Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Lia Cowan

Lia Cowan is an artist and designer whose mixed Jewish and Irish heritage has opened a portal where inspiration threads are spun from folklore and mysticism. Her approach to design is like that of an artist. Diverse themes are researched, explored, and responded to. Her sculptural background informs and adds another layer to the work, through silhouette, movement, and performance. Each of her pieces embodies its own story and has at its heart its own personal textile tale – handcrafted, hand-embellished, hand-embroidered, and hand-held. Going through a transformative journey of casting, gathering, draping, stretching.

Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Lia to discuss her journey in the fashion industry, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

My background is actually in Sculpture and Education, having completed a BA in The National College of Art and Design in Dublin. I taught Art as a secondary school subject for a few years, and I loved it and loved all my students, but I found something was missing. I missed the buzz of designing and making.

I have always had a passion for clothes and was quite experimental with shapes and silhouettes (some good, some ATROCIOUS), so I wanted the ability to make my own clothes. It started off as a hobby, but quickly I became obsessed. It was like something had sparked inside of me, and finally, I realised this was what I needed to do. From then on, I have done everything in my power to educate myself through courses, collaborations, and internships, and it has brought me to a place where I feel I have found my own unique voice as a designer.

What do you like most about being a designer?

There is no better feeling than seeing someone wear your pieces or for them to tell you how fantastic and confident they felt in them. It truly fills my heart with joy.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

Financially, it is definitely very stressful. I am at the beginning stages of my career, so I understand this is part of the package, and I am more than happy to do so if it means I get to do something I love as a career!

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

My first magazine feature was pretty incredible. Only a year prior to this was I credited as an intern for another Irish designer I had worked with. To see your work photographed, and your name in bold as the designer – it’s pretty magical.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have worked with some fantastic stylists and photographers, each using my pieces in completely different ways which I love! In particular, Adam Walsh and Anne O’Shea (both stylists in Dublin) have been massive supports of me and my work.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

Don’t undersell yourself or your work. I think a lot of young designers come into the fashion industry assuming they are at the bottom of the food chain and so must act accordingly. It’s so important to put yourself out there, tell people about your work and who you are, be bold and be confident – the feedback may surprise you.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Coming from an Irish-Jewish family, it’s hard not to be showered with love and support every day. My parents are my biggest fans; my Mom is literally my Momager. I owe them both so much; they have been with me through everything – the meltdowns, the imposter syndrome, and they have celebrated with me through all the successes.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I probably would say not to be so hard on myself in the beginning stages. I was obsessed with being the best or doing everything perfectly from the get-go. Everything is a learning experience, and I learned so much more through those mistakes than I ever would have if everything went “perfectly.”

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Don’t sell yourself short.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I am hoping to move from Dublin to Holland with my Boyfriend Max over the coming months. We are both designers and have always wanted to move to Holland for its incredible design culture. Ideally, I would open a studio there and continue expanding my brand.

I will continue designing and making custom pieces while releasing two small capsule collections a year.

Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Erika Janavi

Erika Janavi initially came by bus from Lithuania to London to study Fashion and Textiles in 2011. She had a wild ride discovering herself and challenging her career in various fields, however, not Fashion. During the first lockdown, she realized how fascinated she is with textiles and how much creativity she can give to designing, which is why she’s now pursuing this as a full-time career. More than that, she managed to adapt her unusual lifestyle to her designing profession. The majority of her possessions are antique or vintage because she’s passionate about sustainable living and timeless everlasting designs. Therefore she makes her pieces from unique antique /vintage fabrics and materials.

Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Erika to discuss her journey in the fashion industry, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I left my home country of Lithuania as soon as I graduated from school and started my BA studies in Fashion and textiles in West London. It was a spontaneous decision since I had previously prepared to study interior design.

What do you like most about being a designer?

The creative process of firstly imagining a design, then creating it, and finally seeing it materialise and worn.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

It is one of the toughest industries, especially if you are trying to make it on your own. People always tend to buy fast Fashion because of its cost rather than researching independent designers who offer unique, sustainable, and lasting quality items.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

I believe my big personal moments are yet to come in the near future.

Several years ago, whilst I was in my final year at university, somehow, I still managed to do a full-time internship and work in a cafe on weekends. I was an assistant for a very successful couture designer whose clients at the time were celebrities like Florence and Machines, Paloma Faith, Nicole Scherzinger, Mischa Barton.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Multitasking artists with a side hustle are always the most interesting people!

