The future of fashion.

Words by

Tara Smith

Our favourite time of the year is here.

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival has kicked off and this year’s lineup of graduate designers looks very promising.

These designers are the crème de la crème of the country’s top tertiary institutions, all brought together as part of the National Graduate Showcase.

Presented by AMP Capital and supported by Fashion Journal, the National Graduate Showcase will take place at the Royal Exhibition Building on March 19. You can pick up a ticket here.

We thought you’d like to get to know the designers yourself. Say hello to Meredith Bullen from University of Technology Sydney.

Tell us a bit about your collection.

ADAPT explores the relationship between the body, dress and landscape. It draws focus on the early Australian settler and the ways they adapted their codes of dress to suit the harsh Australian landscape.

This idea of adaptability is explored through oversized, transformable and layered workwear-inspired pieces. Through eyelets, D-rings, belts and drawstrings, each garment can be worn in various ways to encourage wearer interaction. This idea of adaptability was explored further as the collection was shown on both male and female models on the runway.

What inspires you?

Photography, primary research, textiles and technique. For example, the construction technique of weaving heavily inspired my graduate collection. Sampling and experimentation drove my design process and my collection. [I look at] art, the natural landscapes, how external factors can have an impact on fashion and certain codes of dress. [Also] movement of fabric, interactions between textures and menswear. 

Did you have a specific wearer in mind when designing this collection?

The wearer is someone who understands quality design, has an eye for detail and appreciates time-honoured craftsmanship. Someone who is confident in themselves and isn’t afraid to invest in quality statement pieces. They’d most likely be living in New York or a place where it gets quite cold during winter. And, they enjoy wearing multiple layers of denim.

What materials do you work with and why?

I love to work with natural materials, for example, wool, cotton, denim and linen. I worked with these as both a fabric and as a yarn. I love working with wool, specifically the wool-denim blend of my grad collection, as it has amazing properties inherent within the fibre. It drapes and handles really well and most importantly, is easy to sew. Using woollen yarn combined with cotton yarn gives a variation in texture, and texture is something I focus a lot on when I’m designing a collection.

Can you describe your technique?

The technique I focus on is weaving. I hand-construct all my textiles on large frame looms, usually in my bedroom. It enables me to create dense, textured pieces that capture the essence of the Australian landscape. As a technique, it is very time-consuming and requires massive amounts of yarn, with each piece needing weft and warp yarns. I am really inspired by the possibilities of weave and spent a majority of my honours year sampling and experimenting to develop unique, eye-catching textiles.

What draws you to the Australian landscape?

It’s all in the texture.

Where’s your favourite place in Australia?

My parent’s house in Orange.

What’s the hero piece of your collection?

The long yarn woven jumper. It's entirely hand-woven and I love the contrast in texture of the fluffy style weave, with the flat baby pink areas. Also, the combination of woollen and cotton yarns gives another layer to the differing texture in this piece. Plus, it keeps you extremely warm.

What do you listen to when you create?

Anything to keep me motivated, I roll through Flight Facilities' Decade Mixes a lot. They’re about an hour each mix so it’s a good way to keep track of time!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Go for it.

What’s in store for 2017?

More designing, more weaving and more challenging myself as a designer.


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