Tag Archives: fashion


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



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.


Secret Culture Basic Denim Summer Shorts Collection 2016

Some of the photos from our Secret photo shoot have been released. Shop the limited edition capsule collection at  Secret Culture Shop

    Secret Culture Basic Shredded Denim Shorts White $29.99 free postage in Australia 
Purchase at http://www.secretcultureshop.com
Available in sizes 10,12,14
Size 10 waist 69cm, hip 86cm, length 26cm
Size 12 waist 73cm, hip 88cm, length 27cm
Size 14 waist 77cm, hip 90cm, length 28cm 

Comment Sold under image and private message to purchase on Ig
Visit Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DesignTeamSecretCulture/
Proffessional photgraphy by Lavana Dancer IG lavanadancer website http://www.lightmagiclove.com/

Modelling by Jummy Esther IG le_meiux_nigrette_

@secretculture @le_meiux_nigrette_ @lavanadancer 

#denim #shredded #shorts #short #summer #como #sydney #dreams #secrets #frayed #distresseddenim #holes #jeans #club #night lib #picnic #party #beach #casual #sexy #hot #basic
   Secret Culture Basic Baby Blue Booty Shorts $29.99 free postage in Australia
Available in sizes 10,12,14
Size 10 waist 72cm, hip 94cm, length 31cm
Size 12 waist 77cm, hip 99cm, length 32cm
Size 14 waist 83cm, hip 104cm, length 33cm
Purchase at http://www.secretcultureshop.com
Comment Sold under image and private message to purchase on Ig
Visit Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DesignTeamSecretCulture/
Proffessional photgraphy by Lavana Dancer IG lavanadancer website http://www.lightmagiclove.com/

Modelling by Jummy Esther IG le_meiux_nigrette_


Modelling by Will Besly IG



@secretculture @le_meiux_nigrette_ @lavanadancer @willbesly

#denim #shredded #shorts #short #summer #como #sydney #dreams #secrets #frayed #distresseddenim #holes #jeans #club #night lib #picnic #party #beach #casual #sexy #hot #basic#fitness #health #wellness #live #love #bebeautiful #fashion

Behind the scenes at secret Culture Photoshoot with Lavana Dancer 

We started preparation at 4am On shoot with Jummy Esther our gorgeous Nigerian model. Contact her via Instagram for modelling shoots:



Our professional photographer Lavana Dancer was amazing taking photos  from all angles in the beautiful setting at Como Wharf and Como Pleasure Grounds. Check out other photos from Lavana at http://www.lightmagiclove.com and for contact details. 

Why sizing is so confusing 

So you are wandering through stores trying on what you think is the right size. By the end of the day you think your going crazy because your size is different no matter where you go. 

Well I’m here to tell you that no your not crazy. Every company has its own sizing charts. They have complicated ways of deciding on the correct grade for their label to fit the target market they are aiming at.

That’s not even the difficult part. The standard sizing chart for Australian clothing have only just begun to be addressed as sizing for clothing was set up in the 1950’s when children, women & men were as you know much smaller. Less hormone pumped chickens and flavourings and colourings etc.
So what size you think you are on average in the shops is actually 1-2 sizes smaller than what you actually are according to standards. This being said now that I know I’m actually a 16 instead of a 12 I’m not horrified because these standards were made more than 60 years ago. Most high fashion labels including Parisian fashion houses and what not still are guided by these old standards as they sell to petite women. Which unluckily I am not. Somehow managed to get all my fathers genes with a dash of my mothers face.

I hope I have clarified sizing just slightly. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

If you like what I have written feel free to saunter through the remainder of my blogs or jump onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to support my label Secret culture.

#facebook #Instagram #Twitter #Wordpress #secretculture 

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Also: Secret culture is looking for small high end boutiques to sell street wear in. Please share xx 


Bell of the Ball a Gothic Audrey Hepburn inspired Designer Dress

So I was very excited to have Kimberley in my studio this morning for her very first fitting of this Gothic style Audrey Hepburn designer formal dress. It looks absolutely fabulous. There is still a shoulder wrap to sew on and straps as well as roulette loops and a back panel but WOW she looks fabulous already! Here’s some photos. Sorry about the quality of the photos. I didn’t have time to take too many so just a quick couple off Kimberley’s phone. If you like what you see please follow this blog, Facebook page on the right hand side column or just search secret culture on Instagram!



Loving Leather heart you bags

I was in the mood to design some simple leather satchel bags the day before yesterday. I had limited fabric in the elephant grey so could only make 3 limited editions. Available for $19.99 + postage (Australian Dollars). Contact via Secret Culture Local Newcastle Designer Business Facebook Page or email on secretcultureshop@gmail.com just two left as of today! I will be making more leather bags and accessories soon. Just limited editions to begin with as I do have other leathers in different colors to use for future designs 😉


The Leather Heart You Bag Value $19.99 Au + Postage

Pretty Lilac Rose Peplum Dress

50 days 50 designs 004 50 days 50 designs 007I decided to design a peplum dress with a twist suitable for a standard size 10.Inspired by the summer heat I wanted it to be pretty and light weight although a stable weave with airy qualities due to the heat that Australia is currently feeling.


This is a one-off and I will not be making another one. 