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

Don’t be too proud to ask for help; you definitely can’t do it all by yourself.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

I think they are doing their best even though they don’t fully understand it sometimes.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have kept up the creativity even if times were hard and I was literally a starving artist (after university, I had a four-year break working full time and abandoning Fashion because I didn’t get a job in the industry right away). I’d also start building a social media presence earlier.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Back in university, I was very unconfident and unsure if my design ideas were good; my headteacher once told me: ‘Do you want your designs to be in a museum one day? Then you should know what to do.’ Whenever I wasn’t sure if I should hold back and choose simpler design ideas or go bigger, I always remember his advice.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

This spring, I will finally start selling my designs with stockists; I am also focusing on opening a pop-up shop with multiple avant-garde independent designers.

Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Lindsay Nicholas

While having a long career in advertising and marketing, Lindsay Nicholas traveled extensively and craved luxurious clothing that would take her between coasts and hemispheres, and travel well… all the while offering effortlessly cool style. She knew she wasn’t alone in needing some amazing modern basics that live outside of the seasons to suit my global lifestyle. This spirit, combined with an obsession for fashion, inspired her to begin Lindsay Nicholas New York in 2015.

Lindsay’s designs truly defy age and represent an attitude and confidence that can be seen in women of all ages. Her pieces are intelligent and elegant, like her clientele.

Lindsay holds certificate degrees from Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She truly understands luxury, having been the Executive Director of Retail Marketing for The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, one of the top luxury malls in the world, and Head of Global Marketing for Paspaley Pearls in Australia. She’s also a former board member of the Association of Image Consultants International.

Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Lindsay to discuss her journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I have drawn women in clothing since I was a young child, but after living through 9/11 in NYC, I realised it was time to re-evaluate where my life was headed. I had a successful career in advertising on Madison Avenue but knew that being a fashion designer was my true calling. I studied at Parsons School of Design and then the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in the evenings and received certificate degrees over the course of several years. I then walked into my boss’s office and told him I was quitting to become a fashion designer, and he basically told me to go back to my desk – essentially, I did for another decade. As I rounded 50, I knew it was time to make a move. Initially, I did it as a side hustle, getting up at 4 am to work with my (what was then) NYC-based team while I was living in Singapore. In 2017 I had the courage to make it my full-time gig. In 2019 I moved the business to Australia.

What do you like most about being a designer?

I truly love the pieces I design, and like many designers, I design for myself. I had access to the best brands in my prior career and wore many European fashion houses. My wardrobe consists of mainly my pieces (and a little Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Celine), and I love wearing Lindsay Nicholas New York. My clothes are flattering, comfortable (without looking too comfortable), and infused with boldness and discreet sexiness. I have the best wardrobe I have ever had, and I get excited for what’s next, though I always pair new with one of my existing pieces. I believe a wardrobe should last season after season. I think through every detail, from the French seams to how a piece enhances a woman’s body. I am fully into every aspect.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

A friend of mine once described it as the Olympics of small details, and it is that! I am very lucky that I came in with the marketing chops right out of the gates, but there was still much more to learn, especially in the beginning. I made sure my small team was full of subject area experts. There are just so many aspects to consider, from sourcing fabrics to finding the right factory, the most appropriate channels to sell on, right down to the best accounting software and thread colours. As a designer and business owner, you really have to juggle a lot of plates at once.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

While I have had some “pinch me” moments showing at New York Fashion Week and being accepted into the Australian Fashion Council’s Curated program, opening my new boutique in Melbourne has been a dream come true. I love retail, and I love being with my clients. The feedback I get is invaluable, and seeing a woman walk out of the fitting room glowing because she is feeling so amazing in one of my creations makes me joyful. And when she asks if she can wear it out of the store because she doesn’t want to take it off…well, that’s just the best.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Well, indeed, my clients are all so interesting. They have lived such amazing lives, and all got to where they are by not following the safe path. They take risks and put themselves out there. Just a fantastic group of ladies, though that said, recently, we’ve also been selling to men who are exploring their feminine wardrobe. It’s great for me to see how my pieces translate, and it’s very exciting for me. In terms of people I have met outside of my clients who have blown me away, I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with Michael Kors and Diane Von Furstenberg in my prior career, and I think they are the most talented and supremely lovely people I have met. So down to earth and warm.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

