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Hey, I Like Your Style! Exploring the world of Melbourne-based digital doll, Jonty Knight

IMAGE VIA @JONTYKNIGHT/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“Every day has contributed to my style evolution, in both overt and covert ways. I’m in a constant state of flux, and I find inspiration everywhere.”

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.

Describing themselves as an ‘alien simulation and digital doll’ Jonty Knight’s futuristic, chameleon-like style is a glimpse into the future of fashion. Born and raised in Cape Town, Jonty moved to Naarm to study fashion in 2018. It was here that they really found “a safe space” for self-expression, and where they made their foray into the world of metaverse dressing. Read on for Jonty’s style journey.

Who are you and what do you like to wear?

 

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I’m Jonty Knight, an alien simulation and digital doll, and I like to wear anything (both physical and digital) that aligns with my expressive nature.

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

One thing about me is that I don’t hold myself back. If I want to wear something, I will, regardless of what someone else might think. As a result, I’ve had some very questionable fashion moments in my past… but I like to see it as a necessary step in the refinement of my identity. Exploration is one of the most enjoyable parts of fashion and coming from a performance background, I’ve always used fashion to create and explore different characterized versions of myself.

This started as early as I can remember. From the age of three, I was utterly obsessed with Cruella de Vil and Posh Spice. I feel like that explains a lot. I’d constantly be dressing up and breaking clothing/gender norms before I was even aware that there were any. I was simply wearing what I felt inclined to, despite it not being perceived as the ‘normal’ thing to do.

 

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From about the age of six, I started to realise I had to hide the way I wanted to dress and save it for when I was safely locked behind my bedroom door. Before I came out, I was stuck in a very rigid community, where there were very clear ways that a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ were expected to dress.

There was only so long I could go before a collared shirt and chinos would be the death of me… so I had to change it up. I only gained the confidence to start challenging the status quo again when I moved to Naarm and found a safe space to express myself; in any way that I wished.

From then on, every day has contributed to my style evolution, in both overt and covert ways. I’m in a constant state of flux, and I find inspiration everywhere. I definitely have the most grounded understanding of who I am now. I think my expression has played a huge role in building that foundation and inner confidence.

Now, I think my ideal style would be that of an alien punk princess; regal and otherworldly but at times, dark and subverted. This is largely why I love digital fashion: because I can express a part of myself in the digital, even if it’s too unrealistic/expensive/impractical for the physical. But who knows, this could all change again tomorrow.

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

 

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I feel that when you’re insecure, you have a high tendency to want to fit into a certain box or trend for ease of comfort. So I definitely think there’ve been times where I’ve doubted myself, or I’ve been made to feel that if I’m not following the trends, I don’t ‘get’ fashion. To me, ‘trends’ are nothing more than a capitalist marketing ploy intended to herd the sheep. I try my best not to buy into it.

I think social media also plays a huge role in trend pushing and buying pressure. I think a good example of this was the Miu Miu set. It was hilarious to me, I couldn’t go a day without seeing someone obsessing over or wearing this DIY cutout skirt. You could literally make it yourself at home, and save yourself hundreds while doing so. But because it was Miu Miu, people were buying it without question.

Once upon a time, I would’ve also fallen into that trap… but now I can quickly recognise when a trend favours fashion or when it favours capitalism. Most of the time, I tend to buy my pieces secondhand or spend my money on items I know will last beyond a trend. I heavily dislike the ‘fashion box’ that equates having money to being fashionable. I’m more impressed by people who can make a $20 outfit look fashionable than a $2000 one.

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

 

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I was very much still deep in the closet, so naturally, I sheepishly wore what most other ‘boys’ wore. That being said, I somehow always managed to subtly express my individuality through my clothing though.

Did that mean a Jay Jays green collared v-neck, green skinny jeans and Supergas with the South African flag on them? Yes, it did. Do I have regrets? All of them. But hey, you’ve got to do it once in order to know you’ll never do it again.

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

I truly struggle to justify spending too much on clothing at this stage of my life, so most of my pieces are secondhand. I guess I’d say my thigh-high Jil Sander boots, which I thrifted in NYC, would hold the most value. My least expensive item would be this fur petite coat that I thrifted for $6, I’ve worn her to the ground. It was such a happy find.

What is the most meaningful fashion piece you own?

 

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I’m a very sentimental person. I really will hold onto anything that has a story. My sister, Jackie (behind the label Wackie Ju) designed the most beautiful couture dress during her final year at RMIT, which I modelled. The two-part dress was made to my measurements and was gifted to me by Jackie. I’ve had so many beautiful moments with Jackie, and this piece represents the start of so much for us and a very special part of my life.

My sister Jules Bramley and I also created this custom white fur look for the ball that we went to a few weekends ago. We spent the day together, I helped (or tried my best to make the process quicker and easier for her) and by evening we had finished the look and I walked my first runway category in it. Moments and pieces like these, I cherish forever.

What’s in your cart at the moment?

I have an affinity for shoes, so I would love to own the Rick Owens thigh-high Kiss boots, or the Window Sen thigh-high space boots. Both are way too out of my budget, but maybe one day.

What fashion piece are you saving for right now?

 

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I love the Rombaut Boccaccio Heels in Black Velvet. I love when there is a good balance of masculine and feminine elements, and when have a tactile and utilitarian feel.

What are the wardrobe items you wear on repeat?

As an everyday staple, anything black and leather. This is definitely where Posh Spice’s influence comes in. I probably own one too many leather jackets, but each allows for a slight variation in my day to day style, keeping it a little bit exciting for myself. I wear my New Rocks to death as well as that $6 fur coat I mentioned earlier.

Who are your favourite local designers?

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible designers in my close circles. I will be plugging my best friends here because I really do back them the most.

 

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Wackie Ju and Jules Bramley, of course. I also love what Pigsuit is doing, Michelle Li, Sabatucci, Koutros, Emily Watson, Qatur, Enso, Toilé Studios, Minming Zhou, Fazeone, Jarrod Reid to name a few. There really are so many unique and talented people around me, it’s quite remarkable.

See more of Jonty’s killer looks here.

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