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Aussie designers a sheer success in Beijing

Cite Magazine
Online exclusive

Curtin graduates have torn up the runway with their red-hot designs at China Graduate Fashion Week 2017.

Curtin students lined up after their designs were presented at China Graduate Fashion Week.
Photo: China Graduate Fashion Week.

Seven Curtin fashion graduates entered the week-long May event, which was open to young talented designers based in the Asia-Pacific region.

The opportunity came about thanks to an agreement with Fashion Council WA who invited Curtin University graduates to represent them.

“We feel very privileged to have been invited to participate in China Graduate Fashion Week,” says fashion coordinator Dr Anne Farren, who accompanied the graduates to Beijing.

“The theme of the Curtin runway show was ‘Bespoke’, which refers to the ‘custom made’ or ‘handmade’ focus of the course at Curtin. We encouraged our students to be creative because we believe that they should be able to provide innovative design solutions for the fashion market. It’s also important that graduates understand the importance of being able to communicate through garments – to be able to tell a story.”

More than 1,500 fashion graduates from 53 schools, colleges and universities presented their collections during the fashion week.

Fresh from being a finalist in New Zealand’s iD International Emerging Designer Awards Show, graduate Addy Pasquale presented her fashion collection, Lure, which conveys the concepts of attraction and temptation.

A little different to your stock-standard designer wear, Pasquale’s shimmering garments feature actual fishing lines, lures and tassels intended to ‘lure’ the gaze of viewers. In fact, Pasquale created her Lure jacket by painstakingly hand sewing 2,500 soft plastic lures, while she handmade the 1,500 tassels for her Lure dress from fly-fishing lines.

“The inspiration behind my collection comes from being surrounded by avid fisherman in my family,” Pasquale explains.

“I wanted to create a striking, unique and colourful collection that mixes one-off pieces with ready-to-wear pieces. The ideas of attraction and temptation have been used throughout the different embroidered garments to convey the mood and feeling of ‘allure’.”

Designs by Addy Pasquale

Lure by Addy Pasquale (photo: China Graduate Fashion Week).

Fellow graduate Christy Law took a different tact with her women’s wear collection, Cultural Fusion. Drawing on her experience living in both Perth and Hong Kong, Law blended cultural signifiers in her clothing to raise awareness of women’s rights in eastern nations.

“In recent years, thoughts of gender equality are more open-minded in eastern nations and the social status of women has increased the appeal of feminism,” Law says.

“By drawing on the aesthetic elements of kimonos and hakamas, the collection shows the powerful elegance of women.”

Law used screen-printing and foil-printing techniques to create the unique prints in the clothing, which were inspired by the Japanese pine tree.

Designs by Christy Law

Cultural Fusion by Christy Law (photo: China Graduate Fashion Week).

Graduates Emma Watson and Sophie Watson, who were both recipients of a 2016 Australian Wool Education Trust Scholarship, created their collections using Australian wool fibre, but both had a different approach to their interpretation of the textile.

Emma’s collection, Yimniny, explored the idea of ‘place’ within the Australian culture and landscape. Her design investigated the juxtaposition of elements between traditional Indigenous Australian culture and contemporary Western culture.

“My work looks at a range of signifiers within Australia’s diverse cultural background. The pieces are deeply influenced by Aboriginal artworks and their ability to tell the story of past, present and future in relation to the physical and spiritual landscape,” Emma explains.

Sophie’s collection, Woven Women, drew inspiration from the growth of the feminist movement from the 1940s to the present day to create different garments that tell a powerful story of women across the ages.

“Each garment carries elements exploring the histories of women woven in wool, creating subtle references about the progression of equality through the textile,” she says.

Designs by Emma Watson and Sophie Watson

Yimniny by Emma Watson (left) and Woven Women by Sophie Watson (right) (photo: China Graduate Fashion Week).

Natalie Lee from Fashion Council WA explains that the opportunity for the fashion graduates to make connections in China through presenting their collections is highly lucrative in more ways than one.

“Australia and in particular Western Australia is a close neighbour to China. It makes sense for us to connect with Asian markets. China is also emerging as a strong influence and leader in international fashion along with other fields of design,” Lee says.

“It is important for Australian fashion graduates to be active in this region, to make connections and understand how they can be a part of this market.”


Full list of Curtin graduates who presented at China Graduate Fashion Week:

  • Addy Pasquale ­– Lure
  • Christy Law – Cultural Fusion
  • Emma Watson – Yimniny
  • Jasmine Nielsen ­– Kara Jane
  • Naomi Halls – Shibui: Hand of the Maker
  • Sarah Mah – MAH
  • Sophie Watson – Woven Women.


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