You need to listen (and as I always like to say, “listen with your ears and not your mouth”), but you also can’t listen to all of the advice you get. Listen, take it in, but you need to apply your own filter at the end of the day. You’ll wind up with a very vanilla product if you try to please everyone. I listen and think, “that resonates with me… that’s good advice,” or “that’s interesting, but not something I am going to take on board.” We could probably make more money if we took some shortcuts, but I’d rather have fewer clients, but clients who appreciate the detail and quality we provide. We’re not for everybody, but we are for that special someone.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Absolutely! My sister works for me, so let’s start there. And now, her daughter is even helping out in the business. My mother, who died quite suddenly this year, was my biggest fan. She loved my pieces, and she was that bold, intelligent, and creative woman I designed for. She wore my pieces into her 80’s and looked chic as chic. Just in my family, I dress 17 to 83 year-olds. And my husband is truly my rock. He is integral to the business and knows everyone throughout my supply chain. When I was designing our leopard print pieces (which are our best sellers), I did a huge study on good leopard vs. bad leopard (because certainly there are both…and I do think ours is the best), and my husband was so involved that now he critiques every piece of leopard he sees on the street on in a store window. He’s an absolute doll.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have approached an industry mentor sooner. I learned a lot by trial and error, and there are amazing people out there who are so generous with their time and expertise. Just because I don’t know how to do something doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone who does! I wound up getting paired with Christine Metcalfe, who co-founded The Ark Clothing Company through the Australian Fashion Council, and she has been a great mentor to me. There are also great resources like Fashion Equipped, which could have saved me some headaches and money if I knew they existed initially.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

While not necessarily advice, the quote I had in my High School yearbook still rings true for me today: Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another. – Marquis de Condorcet

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I love to work and create, so I am looking forward to the journey in our new boutique, the new pieces we’ll create, and the new relationships we’ll make. And while we haven’t been able to travel for a couple of years, really looking forward to spending a couple of months a year in New York City and with my family in Boston. It’s good for me creatively and spiritually.

Inside The Lives Of Instagram Models And Social Media Influencers

Life as an Influencer is becoming an increasingly stacked game. In a world of paid likes/followers, fickle algorithms, and those ‘lurky bots’, it’s become even harder to market yourself in 2022. With more Instagram Models on the scene than ever before; this creates a higher level of competition overall.

Gaining traction on social media often means hitting that elusive fan quota. However, it’s often a vague figure that allows you to qualify. This begs the question: how many people have to follow you or like your page in order to make you a legitimate Influencer? What will warrant enough credibility amidst a miasma of hashtagging and 24/7 responsiveness? You should start with applying a thick-skinned approach to negative comments (ironically, with much skin on show) and all ‘round people-pleasing.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. What does an Influence Marketer and/or Instagram Model actually do? Well, they create ‘sponsored content’. That means someone sends them something and they promote it to their audience, eg. “OMG this skin cream is the bomb, I now have no pimples”, or “this teeth whitening product is so great I can now allow myself to smile” – all the whilst being paid to give, let’s face it, an entirely biased review.

Influence Marketing is most usually carried out on the platform of choice: Instagram. According to Forbes Magazine, an Insta account with over one million followers can attract upwards of $50k for a single sponsored post: that’s certainly big bickies! What you may not know is that the social media landscape is continuing to change, and it’s not always in the interest of an Influence Marketer.

For example, have you heard of the term ‘Micro Influencer’? These are commonly described as ‘ordinary people’ (whatever that means) with a decent following of around 3000 followers. Usually, they aren’t ‘big-fish’ enough to score entirely free products, and they don’t always garner a genuine ‘hard-dried-ink’ modeling contract with, you know, an actual brand.

While the demand for Micro-Influencers grows (and will continue to do so during 2022); so does earning potential decline. This demographic is more often than not, underpriced. With so many people putting their hands up to assist e-commerce operators, for example, accepting the offer to post about a beach towel whilst wearing a bikini, this means that the value of a Micro Influencers’ engagement is vastly cheapened. It’s just supply and demand – economics 101.

The fact is, being a Micro-Influencer is generally not something to be taken too seriously. That’s because you can only ever earn a mere fraction of what your more socially mobile counterparts (you know those Insta peeps with the covetable green badge) can attract per post. What does this ‘Verified Badge’ on Instagram actually mean? Well, according to the platform itself, “a verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account’s name in search and on the profile. It means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.”

