Tag Archives: Melanie Child

Hands across the Water: Australia—New Zealand Collaboration

In many ways, Australia and New Zealand are two of the most ‘connected’ countries on the planet, and both are keen on exporting their fashion prowess to overseas markets. This year two New Zealand designers—with remarkably different aesthetics—launched collections at FASHFEST 2016, both supported by the New Zealand High Commission to be in the show.

Designer Melanie Child; photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Designer Melanie Child; photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Melanie Child, a boutique, independent womenswear label from Dunedin, appeared on the FASHFEST runway for the second time, with her thought-provoking aesthetic and garments made through upcycling and sustainable fabric choices. Making a debut appearance was A’au Elei. The three brothers behind the label, Junior, Matthew and Jerry Chan Sau, focus on design inspired by their Pacific Island heritage. They have just moved to Sydney to be closer to sales agents but will never forget home.

While here, Melanie met New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia, Chris Seed, at the High Commissioner’s residence in Canberra. Melanie also worked with Leighton Hutchinson, Director of Photography for FASHFEST, on a photo shoot at the High Commissioner’s residence. “I’m a big fan of his work,” says Melanie, “and it was inspiring and a huge opportunity, especially since we got to do the shoot at the residence, which is such a unique location and a special one for me as a New Zealand designer.”

FASHFEST Co-Founder Cling Hutchinson, Melanie Child, and NZ High Commissioner Chris Seed. Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

FASHFEST Co-Founder Clint Hutchinson, Melanie Child, and NZ High Commissioner Chris Seed. Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Melanie was drawn back to FASHFEST in part because the event continues to attract so many ethical and sustainable fashion designers. “I’m motivated to create beauty from the unwanted and wasted—timeless garments that transcend seasons,” says Melanie, who redesigns preloved denim, reducing post-consumer textile waste into landfill in the process. “I’m also drawn to FASHFEST’s commitment to provide a platform for emerging designers, and the opportunity to collaborate with designers, photographers and other creatives. As a small label from New Zealand, showcasing my work on an international stage is a huge opportunity to present to a wider audience. I also had a viewing with a women’s retail shop while in Canberra.”

Melanie and Matthew also met the Deputy High Commissioner, Llewellyn Roberts, at FASHFEST, providing a personal tour of the bustle backstage. A’au Elei says they were inspired by FASHFEST. “We’re predominantly a textile design company but our experience with such a professionally run show, and the interest we attracted, has inspired us to expand our range of men’s clothing,” says Matthew.

A’Au Elei’s new collection on the catwalk. Photo by Holly Williams

A’Au Elei’s new collection on the catwalk. Photo by Holly Williams

High Commissioner Chris Seed says New Zealand’s fashion industry is growing internationally. “Recent figures show 25 per cent of our production is off-shore with 70 per cent of manufacturers involved in exporting, and Australia is the biggest market,” says the High Commissioner. “New Zealand’s participation in FASHFEST reinforces a view of both countries as nations of contemporary innovation and creativity. Our determination and our independence, and our Māori and Pasifika heritage, enables creativity, innovation and often ingenious solutions.”

Designer Melanie Child. Photo by Martin Ollman

Designer Melanie Child. Photo by Martin Ollman

The benefit of attracting international labels to FASHFEST is a win-win for both countries says Clint Hutchinson, CEO of FASHFEST. “Designers from Canberra and interstate gain new insights from New Zealand and designers from New Zealand gain new insights from Australia.”

You can learn more about Melanie Child and A’au Elei on the FASHFEST website.

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FASHFEST 2016 NEWSFLASH!

By Wendy Johnson

Designer applications are out, dates are locked in and in 2016 FASHFEST will hold more catwalk shows than ever before. The new dates for Canberra’s pre-eminent and largest fashion event are 29 September to 1 October.

FASHFEST 2015 - photo by Martin Ollman

FASHFEST 2015 – photo by Martin Ollman

Why the switch from May? Co-founder Clint Hutchinson says the change in dates was logical.

“We’re now aligned with Australia’s overall fashion calendar and the timing of ‘sister events’ such as the major weeks in Melbourne and Sydney,” says Clint. “And, let’s face it, September is warmer than May in the capital so guests can glam up, as they love to for FASHFEST, without shivering their way through the show.”

Another major change is the number of shows FASHFEST will host in 2016—six in total, with two each day. “The new dates also mean we have the time needed to prepare for the added shows. Each year we get stronger and the event gets more exciting. This year is no exception,” says Clint.

Once again, the event will be held at the National Convention Centre, powered by sound and lighting that will transform the space into something magical.

FASHFEST 2015 runway, National Convention Centre - photo by David Burke

FASHFEST 2015 catwalk, National Convention Centre – photo by David Burke

Designer applications are out now and due 14 February. Once again, FASHFEST is  throwing its weight behind local designers as well as designers from interstate and overseas, focusing on independent labels. “Last year, we had 30 designers, including Melanie Child from New Zealand, who was a big ticket item on the catwalk,” says Andrea Hutchinson, Co-founder. “So we’re encouraging a wide range of designers to apply.”

FASHFEST 2015 - photo by Red Photography

FASHFEST 2015 – photo by Red Photography

“FASHFEST is young by Australian standards and we’re still growing and maturing, learning more and more all the time”, says Andrea. “We’ve come a long way in just three years and our ability to put on more shows during this, our fourth year, is possible because of how much we’ve progressed and the creative team working with Clint and I on the event.”

Let the fashion fun begin … !

LFW will keep you posted on events relating to FASHFEST as they unfold and we’ve already locked in the dates so we don’t miss out.

