Tag Archives: Sydney

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. ūü§ėūüŹĽ

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 ūüôā .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/

Behind the scenes “Secret Cultures Photo-shoot at the Merewether Baths”

First and foremost Secret Culture owes credit to the team who made this photo-shoot happen.

Paige Freeman who was modelling (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=644756382)

Mike Baker’s Photography¬†(¬†http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Bakers-Photography/180973365286324).

Let’s not forget Cherie Freeman who did a gorgeous job of make-up on the morning. Paige and Cherie both have their own Make-Up Company called M.A.D Artistry¬†http://www.facebook.com/M.A.Dartistry¬†and can be contacted on¬†0422 640 352.

For almost a week we waited for the rain to pass and the clouds to part and the sun to shine down again. All in the name of Fashion. We couldn’t have everything we wanted and what we did have we made the best of.

It was just before Sunrise we gathered at the well known Merewether Baths to capture the perfect picture, of a dress that I had made especially to be displayed at Fashion Palette this year in Sydney.I wanted Paige to look natural and gorgeous as she always is. I love how her hair how is so long and straight. Her hair is usually blonde although she dyed it brown for this photo-shoot and I think that she looks absolutely amazing!

Mike truly had all odds against him when the sun was rising on the morning and the barest light was parting from the skies.This was our last chance to get a proper photo-shoot of the dress before I delivered it to Fashion Palette in Sydney.


I have decided to sell the couture gown that I made for Fashion Palette 2012! If you know anyone who would like an all white couture gown for a wedding or special event please feel free to share this link with them!!!!!


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