How do you get your very own Insta Badge? You can apply to get one by going into your platform’s settings tab, providing your ID, and waiting for that all-important response. However, there are no guarantees! But, that’s always the way, isn’t it? After all, there are no 100 percent shatter-proof formulas for achieving success in online marketing. Keep in mind that those ‘masterclasses’ will surely tell you differently, though.

Being an Instagram Model and marketing yourself is but a means to an end. It is not necessarily something to hinge your ‘bread-and-butter’ upon. If you are reaping the rewards as an Influence Marketer then more power to you. If you are still struggling and wondering why it’s not actually working for you, then remember things are never what they seem – especially when it comes to the world of social media/influencer marketing!

 

4 Ways To be Fashionably Eco-Conscious In 2022

In this world of fast everything… food, fashion, relationships, etc…have you ever really thought about your responsibility as a consumer? Sure, you might have found the resolve to avoid McDonald’s chicken nuggets (and possibly even be a strict vegan)…but when it comes to your clothing…do you know just what is behind its production?

If you are conscious of the environment and humanity you’ll more than likely want to know how to minimise your footprint and the best ways to make a difference, whilst still being able to indulge your love of fashion.

Here are our top tips on how to be fashionably eco-conscious.

Be aware of materials and production methods

Understanding what goes into the production of a garment is half the battle when making an eco-conscious choice. Could your favourite T-shirt have originated in a sweatshop? Is it made from materials that are environmentally sustainable? Check clothing labels and do your research before you decide to buy.

There are so many cool places to shop that go out of there way to ensure they use more sustainable and natural materials (like cotton) in their manufacturing…as well as local artists’ designs to boot! Look out for materials like bamboo, hemp, and Tencel. These are usually more eco-friendly than synthetic alternatives. Also, check the use of dyes and other factors that have gone into the production. In general, look beyond the initial dazzle of a cute item and a cheap price tag and consider the cost for our planet/people.

Check out second-hand and retro threads

It can be really cool and inspiring to hit up op shops for vintage threads. Not only are you getting a bargain, but a lot of the time you’re also buying a piece of fashion history. Beyond this… you’re recycling. You needn’t buy something mass-produced when there are a lot of beautiful retro options readily available.

You can also check out suitcase rummages, retro fairs, car boots sales, and online groups. So, you can pop those tags (like Macklemore) at a fraction of the price whilst maintaining your commitment to preserving the environment. This is all about doing your little bit to assist the ‘circular fashion economy’ – a movement that is turning the tide on textile wastage worldwide.

Embrace your authentic self

It may come as a surprise, but you don’t have to wear the same thing as everyone else, apply the same makeup style, or buy up big on every new trend that hits Instagram or your Facebook feed! It may seem like others have a perfect life – the holidays, the wardrobe, the friends and relationships… even the hair and the lips. The need to compete in a very status-driven world can sometimes hit pretty hard when you find yourself idly scrolling online.

But, remember behind the perfect ‘selfie’ are a million and one other shots that didn’t make the grade. Influencers’ and fashion bloggers’ posts are completely staged and are specifically created to sell goods. You don’t have to buy into this feeling of never being quite adequate, succumbing to the fleeting feeling that a mere product will fill the gap. You can set yourself apart and embrace your authentic self by wearing what makes you most comfortable and what aligns with your personal ethics. You’ll feel all the better for it.

Style with substance

Making eco-friendly selections when it comes to your wardrobe is the responsible way to indulge your fashion sensibilities. Whether it’s making informed purchasing decisions, buying second hand, or just by avoiding being that bit too greedy and impulsive when it comes to shopping, style with substance is about being conscious of your personal footprint and the toll of your choices on collective humanity.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Experts Reveal How To Abandon Fast Fashion Trends & Shop Sustainably In 2022