Fans should also follow the event on: www.fashfest.com.au  https://www.instagram.com/fashfest/

https://www.facebook.com/fashfestcanberra

FASHFEST—DAY FIVE

Fashion lovers are buzzing with the new collections launched at FASHFEST this year, and although bump out had already begun yesterday for Canberra’s biggest fashion show ever, 18 designers were still at it on DAY FIVE. While the catwalk experience is the pinnacle in the fashion world, many Canberra designers are inspired by the direct experience with customers that DAY FIVE offers.

By Wendy Johnson

Corr Blimey night 4

Louisa de Smet, from Corr Blimey, says it’s integral to what she does as a designer. “We love meeting customers direct,” says Louisa. “It gives us an opportunity to understand their needs, refine our designs, and push boundaries with them. Canberra is a sophisticated market in many ways, which makes it all the more rewarding.”

The designers set up in ‘market style’ for DAY FIVE. For customers this was a valuable chance to meet designers to advise on style, colour and fabric, try on garments, get measured up, place orders if stock is not available in your size and, overall, indulge in the wonderful world of fashion.

BMdesigns headwear

BMdesigns headwear

Barb Mickelson, from BMDesigns, for example, spoke about her new Heaven and Earth collection, including how she hand-dyed fabrics, including with rust. And she can help customers experiment with her amazing hats. So too can Jade Sargent, the designer behind Sovata, who specialises in a total hatted look. Jade’s collection popped with colour on the catwalk.

Sovata

Sovata

DAY FIVE was also the only chance customers had to speak with New Zealand’s Melanie Child, who was at FASHFEST for the first time this year. Melanie specialises in producing high-end, upcycled clothing, reusing one item to create another or higher quality or value than the original.

Upcycled by Melanie Child

Upcycled by Melanie Child

And it’s was a great opportunity to talk to contemporary jeweller Tanja von Behrens, who collaborated with two fashion designers on the runway. Tanja has designed her new line of graphic jewellery around Canberra’s streets and some of the capital’s icons. She uses 100 per cent recycled sterling silver, copper and brass to create her works, manufacturing by hand as much as possible.TanjaVonBehrens_1

The Design Institute of Australia also attended Day Five to award The Graduate Designer of the Year. The prize is a membership in the Institute, which represents all design disciplines, and a mentorship by the ACT Chapter.

DAY FIVE was held at the National Convention Centre and with free entry and live music by the Director of Music for FASHFEST, Ashley Feraude, has become an integral part of the FASHFEST experience.

Designers participating in DAY Five are all featured on the FASHFEST website. They are, in alphabetical order:

BMDesigns

Corr Blimey

Hana

Illusory Cog

Little Jane Lane

Luke Chiswell

Maak

Melanie Child

Mimetic

Recollection

Sovata

More information: http://fashfest.com.au/day-five/

Upcycle with Melanie Child

It’s a fact that the fashion industry has a bad reputation for being wasteful. Very wasteful; shamefully wasteful. But we all have to wear clothes on our back, so what to do?

By Wendy Johnson

Melanie Child, a fashion designer from New Zealand, says we have to think about what we wear and make decisions about whether we want to add to the problem or do something about it. Melanie, who runs independent fashion label Melanie Child, knows a thing or two about the topic. She is an award-winning designer specialising in upcycling, and not just any old upcycling; high-end, fashion-focused upcycling.

Upcycled by Melanie Child

Upcycled by Melanie Child

In Melanie’s world, upcycle means to reuse one item to create another of higher quality or value than the original. “We live in a world saturated with mass production and its by-products,” says the designer. “Approximately 4 per cent of total annual waste into landfill in New Zealand alone is textile waste. It’s a big problem.”  Continue reading

Jewellery reflects Canberra’s Infrastructure

Canberra’s roundabouts inspire beautiful jewellery!

By Wendy Johnson

What do you think of when someone mentions Canberra’s infrastructure? Well, apart from the never ending road works, it’s got to be the roundabouts—right? And did you know there are 15 roundabouts between Belconnen and the airport? Talk about going round in circles! But those roundabouts, and maps of Canberra, do so much more than help us get around. They inspire!

TanjaVonBehrens_1

Tanja von Behrens, a contemporary jeweller living in Tasmania, is designing a new collection of pieces based on our streets and the aesthetic of the city so carefully planned by Walter Burley Griffin many moons ago. Tanja will launch her new jewellery collection at FASHFEST 2015, on the Friday of the four-day event (13 to 16 May). Her place in the four-day event is a great fit since the theme of that night’s show is ‘Cartographer’—the mapper inspired by location and place. For Tanja, this involves creating a piece inspired by Captain Cook Crescent, and a wrist cuff inspired by Anzac Parade. Continue reading

Who’s Who at FASHFEST 2015!

FASHFEST Designer Line-up 2015

By Wendy Johnson (for LFW)

What goes on inside a fashion designer’s mind? Where do they get their inspiration? How do they decide on fabric, colour, or detail? It’s such an interesting study and so much more than the ability to sew. The designers selected for FASHFEST 2015 (13 to 16 May) form part of that study. The fresh faces couldn’t be more diverse if they tried. Most hail from the capital and others from interstate—including Melbourne, Tasmania and Cooma—and, for the first time, overseas (New Zealand).

Stunning colours and printed fabrics are huge this year, especially with designers inspired by cultural diversity such as MirandaSAKHINO, a contemporary label that represents an equal fusion of African and Western fashion. Designer Miranda Seakgosing’s designs include versatile day and evening wear that appeal to modern, polished cosmopolitan women who love functional, and timeless fashion.

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino

 Check out more designers here Continue reading