dime a dozen. Help contribute to Australian dressmakers or local dressmakers if you aren’t Australian because otherwise we may just die out and who shall you buy an authentic designer dress from.

I’m going to rock this year. You should too. 🤘🏻


Vivienne Westwood


Vivienne Westwood(Dame) is a British fashion designer who has touched the rebellious hearts of almost every fashion student and designer since she barrelled into the fashion scene guns blazing with rebellious messages, political, sexual and just punk coolness.

Westwood started designing clothes with Malcolm Mclaren manager of the sex pistols after leaving her first husband for Mclaren who at the stage of meeting hadn’t started managing the band yet.

The punk style was clothing that was BDSM, dog collars, bondage gear, safety pins, chokers and this all went with total punk style Mohawks and cool hair that was just different at the time.

The hard thing about being different is when you look different everyone is watching and you get both love and hate. Westwood thrived from creating new fashion and redesigning the world we live in now as definitely she marked history by being outrageous and that is why she is still well loved and respected amongst the fashion community.

Here is Vivienne Westwood Latest collection


Alessandro Michelle


Italian born designer Alessandro Michelle is the creative director of Gucci since January 2015 and he is in charge of the global brand image of the label.

He was named on Time Magazines top 100 most influential people in the artist category for 2017 and so is really peaking in his career at this stage.

His latest collection was the 2018 cruise which was inspired by mythology and the renaissance. Although looking closely it was a mix of the ages. He’s drawn from all different eras and masterfully brought it together as a mish mash of culture and time.

Born in 1972 Alessandro studied at the Accademia di costume e Di Moda Rome. Beginning his early career designing for Fendi before being snapped up by Tom Ford in 2002 where he took on a variety of roles competing to the creative director role.

In 2015 he was awarded International fashion designer of the year (British Fashion Awards) and again in 2016.

With an international designer of the year award in 2016 from the CFDA Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Here is Alessandro being interviewed in the studio by the New York Times. Interview NYT

Here is the latest Gucci 2018 Cruise collection.


John Galliano


Picture from Jan welters

Born in Gibraltor and I know your like where the hell is Gibraltor or I was anyway so I looked it up. It’s a territory on the edge of Spain that is British and a part of the UK. 
John Galliano is both British and Spanish and his outgoing creativity and attitude to life has made him so very successful! 

Named British designer of the year four times and ran Givenchy in 1995 Christian Dior in 1996 and John Galliano 1988 to 2011 followed by Maison Margiela which he is currently running.

Juan Galliano whose mother was a Flamenco teacher actually was teased a lot in English boys grammar because of his clothes being flamboyant and interesting. 

Galliano graduated from Saint Martins school of art in 1984 with first collection “les Incroyables” being inspired by the French Revolution. Which was a great success and was sold at Browns the retailer.

After some time with his own label John Galliano went bankrupt in 1990 and even though he was financially at wits end he knew what he wanted and he didn’t give up! He moved to Paris and began again with financial backing from Moroccan designer Faycal Amor.

His first show hit the runway in 1989 as a part of Paris Fashion Week. 

In 1993 Amor cut his backing and Anna Wintour Vogue editor in chief  and André Leon Talley European correspondent for Vaniry Fair introduced Galliano to a backer Sao Schlumberger, John Bult and Mark Rice. They backed his label and gave him credibility to market his designs amongst the Parisians. 

Amongst all the social drama and the wild party life John Galliano is an amazing designer and will be in the history books of fashion forever. 

Here is his latest collection for Maison Margiela 


Jimmy Choo


Image from Buro247

Jimmy Choo king of the shoe 👠 is a Malaysian designer based in the U.K. Who was born in Penang and whose real last name was Chow. 

We all know him as a major player in the footwear arena with his shoes being worn by the most famous people on the planet with a price tag to match the awesome unique designs he delivers. 

Jimmy Choo made his first pair of shoes at 11 after being born into a family of shoe makers where he was taught by his father.

Before Jimmy was noticed he was working as a cleaner in a shoe factory and in restaurants aswell as studying at what is now the London College of Fashion.