In the age of TikTok and Instagram, fashion micro-trends have gained popularity. These trends move at lightning speed, have a short life, and are soon replaced by newer ones. Experts at Clothes2order have revealed the 4 key tips to avoid overconsumption.
Simon Turner, Marketing Director at Clothes2order, stresses the need to turn to sustainable fashion, letting go of impulsive purchases and fast fashion trends.
Because of their short lifespan, sustainable production is not possible when designing micro trends. And, while we will have forgotten about bucket hats in a couple of weeks, the consequences of fast fashion account for much longer damage to the planet. Clothes2order’s Marketing Director revealed 4 key tips for consumers to act more sustainably:
If you see a trend, take time before you invest in it. When you see a trend that you like, wait, bookmark it, and only buy what you need for the trend when you just can’t get it out of your head. You’ll be sure to have bought something you really like, and it will stop you from buying impulsively.
Shop secondhand! Check sites like Vinted and Depop before purchasing a brand new item! Not only will you save money, but you’ll also give a second chance at a perfectly good piece of clothing!
Look for companies that produce sustainably. Look for companies that use deadstock fabrics, those that make clothes to order, or those using water-based ink. These companies will usually have a sustainability statement on their website, in which they make it clear that caring for the planet is important to them.
Buy quality over quantity. If an item costs less than a takeaway coffee three points need to be made: 1, it’s not going to last until the end of the year; 2, it’s definitely not environmentally friendly; 3, the purchase is also damaging to the people who make the clothes.
The study also found the fastest disappearing fashion micro trends in the UK, with fisherman sandals and knee-high shorts ranking first and second.
Fastest disappearing fashion micro trends of 2021:

Rank

Trend

Popularity Decrease

1

Fisherman Sandals

-95.2%

2

Knee Length Shorts

-93.2%

3

Hibiscus Print

-84.7%

4

Hockney Dress

-70.5%

5

Crochet Dress

-70.2%

6

Heeled Thong Sandals

-70.0%

7

Bucket Hats

-63.3%

8

Graphic Tank Tops

-55.9%

9

Tennis Skirts

-45.4%

10

Maxi Tube Skirts

-33.3%

10

Swirl Prints

-33.3%

The full research is available to view here: Clothes2order
This article was sourced from a media release sent by Leila Jones of Digitaloft
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Emerging Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Angelo Raffaele Masciello

Angelo Raffaele Masciello is a 24-year-old fashion designer who was born on the 2nd of September 1997 in Foggia-Italy. Over the past few years, the relationship with two very important women, who both shared a passion for embroidery and knitwear, marked his future choices, wishing to become a stylist. Thanks to that, he started drawing clothes when he was 16, and he has never stopped since then. He enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Foggia, earning a three-year degree in “Fashion and Costume,” understanding how much this path did not represent just a simple job to him. It gave him the chance to identify himself in a real lifestyle, acquiring a deeper knowledge of colours, tailoring techniques, and types of fabrics by manipulating them to create new shapes. He moved to Rome to start a new path and chase his dream, with new challenges, in the “Haute Couture Master” at the Accademia Costume & Moda, in 2019. Deadlines set for each project and the countless exams have helped him constantly plan and reach every goal with the utmost seriousness, humility, and desire to improve himself.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Angelo to discuss his journey in the fashion industry, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

Everything started one summer, in 2016, when I started drawing dozens of illustrations per day. I remember that many of my friends went out while I stayed at home to draw traveling on my mind.
They were my first sketches. I immediately understood what my passion was.

So I decided to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts in Foggia, my hometown, starting to discover the beauties about fashion arts, to discover the love for fabrics, and my own desire to always create something new. In those years, I got very close to tailoring maker; I loved sewing all garments for the graduation by myself, experimenting with new shapes on the mannequin, and choosing innovative and functional fabrics.

In 2019, after my bachelor’s degree, I moved to Rome to complete my studies. I enrolled in the Master Alta Moda at the Accademia Costume & Moda.

It was a very important career path; I grew up as a person and as a designer, learning to work in a team and complete all the goals. I’ve improved the development of creative research for the collections by making them extremely personal. It has been a strong path, which despite the Covid blockade, has contributed to my professional growth.

What do you like most about being a designer?

Being able to convey a message, being able to say what I think without words, but using art, colors, shapes, fabrics that convey lightness or melancholy as well.

I think it’s very important to feel free because one’s freedom makes others free too.

Nowadays, the designer has a fundamental role within society, young people identify with a brand or in a fashion icon, and this is what I love: having a continuous exchange of needs with the people you meet.

I want to feel part of this society because I know they can give a lot to me and, at the same time, I can leave a message for them too.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

You need to have a strong personality and have clear ideas about what you want to convey; otherwise, there’s the risk of no longer being fundamental for society. It’s important always to have new ideas, be open-minded as much as possible to new needs, and always question oneself. Otherwise, it could become difficult.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

The catwalk, of course. A designer works to his creations day and night, but what always pushes me to give my best is to see my clothes worn when they come to life.

