Tag Archives: Bodalla

On shoot with Kovachrome and Secret Culture a sneak peak of artist photographer Amy Kovacs and designer Ashleigh Patel’s up and coming collection summer 2015

If you like what you see you can look at more online portfolio work by kovachrome on facebook at


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Behind the scenes at Secret Culture coastal photoshoot

Whilst on holidays on the South Coast I had the chance to catch up with the well known artist photographer Amy Kovacs and our fresh faced model Chloe Harpley. Amy Kovacs has been taking photographs on the South coast of Australia in NSW for more than 8 years professionally. Chloe Harpley just 16 was on her first shoot but did not leave us unimpressed.

You can contact Amy on 0402 898 499 and visit her online portfolio facebook page via this link https://www.facebook.com/kovachromephotography

Here are some behind the scenes photographs from the shoot.




Welcome to the Garden of Eden Collection 2012 ~ Secret Culture

Hi all this is my final collection that I made to finish my Tafe major work……There were trials and tribulations.Moments of sheer delight and overall a feeling of nausea. Here you will find the ups and lows of a design student.


Ok so It all started  whilst I was at Tafe last year in 2011 completing my diploma of Fashion Design & Technology…..

I had arrived home after completing a day of Tafe only to find that my mother was having tea with her best friend Sheryl. Something seemed wrong like my mother was deeply upset about something.I asked what was wrong…the words seemed to siphon from her lips.I could hear them but the moment was surreal.I was lost for words.I had lost one of the most important friends that I had ever had.Someone who had not only shaped my ideals about life as I grew up. This person had been the boy that I had loved like a brother my whole life. We had wrestled and we had fought just to laugh. We had climbed trees and danced like we were in the 1920’s. We had climbed mountains and abseiled off cliffs. Canoed down rivers and swam in inter tubes.We had hiked hundreds of kilometres over the period of knowing each other. We had visited Adelaide as scouts and we had visited Tasmania as venturers. I had lost a piece of myself that is only now a memory. Nicholas Brice went to school with me. We lived approximately 15 kilometres from each other in a small town region and Nick had went to primary school with me at Bodalla and then high school at Moruya on the South Coast of Australia. He had lost his brother just 2 years before and his brother Christopher was just as important to me and had been there through all the same.He was Nicks tag along. Everything Nick did, Chris did too. They were so much fun to be with. The energy that they had was so very amazing. It had a way of exciting you into doing just about the silliest things and sometimes the funnest things.

That is why I would like to dedicate my major collection to Nicholas Brice and Christopher Brice who both died of tragic causes and both through life and death shaped the person that I am today. I would not be where I am without either of them and they are two people that I can never and will never forget.

Last year after finding that Nick had tragically passed away after solo abseiling in Sydney at North rocks I was no longer able to concentrate on design.I became very upset and depressed and lost a huge amount of weight. In that same week as his passing I had an examination of my pattern making skills.Which I failed. The teachers had given me a second chance after failing me for my notching in a prior examination.I have to say in examination circumstances I turn into a marshmallow  A written examination is easy for me but a practical examination is really not my forte.I had failed my pattern making after passing every other weekly practical for the last year. This was my last chance.I was not going to pass this year however the teachers had offered that I return and complete my pattern making this year in 2012 and complete my final or major work in 2011.I decided that as there was no mercy for my situation and I was not going to get another chance that I would just leave.I couldn’t bare to do what I love. What I love is to design and to make dresses.I have loved it since I was a child sitting in my mothers sewing room playing with her threads and sewing my own pin cushions and pillow cases. I felt lost but I became hardened. I was angry at myself and ashamed. I knew that I could do so much better. The fact of the matter was the teachers that had been teaching me had really not understood me from the beginning. I was not the atypical fashion student. I was rough on the edges and perhaps a real tomboy. Not perfect and preen and all in between. I wore what I liked. I said what I thought and I was that typical country girl who liked to drink and act like a bit of a boy the majority of the time. I  had moved to Newcastle to live with my brother who was a farrier who has worked for the likes of Kerry Packer and now works for Bart Cummings and Gay Waterhouse shoeing their horses who run in weekly race meets.My brother now has his own shed at one of the Sydney race tracks but that is a whole other story. I fancy making a hat for Gay Waterhouse one day but I guess so would most!

After moving to Newcastle I worked at various places and  only just managed to make ends meet….a few things happened and I ended up meeting my future husband who I just had my second year anniversary with. I am so lucky that he has been with me through all of this.He was the man behind me who kept me strong when times have been tough. Through richer and poorer and through my terrible bought of depression that was brought on from my friends passing.I am happy now and I am stronger than I have ever been. I really feel that Nick would be proud of the work that I have done over the past few months even over the past two years.I didn’t get to catch up with him after I met my husband as things really had been busy. That is one thing that I regret as I would of loved to show him what I had been up to and heard about the amazing things that he was doing with his life.