In 1986 he opened his own shop which due to the nature of his work became noticed landing him in an 8 page feature in Vogue and the backing of princess Dianna in 1988 who absolutely loved his handmade shoes. 

In 1996 Jimmy Choo started Jimmy Choo limited with vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon. If you look at articles in vogue there was a somewhat dramatic break up there. Need I say no more. 

Jimmy Choo sold his 50% stake in Jimmy Choo limited for 10 million pounds but the shoes still make me breathless. Such beauty and elegance. He now concentrates on the Jimmy Choo couture line licenced from jimmy Choo limited.

Because Jimmy Choo isn’t doing ready to wear anymore and is only doing custom here is a video with him teaching from Curtin University on YouTube. It’s genius!

If you still need to see the latest Jimmy Choo limited check this link. Shimmer in the Dark The latest collection by Jimmy Choo Ltd.


Stella McCartney


Image from The telegraph

English born fashion designer and daughter of Paul McCartney of the Beatles Stella McCartney was born to fame. 

Known for her use of animal friendly fabrics in design and her animal rights position. 

At 16 Stella interned at Christian Lacroix  and worked for her fathers Savile row tailor Edward Sexton for many years to learn the trade. Studying at Ravensbourne college of design and communication followed by Central Saint Martins and her final collection was modelled for free by Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon & Kate Moss. 
In 1997 McCartney was appointed to creative director of Chloé. 

In 2001 Stella launched her own fashion house Stella McCartney as a part of the Gucci group(now known as Kering…. they basically own a bunch of luxury labels founded in 1963 based in Paris) 

It owns luxury brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Brioni, as well as Puma and Volcom in its Sport & Lifestyle portfolio . 

In 2003 Stella launched her own fragrance Stella and 2007 her skin care line Care. 
In 2008 McCartney launched her lingerie line.

In November 2010 McCartney launched her children’s wear line. 

In November 2016 McCartney launched her first men’s wear collection. 

Here’s Stella McCartneys 2017 2018 Fall Winter Collection 


Top 5 celebrity Halloween costumes 2017 


1. Sara Sampaio- in a world where the majority of people only care about how they look. Sara makes fun of the superficial. 
2. Heidi Klum- dressing as an old woman takes preps. 


3. Rita Ora as poison Ivy. Honestly one of my my favourite costume ideas of all time. 


4. Shanina Shaik goes space girl. Always hot especially when there is a platinum body suit involved!

5. Kim Kardashian & good friend Jonathan Cheban as Sony and Cher. Kimmy has absolutely rocked it showing her fit waist. 


Carolina Herrera


Image from House of Herrera

Venezuala born designer Carolina Herrera showed her first collection in 1981 at the Newyork Metropolitan club. 
Designing Caroline kennedys bridal gown in 1986 Carolina follows it up with her first bridal collection in 1987 and fragrance in 1988 for women and 1991 releases her first fragrance for men. In 2000 Herrera opens her flagship store in Newyork on Maddison Avenue & 75th street. 

In 2001 Herrera releases CH Carolina Herrera her first lifestyle collection of ready to wear for men women and children in Madrid Spain. 

In 2004 the council of Fashion Designers awards Herrera the “Women’s Fashion Designer of the Year Award”. In 2008 the Council of Fashion Designers awards Herrara a “Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award”. 

Here is her latest 2017/2018 winter fall collection


Jean Paul Gaultier 


Image from Vogue

French born designer Jean Paul Gaultier was never formally trained but from sheer talent was picked up in the 1970’s by Pierre Cardin then in 1971 worked with Jean Patou and Jacques Esterel before releasing his first signature collection in 1976. Jean Paul Gaultier was playful and fun in his design and inspired by popular culture. He influenced streetwear in the 80’s. Gaultier was popularised by his use of unusual models and his introduction of the man skirt.

Gaultier was the creative director of Hermes from 2003-2010.

In 2017 Jean Paul Gaultier released his Fall winter 2017/2018 collection


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