On the catwalk, everything comes alive, from the fabrics to the colors that light up; at that moment, I relive the whole journey in a few seconds. The adrenaline of the last moment combined with the feelings of models and the tears of thanks knowing that I’ve left something of mine to those who have looked at my collection. I remember perfectly after the MittelModa Fashion contest, in September, and the last Fashion Graduate Italia the smiles and hugs with the whole team, the congratulations from Rosemary Ferrari backstage. They are unforgettable moments.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I take this opportunity to thank all the people who work in the Academy because they have helped me in this fundamental path of my life. All professionals who have dedicated their time to pass on their experiences and their passion to all of us.

It was very important to exchange and grow with people who love this job because they have enriched me a lot, have been a push to believe in what I was doing, and always pushed me further. A fundamental person was Santo Costanto, to whom I say thank you. He was always present for everyone; working with him during the master and having him as a teacher was also important on a human level.

In this job, you have to surround yourself with positive and proactive people; only in this way could I overcome my limits.
​​
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

The humility of always wanting to learn, constantly questioning myself, and never being satisfied. These characteristics have always helped me move forward while respecting the work of others as much as possible.

The awareness of learning has led me always to have new goals every day.

I always try to be positive by finding an issue solution because the company has deadlines, and there’s no time to put yourself first.

In my opinion, the most wrong thing a designer can commit is to think that he has already reached the finish line.

Resuming your third question: in my opinion, that’s a big downside.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Absolutely yes!

They were the first to believe in me; they listened to and welcomed my passion and dreams.

If I got here today, it’s above all thanks to them.

It was a journey that we shared together and that they will surely continue to share with me. I think they also received all my feelings and perceived the need to express myself with my work.

Today the fashion world belongs to them too.

I will always be grateful to them.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Honestly not, I wouldn’t change anything about my path.

I made choices that made me grow as a person, designer, and with relationships with others.

You never know if that choice is right or wrong, but I’ve been able to improve some things from mistakes, and I have moved on.

I live the choices as a positive opportunity; I always try to avoid the negative sides because maybe what doesn’t arrive today will arrive tomorrow. You have to persevere and believe in what you do, be determined.

Every choice I made was determined by a historical moment, and I’m so glad about all the choices I have made to date.

Now I’m thinking about the next one.

FASHION GRADUATE ITALIA 2021
(Photo by Daniele Venturelli )

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The secret lies in constant work… Work a lot!

You have to work hard, make many sacrifices, be willing not to sleep for whole nights to understand where to improve yourself.

In recent years I have made many sacrifices; there have been very demanding weeks, then the work always pays off.

My advice for those growing this passion is to be determined and believe in themselves. The right attitude is to be curious, never get tired of knowing, never be superficial, and be dynamic.

To love this job is the most important thing, dedicating as long as possible to achieve excellent results.

To those starting, I say to always believe in it and never forget why you have chosen this job. It will be your strength.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

My first goal is to start working for a fashion brand, to be able to give my knowledge to make something beautiful together.

Being complicit in a creation, sharing feelings with the brand, and making my little experiences available while growing with the company and the team.

In a few years, I hope to have the opportunity to open my own fashion line, womenswear, and men RTW, to be able to get involved again.

A secret dream is to enter a haute cuisine school: I’m cultivating this interest because it’s a source full of inspiration, relaxation, and well-being for myself.

FASHION GRADUATE ITALIA 2021
(Photo by Daniele Venturelli )
FASHION GRADUATE ITALIA 2021
(Photo by Daniele Venturelli )
FASHION GRADUATE ITALIA 2021
(Photo by Daniele Venturelli )
FASHION GRADUATE ITALIA 2021
(Photo by Daniele Venturelli )

Big Aussie Fashion Brands Urged To Sign On To International Accord To Stop Garment Worker Exploitation

Australian big fashion and clothing brands urged to sign on to international accord to stop garment worker exploitation.

The union representing workers in the garment industry is calling on five major Australian companies who manufacture clothing overseas to sign a new international accord to prevent worker exploitation in the industry.

The companies on the list own some of Australia’s biggest fashion brands, including Peter Alexander, Just Jeans, Dotti, Portmans and City Chic.

The former Bangladesh accord has now been renegotiated and extended to other countries. The new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment sector has been signed by all but four Australian companies who had previously signed the Bangladesh accord.

