Tag Archives: dressmaker

MEET THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK CRBN UNISEX STREETWEAR + collabs


Making an entrance onto the Australian Fashion arena late in 2016 we have CRBN with lead designer Whitney Duan. The label is so different to regular Australian fashion labels. Which is what makes it so very interesting.

They are here to change the rules on gender.

So you are curious? How can CRBN change the rules on gender?

Well with time staking . Men are wearing skirts. Women are wearing the pants and actually whatever they want.  I mean why as a female should I wear a dress? I want to wear a skort today and I don’t care!

I want to see men in dresses not just because free balling is comfortable but why not? The only thing that has been holding back men from wearing dresses is that dresses aren’t made to fit the male form by the consumer market. Hence why CRBN is a game changer. Men can choose to wear what they want from their range. The fact physically it is a dress or a skirt is just a label and a social image that has been underpinned by oppressive social expectations handed down through generations . Its just a name we gave it to identify what it is but would it be so bad if we named a pant a skirt and a skirt a pant. In the end its the same fabric with the same stitches, the same cotton that holds it together. Just like the difference in gender. Gender is just a label male, female and most recently we have added in no gender which btw is still a label. All these names and boundaries we create ourselves as humans.

‘We have so many people wanting to dress and expand their new style from mundane commercialism. Plus with drag queens now tapping into the mainstream industry with Ru Paul’s drag race/ we have an untouched market’

 Luka Davis

Melbourne Designer & Stylist

Instagram@luka.davis

 

Whitney’s background is in Philosophy and Art History so her perception of gender is quite in tune with a general move by society to become less gender specific. We are after all a society who wants whatever we want when we want it. Socially we just want to be able to wear what we want without the backlash of social expectations. In fashion ‘different’ is the new ‘cool’. So as unisex clothing gains momentum and is starting to be seen as the new cool there are so many self styled innovators who are picking up the product and trying it. CRBN is a blend between fitted and baggy streetwear with styles you could wear everyday casually or dress up to go out and party in with an emphasis  on comfort. Now that we already have so many people out there who are innovators gaining awareness of the product and trying samples of unisex clothing in their day to day lives. Its time for early adopters like you and I to support unisex clothing and pick up the trend and deliver it to the growth stage and mass market before unisex is totally accepted and adopted into our society. So I ask you. Can you challenge your own thinking that you have been taught from birth? Can you try something different to see how it fits and feels? If your not excited by now to break the rules and kick back the boundaries of social expectation then I’m probably howling to the moon.

While working alongside CRBN as one of a select group of consultant pattern makers I sat in on quite a few late night fittings and meetings behind the end product. In collaboration of their first range I found Whitney and her partner radio spokesperson and author Eden Duan to be quite unique individuals in fact their strong bond and communication was the back bone of getting things moving at the rate that such a large collection could be developed. Developing a range this large requires so much time and effort away from regular day to day existence and as a power couple they worked together to make CRBN from just an idea to something tangible something that any designer could be proud of. Whitney Duan designer of CRBN is the new kid on the block. I am loving her cool style and needed to share it. She actually gets how contemporary humans are feeling. Lets just erase some of the labels and start again. Fashion is now geometric lines, contemporary, rule breaking, minimalistic, unisex clothing.

Author: Ashleigh Renee Evans (Secret Culture)

all links:

Buy CRBN now https://www.crbnstudios.com/

Follow CRBN on Instagram @crbnstudios

Follow CRBN on facebook https://www.facebook.com/crbnstudios/

Follow this blog for more of my fashion blogging & tutorials


My latest custom designer formal gown for a year 10 formal


The dress is beautiful. Absolutely stunning! Embellished in gorgeous Swarovski crystals and fine lace. The silhouette is off the shoulder panelled with a gorgeous fishtail with lace and Swarovski detail. The bodice is covered in lace as well and embellished lightly in each flower with Swarovski crystals.

