Pens out.

Words by

Eliza Sholly

Talking to young designers can make you feel a number of ways. One is seriously inadequate about your own personal accomplishments. Another is ready to take on the future.

When it comes to building your own brand in the digital age, there’s so much more to success than just having a good product. While yes, that’s definitely a prerequisite, the personalities behind these projects are what gets us really excited for the future of creativity.

Ella – Mr Winston and co.

Why create your own brand?

I constantly have visions of clothes I would love to wear but cannot find. As a result, I decided to start my own label and I established Mr Winston in 2017.

I’ve sold vintage clothing to girls via Instagram for years, which gave me a great insight into what our market is interested in purchasing. This was a great platform for my business partner and I to start Mr Winston.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

The success of our business relies on fast turnaround in product. That’s why local production is vital, as we're constantly smashing out small ranges of items to keep up with the latest trends and styles. This allows us to quickly react to things we see.

What characteristics define your generation?

Competitive. Seeing something and wanting it fast.

What excites you right now?

I’ve just returned home from Japan with a lot of inspiration for upcoming ranges that I’m currently putting into action.


Krystal – Krystal Deans

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Minimal, timeless, clean-cut and structured, with silhouettes, fabrication and design details that reference the '90s… but with a modern take. I stick to archetypes and make them my own through the use of alternatives silhouettes, interesting seam finishes and design features that create a point of difference.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

Fast fashion. The mass production, overconsumption and excessive waste occurring around us is pretty ridiculous and very scary. I'm writing my thesis this year on the slow fashion movement, researching ways in which we can change the mind of the consumer and, in turn, stop the industry from churning out new 'seasons' every three days. There are millions of other issues within the fashion industry worth noting but this definitely the one that keeps me up at night.

What characteristics define your generation?

Smashed avocado and an unhealthy addiction to social media.

What excites you right now?

The fact that I'm finishing my degree in November and have no idea where I’ll be in a year’s time. Exciting but also mildly scary.


Mitchell and Fraser – Sirap Apparel

Why create your own brand?

We have been friends for a long time since high school. Ever since we met, we’ve clicked over mutual love of fashion. We would always go shopping together because we had similar taste, but we noticed there were a lot of up-and-coming brands in Melbourne at the time, that were always coming out with the same generic designs and style.

Who do you design for?

We design for ourselves. We would never produce something that we both don’t love. But also for those who aren’t afraid to be different and aren’t afraid to express themselves in all aspects of artistic expression.

What issues are important to you in the industry?

The affordable pricing of garments. It seems a lot of brands are charging top dollar for basic-quality garments with nothing exceptional about them. Also, the fact that people are starting to get into the industry just for the perks, rather than a love of fashion or the process of making garments.

How would you describe the energy in your city?

People are veering away from normality and starting to become individuals from a fashion aspect, which is definitely a more European vibe. People are appreciating the more underground aspects of fashion and music, instead of following what everyone else is wearing or making. It’s exciting to be a part of such a vibrant and flowing society of artists and individuals.


Tessa – ATOUT Studios

Why create your own brand?

For me, there has never been another option. It’s been a dream of mine since I was very young.

Having complete control over all aspects of the brand, especially all creative outlets, has been the best way for me.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

Authenticity is the main issue for me at the moment, as I have seen a lot of independent brands’ designs being copied by the bigger brands. Unfortunately, it’s something that is very hard to control.

How would you describe the energy in your city right now?

I'm located down on the Bellarine Peninsula, which always has a relaxing, chilled energy. But each time I do make a trip to the city, it’s energetic, which always leaves me inspired.


Lily  Feu Et Glace

Why create your own brand?

I started Feu et Glace because I decided that my obsession with jewellery would have to be channelled into something bigger than just myself.

How would you describe Feu et Glace?

To me, Feu et Glace pieces are the kind of jewellery you can put on and never need to take off. The first silver collection, Glace, has a religious theme and the pendants are perfect for either sex to wear every day.                          

What issues in the industry are important for you as a designer?

I think one of my biggest goals in launching this collection is to blur the lines between what is traditionally ‘male’ or ‘female’. Jewellery should be an expression of your personality, style and attitude. Not an identifier of your sex. Once the gold collection is finalised, I'm hoping to partner with an organisation supporting the LGBTI community.

