After winning the 2013 1% Glue Awards Kara Liu successfully launched her fashion career; collaborating with Glue Store to launch a 50 piece winter 2014 collection. Since then, she has worked at some of the most prestigious fashion houses in Australia and abroad.
We chatted to Kara about breaking into the industry, developing your brand and the benefits of a good
Since winning the 1% Glue Awards, what skills have you gained throughout your six month internship?
I’ve learnt how to design commercially. This is important as ultimately, a designer has to design with his or her customers in mind. I’ve also gained skills such as working with overseas manufacturers.
How important was this experience for you personally?
I think for me, it was a different design experience. The Kara Liu x Glue collection has a different target audience to my usual target market – the collection for Glue Store targeted a consumer who is a bit younger. It was a very important and rewarding experience to be able to design with a different customer in mind. I had a lot of fun designing a range that is a bit more fun, a bit more street, a bit more humorous.
What is your design ethos?
In a few words: refined, subtle, luxury, simplicity, function, easy. I believe all good designs must serve its intended purpose: to be functional. I design things that fit into everyday life. At the same time I hope to elevate the everyday out of the boring and the mundane with attention to detail.
What is a day in the shoes of Kara Liu like?
Hard to say! No two days are the same. But I do start everyday with a good cuppa.
What is it like having your designs showcased nationally?
It is fantastic to go into a store to find styles sold out in certain sizes and to hear and see lovely feedback on social media. I love seeing girls and women feeling confident and beautiful in my clothes.
What was the best advice you were given during your internship?
“Think about the customers.”
What do you love about Glue Store?
It is so vibrant and fun!
Who is your favourite designer and why?
I absolutely adore Phoebe Philo. I think she is simply amazing at creating minimalist perfection, which is very difficult to do. When all non-essential things are stripped back, everything that remains has to be 100% right. She is not afraid to take risks but also maintains a very good line of commercial products. I could go on and on...
Has fashion design always been a part of your life?
Not at all! I was planning to become a doctor – I come from a family of doctors.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I don’t really have a detailed five year plan, but the goal is to improve myself in every aspect as a designer as much as I can. I don’t mind either working for a label that I admire or advancing my own line.
How different is it designing in Australia and abroad?
I think it depends on the label/company and I can only speak from my own experience. Of course the industry overseas – say in the US or Europe – is a lot larger than our local industry and more fast paced. I very much enjoyed working as part of a large creative team at Alexander Wang. However I enjoyed my time at Glue Store where I worked in creative solitude.
Given this experience, do you one day see yourself conducting your own mentorship program?
I would love to mentor young fashion students. I have learned so much more from my various industry experiences thanat Uni.
What is next on the agenda?
To take a holiday and become a better designer.
Enter the 1% Glue Awards for your chance to win a six month paid internship with Glue Store and have your fashion range produced, distributed, marketed and sold through the Glue Store network. Entries close December 5 2014.