08/03/2016
Future makers.

Words by

Veronica Stanford

There is only one day left. Yep, the VAMFF show we’ve all been waiting for is about to take place.

Tomorrow night, the finalists for the National Graduate Showcase, Presented by Target and Supported by Fashion Journal (!) will send their carefully crafted graduate collections down the Virgin Australia runway.

With one day to go, it’s fitting that we only have one emerging talent left to introduce.

Meet the designer behind Leila, Alice Kennedy from RMIT.

Describe your grad collection in three words:

Minimal, modern, textured.

What was the most challenging thing about the creation of your collection?

Probably not knowing where to stop. There’s never a clear end point when you’re creating a collection (or with anything creative really). There’s not just one answer or mark. You’re always going to want to create and construct more pieces, so reaching a feeling of completion is extremely relieving. 

Because some of my pieces are very minimal I felt, at points, that I needed to keep adding to them. I found that really challenging at times, because there is a fine line – when just one more piece is too much and can destroy the look and feel of the collection. 

If you could design an outfit for any person alive or dead, who would it be and what would it look like?

David Bowie. He did, and still does, have such an influence on people, fashion, culture and music. His interest, not just in wearing fashion but in learning about clothes and designers, wanting to collaborate and being involved in the process was amazing. 

How much love and respect he had for what he did inspires me. He really was a hero and to be able to create something for him, to be a part of his world ‘just for one day,’ would be an amazing opportunity. 

What is your favourite song or album to play when working on your designs?

I don’t really have a favourite song, my music choices change dramatically depending on my mood, where I’m working and who I’m surrounded by etc. The common factor is that whatever is being played, is always at a deafening volume (whether it be over speakers or in my earphones). I can’t work any other way. I think it’s my way of blocking out the space around me and means I’m able to really concentrate! 

Is there a designer you aspire to be like or look up to?

There are a few. Some who have already mastered the industry, like Calvin Klein. Others include my friends and peers, that are just starting out. They work just as hard, never slowing down. They have found what they are good at and what they love, and are prepared to do anything for it. I aspire to be like these people. I think I’m ready to work hard and slave away to get to where I want to be. Calvin Klein, in my opinion, has never put a foot wrong. It has mastered the industry, each season producing new and innovative designs. 

Where do you think there is a gap in the fashion market?

I think the industry’s really got it all covered. There’s very little room for new people in the market but it’s always open to fresh ideas. This is where I think materials could really begin to change the industry. 

The whole industry could look further into using unconventional materials, as well as seeing current fabrics in a new light. Using materials in a different way gives a fresh perspective and provides something different. And it seems everyone is always looking for that little something different. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years! Wow, I don’t really know! I’d love to be in New York! I’m thinking of moving over there later this year. So maybe if something comes from that, I will still be there in five years. One of my dreams is to work for Calvin Klein, so that is something I will be looking into when I get there. Otherwise my plan, after a bit of traveling – and learning the ins and outs of the industry – is to start my own label, either here in Melbourne or in Sydney!

If you weren’t into fashion design, what would you be doing?

I’ve always wanted to study criminology. In high school it was between that and fashion. I’ve always been fascinated with human behaviour and psychology, and understanding why people do what they do. However, I’m 100 per cent positive I made the right choice (in studying fashion design). I love it more everyday and wouldn’t give up the past four years for anything.

What fashion trend do you most dislike?

Fast fashion is a ‘trend’ that is slowing breaking the industry. It’s hard enough [to break in] as it is, without having to compete with massive companies. They essentially steal designs and get them turned over in less than two weeks and then sell them for 1/8 of the price. It’s really disappointing to see people support this trend but I understand that most people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. This is something that people need to be educated about and made aware of, so they see the implications of their actions.  

Favourite fashion moment? 

There are so, so, so many. But recently, I would have to say the SS16 Calvin Klein collection. It was PERFECT. Probably one of my favourite collections ever. I am so in love with Calvin Klein and everything it does.

What advice you would give to someone wanting to study fashion?

Don’t. But then that advice didn’t work for me! So I guess then it would be to get ready. You’re going to have to work very hard but it will be worth it. One of the best things is the people you meet along the way. Your teachers and friends have an unbelievable wealth of knowledge, so write it all down! 

You get out what you put in, in this course and industry. You have unbelievable support from school, friends and family – which you should take, because you'll need it when you’re still at uni at 3am and you need someone to go to 7/11 to get you a $1 coffee. But at the end of the day, you’re very much on your own. No one is going to sit down and design for you. That's the scary part but also the exciting part. You have total control.

There is still a chance to grab yourself a ticket. Head to over to VAMFF to secure your seat. See you there.

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