Those companies are:

·      Design Works

·      Licensing Essentials Pty Ltd

·      Specialty Fashion Group

·      The Just Group

Textiles, Clothing and Footwear National Secretary of the CFMEU Manufacturing Division, Jenny Kruschel, said there were major compliance and safety issues in the garment manufacturing industry globally.

“No company or brand should make profits at the expense of workers,” Jenny Kruschel said.

“The accord ensures safe workplaces, and helps prevent exploitation of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“These companies have done the right thing in the past and signed the previous accord that was put in place after the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh.

“We call on them to now sign on to the new code, which will protect more workers in more countries, as well as their own brands.”

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet

Emerging Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented XZOUIX

XZOUIX was born behind the Iron Curtain in 1986, in a country of Czechoslovakia deformed by normalization and visually molded by functionalism. From an early age, she observed her surroundings from a safe distance, curiously watching the world with wonder until she decided to shape it. Her love for nature and design has led her to become a fashion designer specializing in zero-waste design. XZOUIX is not only a person; it’s also a product resulting from the work of XZOUIX. It’s a garment or an object in which a zero-waste design principle merges with a juxtaposition of asymmetry and symmetry, deconstruction, and minimalism. It’s a human, and it’s a thing, and it’s a mood. 

It’s a long coat or a dress that flows around your body in a certain way and a mood that comes with it. It is just as particular as elegance of darkness, aesthetics of brutalism and transparence of functionalism. Watch it move. Let the garment whisper and flow. And follow along.

XZOUIX resides in private collections and wardrobes across the world. It has been shown in a number of national and international events, fashion shows, competitions, and exhibitions like Designblok in Prague, Czech Republic; Aspen AIDS benefit fashion show in Telluride, Colorado and at the international Arts of Fashion Symposium in San Francisco, California.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with XZOUIX to discuss her journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry? 

I studied fashion design at the School of Applied Arts in Ruzomberok. They taught me everything about the garment-making process, from r&d through garment construction to perfectly tailored custom garments. Later on, I continued my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, where I got my Master of Arts degree. 

What do you like most about being a designer? 

The creative freedom.

Downside to being a fashion designer? 

My brain is always in work mode. XZOUIX is a one-woman operation, which means I do everything from design and product development to sewing and post-production, including photography, website, and even marketing by myself, so going to sleep or taking a weekend off is often unthinkable. I am still learning to master the work/life balance and take a pause when I need it because I like what I do, and I always get inspired. My teachers used to say that my mind is a river. 

The inspiration just never stops coming.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

Having the opportunity to travel around the world to show my fashion collections and seeing happy customers wearing my designs with confidence, beautifully matched with a smile on their faces.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

People who love their work; the ones that are willing to pass the knowledge and share their creative drive. I love and admire that kind of energy because it makes sense and inspires me always to be moving forward.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

No deadline is too tight. I learned always to take chances and never pass the opportunity to learn something new.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

I can’t say they are supportive, but they are definitely patient. 

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Nothing, really. However, I would tell myself to follow my instinct and learn to recognize which idea is worth investing in and when to quit and move on to a fresh start. With the constant flow of inspiration that I have, no sheet of paper stays blank for too long anyway.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Learn to say “no.”

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I am slowly transitioning from avant-garde fashion to designing functional clothing for motorcyclists. The paths we take in our careers rarely go smooth and straight as planned, but with open eyes and an “always inspired” attitude, even an unexpected detour on the road to the imaginary top can become an adventure with the potential to change our perspective forever. And in my case, keeping my eyes and mind open led to changing my career’s destination from shiny fashion runways to well-weathered back roads discovered on two wheels. 

I used to tell myself I should keep a distance between my design work and my other passions. Now that I’ve outgrown my teenage ambitions of unbound creativity and came to understand that my personal life and my work are always going to blend into one, I decided that the motorcyclist in me should be given more space to express herself more freely. I allowed myself to start building a second brand that will cater to the community I feel I belong to. And what better way to spend more time among motorcycles and like-minded people than creating protective gear for motorcycle riders? 

I had already found true meaning in recycling fabrics and leather, so with this, I am allowing myself to truly put my effort into something bigger than the need to create. Caring about the motorcyclist’s safety and at the same time giving a second (or third) life to leather means so much more!