50 days 50 designs 005

This will not be mass produced.
It is a standard size 10. 
To fit~
Waist: 58cm
Hip: 86cm
Bust: 85cm
Available for Purchase for $59.95
Purchase on Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200874973393#ht_674wt_1186
Purchase on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/119571237/pretty-lilac-rose-peplum


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.




Fashion- Outsource This!

I hate the fact that fashion exists-The endless waste created by mass production and especially the outsourcing to countries with lower regulatory standards but that doesn’t stop me studying the course.To me the name Fashion is just a name and a way to discover things that I couldn’t learn from my mother who has worked in the industry in factories when they existed in Australia.They are still here but I think it is unlikely you might only be paid 50 cents for a shirt-maker dress nowadays in Australia although you never know.I mean I worked for Suboo a supposed high fashion swimwear label as an intern for nothing(clothes were really made with poor quality control and sold for ridiculous prices).Intern is the equivalent of slave labour with a pretty name.Fashion is the only comprehensive course related to designing your own clothes around.I actually had the argument yesterday with some friends studying the advanced diploma in fashion design.They justified the fact that they could outsource to other countries because of the cheap exchange rates because they have been told that people are paid reasonably in comparison to the country they live in and those people have reasonable conditions in comparison to the country they live in.I gave them a case study to look at.The link for the video is  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmZkkYxHaaM&feature=plcp&list=PLA5D40D9AC0E2CF5B which didn’t change their mind and rather made them outraged.The truth is to be a Fashion Designer as I have been trained to be you have to decide between your own moral judgement or justify your actions.With cheap imports and so many other designers and large corporations you hit a major moral dilemma.To mass produce or not to mass produce. To outsource to another country or to have your product made here.I personally am in a situation where I could easily import from India a mass produced product allowing me to break into the market and reach my target market successfully. To become successful in my industry that is what you do to get to the top.I personally would like to mass produce and outsource to another country in the future.The way I go about it I am hoping will be different to other designers.I could not live with myself if I allowed myself to just call a factory overseas or email them and then get my products made.I want to own the factory and pay the workers straight into their bank account.I want to ensure my workers are protected from abuse and mistreatment.Have appropriate baby minding facilities in the factory.A school education supplied and scholarships for further study for the children of the women who work in the factory.Appropriate living arrangements that are not just conditioned on what is appropriate to that country.Whole family health facilities. Training programs and wages that are better than reasonable.The management who run the factory while I am not in India will be continuously tested to ensure that there is no corruption and that standards are maintained.That is just one of my ideas on how to change the world in fashion.It makes me so sad to see videos of people that have worked and lived in such terrible conditions.My father and brother recently went to China and wanted to buy jackets because they were so cold (one for my mother was a dolce and gabbana jacket which I am pretty sure is not counterfeit).My father and brother were amused to see Chinese factory workers living in the boxes with the fur jackets that they have made to send overseas to us.These people are forced to live in boxes so that we can wear that new faux fur jacket.I could never live with myself but so many designers do. They are taught that certain standards are in place and certain Government regulations because if they weren’t taught this these large companies and the whole Fashion industry would have to reassess and rethink how things are done.The fact is the regulations are there but the factories and management are the people who decide what standards are adhered to.That is why I have already started thinking because one day people are going to have to stop ignoring the harm the fashion industry is causing. Not just to countries with the ability to supply poor labour but also to the environment everywhere. I do not know the actual percentage of which landfill is textiles, clothing and footwear and we can’t forget related products such as beds and lounges which are all made from textile fibres.Our society might be finding innovations in relation to fashion but are companies actually using these innovations or age old techniques to save wastage of water and fibres.Do the people in the companies care what happens to the lives of the people who work for them in that other country so long as the garments are delivered on time to reach the catwalk and the market.I could talk for hours on this topic but the truth is this is something that effects printmaking aswell. The fashion industry uses the techniques of printmaking so commonly and in such repetition that having your work printed overseas by a machine or a small child is something not unheard of.Ofcourse with printmaking there are quite reasonable businesses in Sydney and around Australia that will print your design on a shirt. For the  larger companies they would still rather send it straight overseas to cut costs. Look at Bonds factory for example. They packed up and moved out of Sydney around 5 years ago overseas.I was lucky enough to walk through twice in high school and it was an eye opener.Even in Australia the standard of that factory was poor.There were gigantic cracks in the floor. Rat baits everywhere. It was cold and wet in some rooms and then almost dusty in the spinning rooms and knitting rooms.In the main designer offices where products are sold it was lovely and clean which has sort of stuck with me. I guess it is the personal note of seeing how factories actually work and knowing my mother worked in many in her time that made it hit home. Designers and management in large companies and even small business have the chance to change the way workers at the bottom of the fashion tree are treated.I will leave you with a video of an exceptional factory to think about..
Link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxGLdTARCMk&list=PLA5D40D9AC0E2CF5B&feature=mh_lolz
This amused me because all the women seem to be wearing their best saris and the floor is spotless. This is the clean image that designers imagine when they are purchasing via email or phone.If you actually went to the factory would it look like this?Would these people be getting paid right?
Have a look at this website if your interested in womens rights http://www.dfid.gov.uk/What-we-do/Key-Issues/Economic-growth-and-the-private-sector/Women-and-business/

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