Next gen designers: Shaydn Gill

Full image credits here.

Cream of the crop.

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is upon us, and once again the country’s best graduate designers are ready to put on a great show.

The National Graduate Showcase brings together the shining stars from Australia’s top tertiary institutions. Supported by Target and presented by Fashion Journal, you can catch the runway March 9 at the Royal Exhibition Building. Tickets are available here.

Ahead of the show, we thought you might like a closer look at 2018’s up-and-comers.

Meet Shaydn Gill from Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Your label is called Tighe-Allen. Where does that name derive from?

Tighe-Allen is my indigenous great-grandparents’ last names. Allen coming from my great-grandfather’s side of the family and Tighe being my great-grandmother’s maiden name. [I’m] paying homage to two very special people who have heavily shaped my life.

Can you briefly describe your collection?

My collection is a concoction of my personal discovery with my indigenous heritage. However, it was also an outlet for my thoughts and frustrations towards both past and current indigenous affairs. It was me really pushing myself out of my comfort zone in all aspects, from doing menswear to fabrications, concept and the colourway.

What inspired your graduate collection?

It’s a really long story. Ultimately the collection took inspiration from the notion of ownership and ‘the other’, which eventually led to the idea of being a prisoner in your own country. The collection also focuses on the idea of empowerment, resistance and rebellion through culture.

How has your indigenous heritage informed your designs?

My indigenous heritage heavily informed my collection. It was a way of paying homage and connecting with my family whose lives and experiences have played an influential role in my life. It was such an incredible experience to collaborate with my nan’s cousin, Ann Johnson, who created the beautiful and meaningful artwork seen in my collection. The indigenous affairs over the last two centuries also had a monumental impact on the collection.

What materials did you work with?

My collection utilised lots of staple materials such as merino wool, denim and a variety of leathers. I also got to work with some pretty unique and fun fabrics from New York such as cracked vinyl as well as faux crocodile embossed vinyl.

Have you used any sustainable methods in your collection?

I placed a lot of emphasis on fabrics with durability. I think a major issue in the fashion industry is disposable or fast fashion. Throughout the collection, I worked a lot with local manufacturers, which was a real eye-opening experience. I think if people knew how many hands a garment passes through in the manufacturing process, there would be a much greater level of appreciation for [those] garments.

What’s the hero piece?

This is such a hard question – each look has such a beautiful story and personal meaning to me. Overall I think the hero piece is the oversized maroon leather jacket. The amount of work that went into that jacket is unfathomable.

What do you want to achieve with your collection?

I have always said I want to be educated and to educate others. Australian artist Ken Done perfectly sums up what I was trying to achieve with this collection, in relation to his artwork with the Great Barrier Reef –“behind every picture that might attempt to be beautiful, there is a message if you are there to receive it”.

If you could design an outfit for anyone, who would it be?

Oh, it would definitely be Michael Lockley, aka Golden Child.

What’s next after VAMFF?

After VAMFF I am super excited to take part in the honours program at Whitehouse and to have another year of experimentation and portfolio development under my belt.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would ideally like to be able to speak another language and be living somewhere in the northern hemisphere working under a fashion house, getting paid to do what I love.


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