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Hey, I Like Your Style! Inside the wardrobe of artist and designer, Wayan Preston

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“I’ve realised I don’t need to stick to fashion trends or have the same style as someone else to be considered stylish.”

We know personal style is a journey (I’m looking at you, Tumblr years), so we’ve introduced a new series Hey, I Like Your Style! diving into the fashion psyche of our favourite creatives. We’re talking the good, the bad and the 2007.

While the internet has made our fashion icons feel closer than ever before, even the most effortless of outfits came from a closet with some (well-dressed) skeletons. Clickable product tags, photo archives and lives chronicled in 30-second clips just don’t tell the full story.


For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.


These are the stories behind the wardrobes, exploring how we develop our own personal style. There’s a brilliance behind the way we choose to express ourselves and at FJ, we know every outfit has a story.

After spending some time in New York, Brisbane-based designer Wayan Preston came back to Australia with her own bag label, a newfound love for flea markets and some of her best wardrobe gems yet. This week, we’re talking about her style journey – from Baby Milo to Barragan.

Who are you and what do you like to wear?

My name is Wayan Preston, I’m a multidisciplinary designer and artist based currently in Meanjin, Brisbane. I like to wear garments and accessories that express my personality, add to my confidence and suit my mood.

What has your style evolution looked like? Do you feel like you’ve gained confidence in the way you dress?

Gaining independence through adulthood, making my own money and travelling are all things that have contributed to my style evolution. Growing up in Brisbane was not the most inspiring influence on my style. When I was old enough to make pocket money, I would save it to buy subscriptions to Oyster and Russh magazines, which always featured interesting articles on fashion.

I’d flick through all the pages and rip out the things I liked, plastering them all over my walls. As much as I wanted to have access to the fashion on those pages, I didn’t. Instead, my wardrobe started to fill with thrifted clothing – it was my way of affording my own personal style.

During that time, there were ‘it’ girls I looked up to, like Alexa Chung, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Rachel Rutt – I tried to take elements of each of their styles and combine them into my own.

I remember looking at The Cobra Snake (which was kind of like Instagram before Instagram, IYKYK) and seeing all these fashionable people like Jeremy Scott, Kanye West and Cole Mohr. I thought, ‘This is how I want to dress’. It was the loudly printed hoodies from Baby Milo, Discount Universe sequins, Jeffrey Campbell heels – all so 2010!

I’m never really set on one style, it’s always evolving with me. In the last few years, I moved to Melbourne and lived in New York, which both influenced my style. I now scour Depop for second-hand clothing to find special pieces that you can rarely find in Australia.

I’ve grown to realise what makes me feel most confident is clothing that I feel is unique in some way. Supporting emerging designers – especially if they’re local – is the best way to get these special pieces in your wardrobe. I’ve also gained confidence in the way I dress through making my own designs. I feel amazing wearing one of my Yani bags, which I designed myself and made with my own hands.

Personal style is a journey. Have you ever felt like you needed to fit into a particular fashion box?

Personal style is definitely a journey! Thankfully, I’ve never felt I needed to fit into a particular fashion box. I’ve realised I don’t need to stick to fashion trends or have the same style as someone else to be considered ‘stylish’. I’ve always tried to just wear things I like and not worry too much about what others think.

Take us back to those awkward teenage years. Do you have any fashion regrets?

I definitely had an awkward style phase – who didn’t? I think the transition from childhood to adulthood was a little weird for me. I had a period of wearing tonnes of bracelets, only all-black Converse and lacy socks. Towards the end of my teens, my style became hyper-feminine – exclusively heels, tight dresses and skirts. It definitely wasn’t me, but I don’t regret it.

What are the most expensive and least expensive items in your wardrobe?

The most expensive item I own is a coat by Tsumori Chisato. Unfortunately, I never wear it (it just doesn’t suit my style anymore) but it is beautifully made. Some fairly recent high-end additions to my wardrobe are my Ottolinger top from the Fall 2020 collection and favourite pairs of Eckhaus Latta pants from Spring 2019.

I own three black Italian leather jackets that have all remained staple items in my wardrobe and are some of the least expensive items I own. They’re all from op shops or flea markets. I have a pair of incredible Dolce and Gabbana pants that were a bargain – I found them in a thrift shop in New York.

What is the most meaningful fashion piece you own?

I have a Misbhv hoodie that came with me to New York while I was living there. I had a very small collection of clothes and left most of my wardrobe in Australia. During winter, I wore it almost every day – that hoodie always reminds me of my New York memories.

What’s in your cart at the moment?

My cart is ever-growing and seems so out of reach; I dream of adding these items to my collection one day. I’d love to own a pair of Ugo Paulon heels, they’re sustainably made and so unique. Anything from Asai, Kiko Kostadinov, Ottolinger, Chet Lo, Mowalola, Charlotte Knowles, Gauntlett Cheng, Barragan – I could go on forever. I’ve had my eyes on a pair of Rick Owens thigh-high stocking boots for the longest time. It would also be amazing to own a piece by MGN jewellery, Megan’s Pearl Couture earrings are so beautiful.

What fashion piece are you saving for right now?

I’m constantly tallying up my funds to see if I can justify purchasing anything from my cart but at the moment, I need some warmer winter items. I don’t own any cardigans, so it would be nice to save up for a Marni or Ashley Williams piece. They’re always in the coolest colourways and made from beautiful textiles.

What are the wardrobe items you wear on repeat?

I always wear my Eckhaus Latta pants! They’re super easy to pair with anything and are one of the most comfortable pairs of pants I own. You’ll also catch me wearing a pair of black Nike Uptempo sneakers on almost any day of the week.

On cooler days, I’ll often wear my red velvet pants from Daisy Ltd’s first collection – they’re warm and I love the colour. When it comes to jewellery, my NYC drop earrings by Jiwinaia are my faves. They’re such a statement and can elevate any outfit. On days when I need to carry a lot, I always wear my big tote bag made by my talented friend Vissy Hoffie.

Who are your favourite local designers?

Some of my favourite local designers include Karla Laidlaw, Emily Watson, Maroske Peech, Romantics, Bichon Pockets, Hello Sisi, Sschafer, Olivia Rowan, Anni Enoka and Sexiaz Lingerie.

See more of Wayan’s killer looks here.

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