 A “good design” is well thought out and leaves no negative environmental trace when it’s done. That is why XZOUIX aims to follow a “zero waste” design path. And yes, I know that leather = murder. Just let me explain why leather at XZOUIX matters and, in fact, the purpose driving XZOUIX forward. Leather at XZOUIX is strictly salvaged leather. It is either manually recycled leather or leftover leather, donated to me as a gesture of support from people who know my work. Animals shouldn’t be “raised” only to serve the purpose of becoming pieces of mass-produced clothing, be it fashion garments or functional clothing such as motorcycle jackets, etc. 

Recycling materials like abandoned leather is an idea that goes beyond a creative need and design love; it is what gives a sense to what I do. Over the years, I worked with different materials and media, but only recycling fabrics, particularly leather, gave me a deeper sense of purpose. We all need a purpose, especially when it comes to work. If I learned something from the world we live in, caring about the world we live in should correspond with creating the world we live in. I believe that whenever I save at least a few animals or a piece of cow by lowering the demand for new material, I help create a better and more lively environment. This is my purpose and a trace I want to leave. 

Emerging Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Mathilde Lhomme

Mathilde Lhomme is a small-town girl with big dreams.

After studying sewing and costume history, she left her suitcases in Paris and started working at the age of 19 for the Moulin Rouge workshop; this led her through the world of haute couture on the catwalks. Passionate about the world of haute couture and cabaret, she mixed these two forces to create an original, solid, and feminine fashion. For her, fashion is a real state of mind, art, and she’s convinced that a garment is so much more which can impact the person who wears it.

Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Mathilde to discuss her journey in the fashion world, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I always knew I wanted to do this job before I even figured out what it was. I was drawing all the clothes I saw on TV and in magazines. I was doing fashion shows with my barbies /dolls, and I was very invested in my looks at school and carefully chose each of my clothes.

After my degree, I entered this professional field as a « petite main » (hand sewing) to help with the extra work before Fashion week. I was then 20 years old when I first worked on the catwalks of Chanel, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, and many others.

What do you like most about being a designer?

This work brings together all my passions, drawing, fashion, and sewing. I like it most because it constantly develops my creativity, and even if the job remains the same, it’s an eternal restart, each time you have to reinvent yourself and create a new theme, new shape, new fabrics. I like to develop a new universe each time to learn more and more about this profession, to surpass myself.

Downside to being a fashion designer?

It is a ruthless profession. There is very little room for a lot of talent. I want to develop this elitist side and make fashion more accessible to everyone. We do not all have the same emphasis, and some people work a lifetime without ever having gratitude.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

My best memory will forever be my very first fashion show as a designer. In less than two months, I had to draw and sew my own collection for the final of the national competition for young designers in Paris.

I lived in a tiny apartment; there was fabric everywhere! On the floor, in my kitchen, on my bed. I fell asleep while working and then continued when I woke up.

I was surrounded by all the people I loved, and I was doing everything I fought for the first time. It was one of the happiest days of my life. For the first time, I had chosen everything down to the smallest detail, the music, the models, the hairstyles; for a day, I lived in my biggest dream.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I haven’t really spoken to him, but I have been very inspired by the work of Jean Paul Gaultier from a very young age. I had the honor of working on one of his fashion shows. I was able to discover how this humble genius of great kindness spread love and happiness wherever he went. It is the fashion that I want to see and that inspires me. He proves to us that we can be successful by being a nice person.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

Ten thousand hours of work to excel in a discipline takes us from novice status to expert. Since that day, I have never stopped, and I don’t count my hours anymore. And above all, that nothing is impossible with work and passion.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

My family has been my biggest supporter! They have always encouraged me to make my dreams come true.

I told my parents that I wanted to be a stylist when I was 10; I think, since that day, they have done everything to help me. They took me shopping; I helped pick out the clothes for the whole family. My mother would print me fashion articles and stylist stories she found on the internet. They helped me find the studies that suited me and then helped me settle in Paris. And they’re always there to share my successes and help keep me hopeful. They always believed in me; that’s where my determination comes from.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

If I could go back to that time and give myself some advice, I would tell myself to stop thinking too much and just go for it! And above all, believe in yourself.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice anyone has given me is that no one will do things for me, no one will come and push me, no one will go and do my work. No one will come and give me the job of my dreams. It’s up to you to do everything, create your own opportunities, and get started. It’s up to you to prove that you deserve your place.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I have always dreamed of having my own brand, this is the next step for me. I’m working on it, and I can’t wait to offer my vision of fashion, develop my own identity by mixing fashion and show intended for those who want to be the main character of their lives, celebrating differences and boldness.