Club Venus is the fashion label paying homage to Melbourne’s electronic music scene



“Aesthetically, Club Venus melds the underworld of the nineties raver and [the] futuristic femme.”

Walking into one of Melbourne’s now-defunct underground clubs six years ago, I was overwhelmed with the diverse beauty and imaginative creativity of the late-night partygoers. Before even entering the thumping venue, the snaking line was a wondrous throng of colour and texture, where reflective techwear met neo-gothic fashion and sparkling rave attire. For designer Charlotte England, this unique clubbing culture was the catalyst for her own label, Club Venus.

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After moving to Melbourne from Canberra, Charlotte found herself immersed in the city’s “flourishing and enigmatic” electronic music subculture. Wanting new wardrobe pieces to wear on her nights out, she tried her hand at making clubwear of her own and Club Venus was born. Below, Charlotte reflects on her journey so far.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion/jewellery background?

I haven’t had a traditional start in the industry by any means. I’ve loved fashion since I can remember. Although my interests ebbed and flowed throughout my childhood (from being an avid dancer to growing an obsession with film photography and even creative writing), fashion design has always been my one creative love.

I grew up in an inspiring and supportive household but felt lost leaving high school, as many often do. I didn’t believe fashion could become my actual career. I’m from Canberra originally. In the capital, [it felt like] jobs like that just don’t exist.

I soon recognised I had the power to choose where my life was headed. It was kind of an empowering realisation to come to. So, I packed up and moved. I quickly found myself situated in a flourishing and enigmatic subculture here in Naarm – the electronic music scene – and saw my two loves collide.

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

It didn’t really have a defining starting moment. For the last six years, I’ve sold clothing in one form or another – both vintage clothing and pieces I’ve made – but it was always just a hobby. I moved to Naarm to study fashion at RMIT a few years ago, which was my first formal introduction to the industry.

After just a year of falling in love with this city and its people, COVID hit. It was truly life-changing. For the first time, I was able to slow down and assess what I was doing. Club Venus came about in December of 2020. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind… but not without its setbacks. I constantly find myself on this huge learning curve.

If it weren’t for the beautiful fashion industry here in Naarm and the people I’ve met, I would’ve struggled. This year, I took the plunge and quit my second job. I moved from making clothing in my lounge room to having a studio in Brunswick. I’m still making everything myself but am looking for contract machinists soon for the summer collection. It’s evolving so fast.

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now?

It’s kind of a representation of me trying to find my way in the world like many other young people are. I think I’ve been on that journey for a while now and it’s fully reflected in the evolution of Club Venus. The music community I’ve found myself in is a huge inspiration for the clothing I make.

It started from me looking for clothing to wear out dancing. I couldn’t find what I wanted aesthetically or ethically – so I made it myself. I loved it so much that I just wanted to keep creating and sharing that joy with others. Club Venus has had many forms [over the years], and I hope to see it continue to evolve for many years to come.

The brand is pillared by my hunger for change in the industry. Through the project, I hope to promote ethical and local manufacturing as the norm by solidifying slow fashion concepts in the mind of the consumer. I want to bring energetic and expressionistic clothing into more sustainable futures.

Keeping [my brand] small and local is incredibly important to me. But more than that, I hope to create a community where anyone can come to explore their full expression, in an open and loving space. Much like what the dance scene has done for me over the years.

How would you describe Club Venus to someone who’s never seen it before?

Aesthetically, Club Venus melds the underworld of the nineties raver and [the] futuristic femme. I make investment pieces and clubwear basics that can be taken from day to night. I tend to use a lot of neutral or dark colours… it’s like the renaissance of goth. I play with fantasy, magic and dark spirituality a lot too.

I lived in Germany when I was younger. Someday I hope to see my designs in the likes of metropolitan meccas like Berlin, Copenhagen or London… New York, too. If I was to describe the brand to someone from a visual standpoint in three words, I’d say it’s grungy, urban and sexy.

Where did the name come from?

I’ve always been intrigued by the human experience and our obsession with escapism and desire. Venus, a Roman goddess, governs love and beauty. She kind of embodies lust. I love her representation in ancient art and, of course, her acquisition of the planet closest to us.

She’s the crossroads where mythos and fantasy collide with stark reality. There’s an element of sexy futurism inferred. I wanted something that represented community and belonging as well. So, Club Venus was born!

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?

Probably the cargo pants! I came out with them about a year ago and people have gone nuts over them. It’s kind of outrageous to think about how many I’ve made, all by myself. They come in sporty recycled nylon lycra, bamboo/organic cotton velour and a nylon sports mesh. I want to do a second edition for summer in hemp linen.

What do you wish you knew when you started?

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so rushed to start. Doing an internship or another job in the industry could have served me well after studying. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. The experience I’ve gained has been very hands-on, which is incredibly fulfilling. I’m proud of the fact that this is an organically grown business. That’s what slow fashion is all about anyway!

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now?

Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp, Maroske Peech, Alix Higgins and Posture Studio.

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

I’ve already seen a lot of change in the Australian fashion industry in the last couple of years, which has been amazing. There’s this real push to bring manufacturing back to Australia after mass offshoring happened a few decades ago. I think there could be more government incentives to speed this process up. With the support of one another, we can collaborate, endorse and strengthen the industry for a better future!

Dream Australian collaborators?

Distal Phalanx, Ebonny Munro, Rose Pure, Sexiaz Lingerie, House Arrest, Lucky Tooth Gems, Miscellania and Terminal Six.

Go-to dinner party playlist?

Well if it wasn’t already obvious, I adore dance music. For the dinner party portion, I would put on something sexy from a local mix series, like Animalia, Butter Sessions or Area 3000. Naarm has an outrageous and energetic electronic dance scene – but anything from an Australian label like Fluxx or Meganesia would do the job!

My friend Lucy just came out with a new track, ‘Break Up Song’ (remixed by Eben), which has been on repeat. To party on into the night, you could probably expect to hear some hard dance too, at a Haptic, Rendition or Slamross1000 event. Some other favourite club nights include Dutty Worldwide, Framework and Techworld. Too many to count!

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

Most of what I own is vintage. This season I’ve been collecting ugly ’90s and early 2000s bridesmaid corsets, soccer shorts, trench coats and silky scarves. Other than that, I try to support small independent brands like Karlaidlaw, Alix Higgins, Be Right Back, Krystal Deans and Club Venus – of course.

How can we buy one of your pieces?

Through our online store or one of our stockists: Sucker and Blonde Concept.

Anything else to add?

You can also find us at a few special collaborative club nights in Naarm soon! You can keep up to date on our social media pages to find out when. My main project is a new collection that I’m frantically prepping for, which is dropping online on August 16. I’m so excited for this new drop and everything to come. Remember, the world is your oyster!

Start browsing the Club Venus collection here.

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