 


What it means to be a third generation dressmaker


sewing is not just a craft to me. It is my life. Something taught from my mother from when I was deep within her womb. The sound of an industrial machine humming to the beat of my mothers foot. Falling asleep to the hum every night while my mother worked to support our family from home as her grandmother did her father. Dressmaking was not meant to be an easy job and can take quite a toll on each and every one of us. The smell of new fabric on the bolt. Knowing where to place that flower, bow or lace come second nature. Drawing a pattern and cutting the fabric so the flow of the garment falls amazingly. It’s just what I do.  It’s something deeply instilled in my person. Not many girls can say they have grown up playing hide and seek amongst rolls of fabric or playing cut out the doll costume when they were 4. Or even that their first injury was from sticking their finger into the turn wheel of an industrial machine while it was sewing.
 I do not sew just because I can sew and I have been taught from a young age how to guide a needle through fabric. I sew because sewing brings great joy to my life. The joy of creation and design. The ability to design from a line to a piece of fabric is something that is a dying art. I have more than ten boxes of fabric that I have hoarded over my lifetime and it makes me feel alive just looking and feeling the fabric. The endless possibilities and innovation I visualise as I run my finger across the fabric. Such beauty to be made. Not just to follow the trends set by other designers but to innovate new trends through my own creation. You can put ten designers in a room and get them to draw patterns of the same design and every one will be different. I don’t care if people copy me or my designs because no matter how hard they try it will never be the same. It will never have the same quality or finishing. I care only for creation and the joy of placing a needle through thread. 


Ethical design how do you think you can get away with being unethical?


While others are outsourcing to other countries in poorly paid factories with poor lighting and poor facilities.

Mothers are sewing in these factories and have children who are going without and workers are being paid the wrong pay so you can wear your cheap and nasty looking clothing.

Not only this the poor worker is working in filth while sweat is pouring off them because they are working so hard that the term sweat shop actually is relatable. Their arms and wrists are aching because every day they sew the same thing all day long making the same movement. Later on in life they will be riddled with arthritis and their backs will be bent from bending over a poorly lit sewing machine.

There are those of us that just don’t want to be unethical. We can see the damage it has caused to countries and the affect fast fashion has on land fill. The worst and most heart breaking affect is on the people who by their circumstances are subjected to unethical design.

We live in such a throw away society. Every time we buy something that is throw away. Something that’s cheap and in fashion that will be out of fashion next week we are contributing to this problem.

It’s not just the designer but it is also the consumer at fault here.

Meanwhile in Australia. Piece workers are doing a similar thing to compete with a market that is just so hard to compete with just so they can make a name for themselves and beat fast fashion. You see in Australia the minimum pay for piece work is $40 an hour. That being said so many designers are unwilling to pay this price because they can get it cheaper overseas. It’s a sad industry when you have to be underpaid in your own country to compete with your overseas competition. I personally have sewn piecework for labels and one in particular from Newcastle Australia who wanted to pay just $10 per garment. The garment would take me an hour to make. I could not believe the hide of this woman. So bloody cheap. Unbelievably cheap. While she gets $40 for a pair of shorts expecting me to sit there and sew all night for $10 per pair. Not only that she would be calling me to have them done overnight when I had not even had a chance to sew them. As a dressmaker and daughter of a dress maker I was quite offended by this. That’s why I felt I should speak out because she the designer who does not even design her own clothes is still doing the same thing paying pittance to other piece workers so she can get $300 for a dress. it’s disgusting. She doesn’t even make her own patterns or make any decisions in the design process. Now I hear she’s outsourcing her pattern making for $5 a patten somewhere is Russia. For someone who outwardly claims to be ethical I am so ashamed of this woman saying she is a designer and pretending to be while she profits off her unknowing customers. She just profits off actual designers and dressmakers who want so badly to use their craft that they are willing to sew for almost nothing.

My personal experience during this process was that I would be doing all nighters until 5am in the morning sewing and while the sweat was pouring off me I could not help but relate to my overseas counterparts. Who could not choose to give up their careers as piece workers. 

So as you can see even if you think the company is ethical it sometimes is not. You really need to investigate to find out before you buy.