How would you describe the energy in your city right now?

I think Melbourne is one of the most open-minded, forward-thinking cities in Australia. There’s still a long way to go in terms of welcoming all kinds of self-expression but I’m very lucky to be surrounded my incredible, talented friends and family who always inspire and encourage me with their positive energy.


Eleni  SKÄR

Why create your own brand?

I've always made my own clothes from little ideas that I've had, that have never been on the market. After increasing interest and support from friends, I saw creating my own brand as a fitting way to harness and propel this creativity.

How would you describe SKÄR?

I wanted to create an eclectic mix of unique pieces that I personally had not found in the mainstream and affordable market. I feel that SKÄR bridges this gap by creating a personalised range that is handmade, rather than mass-produced.

Who do you design for?

My aim is to target those who want something different and something unique. I didn't want SKÄR to be a brand that everyone and anyone will wear and I didn't want my designs to be safe and simple. For me, it's not about making a lot of money from styles that can be worn by anyone or sold easily.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

I feel that a lot of design today is purely targeted at increasing profits and lowering costs by mass-producing conservative collections. I hope I'm able to reinstate the arts and crafts movement that contemporary society is so apparently suppressing.


Sophia  HATRIK

How would you describe Hatrik?

Hatrik was born from (and still is to a huge extent) my hobbies: creating arts and fashion. It’s hard to pinpoint, but Hatrik the brand is about creating pieces of wearable fashion, mainly from vintage denim, at home in my studio. While the product is a really important element, I also think creating content around the brand is super important. From social channels to website imagery and collaborative projects, it all tells the story of what we are constantly creating.

Who do you design for?

I started designing pieces for family and friends, and now it’s grown online to reach a wider customer base of mostly females. They choose the embellishment they want and then I start to draw up designs. Once approved, we hand stitch every piece ourselves. It’s amazing to see customers get on board with the customisation and creating their own bespoke designs.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

Among a number of issues, I think sustainability is the biggest thing for me. Vintage and op-shopping is amazing, in the way you can recycle pre-loved threads and old clothes and accessories. For me, fast fashion is rarely appealing, I find it hard to comprehend a shirt that costs you $20. I’m always stopping and thinking ‘where did it come from? Who made it? What is it made from?’

How would you describe the energy in your city right now?

I think you make the energy in the city you’re in. That’s a super general question but I think it’s all about the people you surround yourself with, the places you hang out in and keeping yourself occupied and interested in learning new things is always amazing. In Sydney, I like to go to the art galleries, fashion events and on mini road trips up the coast, the energy in all of these is so different. I think it’s what you make of the situation.


Elizabeth  Mundame

Why create your own brand?

I’d always thought that I would finish uni and take whatever job I could get. But I realised very late into my degree that my interest didn’t exclusively lie in design. Rather, I found satisfaction in completing the entire process, from initial concept to seeing the garment on a body. Creating my own brand has allowed me to have total control over each of these elements, which of course adds extra work, but for me, has resulted in a more fulfilling job.

What issues in the industry are important to you as a designer?

Offshore garment manufacturing blocks our view of who is behind the clothing we wear every day and the environment they’ve been forced to work in. It’s really exciting to see newer Australian labels keeping manufacturing local and even more encouraging to discover the growing interest consumers have for clothing which has been designed and made here.

How would you describe the energy in your city right now?

Melburnians are really interested in what’s happening in their own city, in terms of music, art, design. The idea that a piece of clothing has been entirely designed and made here is super appealing to the Melbourne consumer.

What characteristics define your generation?

While we’re often seen as lazy and entitled, I feel fortunate to be part of Generation Y. To me, our generation is progressive, determined and extremely hard working. Our generation is open to new ideas, it is supportive, and it looks to include rather than exclude themselves from what may be their ‘norm’.


Leave a comment


Full-time, Part-time, Casual, Melbourne
Full-time, Melbourne and Sydney
Full-time, Casual, Melbourne and Sydney
Part-time and casual, Melbourne
Part-time, Sydney
And look (kind of) professional while doing it.
Full-time, Melbourne
Migraines and head colds just don't cut it anymore.
The student designer on our radar.
Casual, Perth or Melbourne
Presented by Target and Supported by Fashion Journal.