I came back to TAFE in 2012 after 8 months break to finish what I had begun. I had regained my confidence after being named an up and coming designer by fashion palette and being able to show my work that I had designed. I wanted to make my collection and dedicate it to Nick and Chris. I wanted to pass my pattern making examination with flying colours!I ended up picking up two extra subjects which were shaped grading an extension of flat grading which I had done in prior years.The other was environmental fashion design which was based on decreasing wastage and increasing recyclable materials.

Whilst at Fashion Palette I had visited my favourite fabric wholesaler Else Good Silks who sell the most beautiful fabrics at the best and most reasonable price…Sorry guys I am not a Tessuti girl…..According to me Tessuti is a fabric store that is primarily aiming to rip off young up and coming designers by over pricing fabrics that are really not worth the money that people pay for them.I would not buy fabric ever that was $80 metre to produce dresses as it would be too expensive. I would rather let my design speak for itself!

I had this idea.The collection was forming in my head.I wanted to make dresses with snakes panelled into them wrapping around the body and hugging every curve.I wanted it to be dark and seductive. Sexually appealing and visually enticing.I wanted to make the collection one colour.Black.I made and produced three dresses. Conscience dress, Eve’s dress and Judgement dress.I have given them to the fabulous models Phoebe, shell and Natasha who I made them to fit!.They are going to have fun wearing them.I am definitely sure of that!I absolutely 100% enjoyed every moment of the adrenalin. Producing the dresses, organising the model, getting the graphic design team in on designing me a new logo and overall found that my collection has been a huge success.There were times where it was hard to get out of bed because there was so much to do and so little time to do it. But there were also times where everything went as planned.For instance the photo shoot went absolutely fantastically but the fitting on two of my dresses was terrible.Lack of time meant I was doing some pretty quick pinning …..after the photo-shoot I altered one dress two more time taking it in a whole 16cm…my model had lost two dress sizes and I had added extra to the dress because the toile had not fit correctly.Another dress had to be taken in a full 6cm from the underarm and 4cm from the skirt……Huge amounts of tailoring and fitting involved to get the dresses to sit right.Also I had to alter bust cups on both the dresses which meant I basically had to take the whole dresses apart and start again on the bust section…..This was huge!I learnt alot about resizing and dressmaking that I didn’t know prior but I did it!I got the dresses completed by the parade night. I presented my collection in front of a board of nasty old bats……and I have completed my diploma just about anyhow.I am still finalising the details on a couple of things….This time next week I should have a certificate in my hands and a smile from ear to ear 🙂 .Make-up was done by Lucy from Mary Kay and yes for the parade we decided to go with greens instead of purples and shimmer lips instead of black lips.The dresses fitted perfectly and overall I am content to give the dresses away and dedicate the work that has been done to two of my favourite boys of all time.Rest in Peace Nick and Chris.




My Teabag Dress

The Tea Bag Dress!

My first eco-friendly designer dress

This was my first environmentally friendly design originally inspired by Australian textile artist Jennifer Hawkins who at the time in 2007 was creating patchwork quilts and wall hangings from tea bags. I started the teabag dress as a major project for my HSC textiles. It is still a working piece that I draw inspiration from as I still don’t think it is quite finished. I have quilted more than 2000 Lipton teabags, machine felted, hand embroidered and embellished. I have painted and now am in the stages of refitting the dress to a stock size 10. This is my side project that I love so dearly.

There are a few interesting people making teabag textiles and art around the world.

Original T-Bag Designs, a collective of artists residing in South Africa. These artists transform recycled tea bags into a variety of beautiful items, including works of art, household objects, jewelry, stationery, and clothes. For many of the artists, their tea-bag creations have freed them from a life of poverty.”

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Recycle those tea bags and make room for loose leaf tea – Los Angeles LA | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/la-in-los-angeles/recycle-those-tea-bags-and-make-room-for-loose-leaf-tea#ixzz1MD13qoJK

The links to view their website don’t seem to work for me so I’m not entirely sure the article is relevant or not although it does reference my dress backdated to the 31st of March 2009.So time has moved on a bit.There is another reference at the Chinese Tea Shop Blog:


A couple of earlier blogs also reference my tea bag dress amongst other tea related articles. I found dyeing with tea an interesting idea for the future.


I really love the coffee and tea festival newsletter. It has really opened my eyes to the world of tea infused foods and painting with coffee. Check out the Mona Latte!


I find the idea of this design scourer very interesting although not especially related to my tea bag dress.I admire her close and personal , customer service orientated business and hope that my business will grow in the same general direction into the future.


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