Why you can’t trust a quilter to make your wedding dress


Ok I’ve said it before many times. A quilter is not a dressmaker. But a dressmaker is 100% the person you go to after having your wedding dress stuffed up by the quilter.

So you know she’s a friend and she can sew but can you trust her to sew your wedding dress?

Well according to myself not unless she has knowledge of pattern making, fitting and fabrics.

It is very different sewing straight lines and showing you can appliqué a few stray cats on a cushion to hand sewing beads and lace to dresses

Fitting the dress to the human form adds a whole other dimension. You have to know how much to fit the dress so it’s not too tight and it’s not too loose. You have to know how to alter the pattern so you can change the style to suit the bride. You also have to help the bride choose the right style steering them away from bad taste moments. Remember that dress you really liked on the hanger but the style just didn’t sit right and looked horrible.

Sewing a wedding dress is much harder than the average sewers sewing level. If you are a quilter and have succeeded in making a wedding dress well done but I bet you will never attempt another one unless your a glutton for punishment.

The nicest wedding dresses are designed especially to suit the bride and made with the highest quality fabrics and needlework. They should have a mixture of hand and machine sewing and fit just right with the right style to suit the body shape.


Go Daddy newby builds a website with wix and tells you about her amazing story of building her business.


So I didn’t realise how hard building a website is and starting a business until I bought my go daddy domain 4 years ago. Here’s how I did it. First off I used my domain and my friend attached it to my blog until I could figure out how to build the website. Now the best part of Wix is how easy it is to build the website with them. You don’t need to know how to speak the language of html which I still can’t speak either. You just need your photos and the ability to upgrade your account $$$. The wix website editor allows you to add pages and buttons as well as background images. Portfolio pages and even a shopping cart. The thing that is off putting is the cost. A website is something I wasn’t willing to invest in until I was sure I was ready. Since I bought my domain four years ago I’ve completed a diploma in fashion design courses in marketing and management as well as admin inc book keeping. The list goes on. I’ve also worked as an intern for Suboo resort wear. Had some work experience working for we are handsome swimsuits resort wear as well as Jenny rose fashion leather textile designer. I’ve worked for a famous shoe designer in Sydney years ago Donna may Bolinger. I’ve seen the back entrance and the front entrance of fashion. I might not like the social and ecological effects it has on our society but I just want to make clothes and share them with people. I want to make changes in this world. I don’t want to leave a heavy foot print. I want to find a better way to make fashion environmentally friendly and I want to build my own factory overseas with a crèche with training and proper pay. I’ve worked for nothing and worked for something. I’ve been a pieceworker and a dressmaker. I’ve made custom designer outfits I’ve designed and I’ve had to pattern make copies of pictures for clients. I’ve been an advisor for new fashion labels who have no training and I’ve been advised by my mentors. Now amongst working permanent part time as a blood collector and running my business as a pieceworker and custom designer dressmaker. Everything I’ve ever done has been directed to this moment and I feel on top of the world. I might not of been an overnight success but even I realised if you start building something now it will eventually become a success. If you share the passion you have for your dreams with people they will eventually become addicted to your energy. If you fail get back up on that horse. Don’t ever give in. Don’t ever let your fears get the better of you. Be brave. Be humble. Be beautiful. Stress does funny things to people but If you don’t let it get to you then you will succeed. Eventually. Take every single lead that comes your way. The people who fail are the people who don’t try, who give up and forget their dreams. I’m ready and I’ve just launched my website http://www.secretcultureshop.com

If you like what you see please follow my blog, like my facebook link on the right hand side or follow me on Instagram #secretculture or Twitter Ashleighreneepatel.

Don’t forget to live, love and be beautiful;) xx Secret Culture living the dream

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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

https://www.facebook.com/kovachromephotography

And follow secret culture local newcastle designer label on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DesignTeamSecretCulture

Or on Instagram #secretculture

Also please follow this blog for further updates on secret culture an up and coming designer label. The journey of a fresh designer;)

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