Young Australian Designers At International Fashion Week
September marks the start of two big fashion weeks – one in New York and the other in Vancouver. Apart from fashion being the obvious common denominator, the other similarity is that both will feature young Australian designers.
New York Fashion Week (NYFW), which opened on 8 September, welcomes back Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas of Sabo Skirt and sees the presence of newcomer Rebecca Klodinsky of Frankie Swimwear.
Meanwhile Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) opens on September 19 with another newcomer, Emma O’Rourke of THE LABEL, showing her new collection of ethical clothing.
woman with drive spoke to all four women before they set off on what is bound to be the start of many career highlights.
In just five years, Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas turned their local fashion blog into an international fashion label with a combined 2 million fans on social media. They were caught by surprise last year when the invitation to show at NYFW arrived just a month before the event but seized the opportunity to launch their new label, Sabo Luxe, at one of fashion’s most prestigious runways.
What does it feel like being invited back to NYFW?
It is amazing and a blessing to be able to go back to NYFW for a second time. Now that we know what to expect we are looking forward to just blowing everyone out of the water with what we have put together for the show. We have a really strong collection that will hopefully make people fall off their chairs.
What are you expecting this time?
We were not planning on showing for NYFW last year but after we got the invitation we decided to launch a small collection of Sabo Luxe there and it was awesome. This year we have a more solid story to tell and a larger collection that really complements every outfit to another. I am very excited.
Tell us about the range you will be showing.
It will be a slightly more floaty, lighter collection with feminine touches and basic silhouettes.
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Frankie Swimwear is only three years old but its stylishly smooth Italian Lycra suits have already graced celebrity bodies the likes of Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid. No small wonder then that Rebecca Klodinsky has been invited to launch her new label, Frankie by Rebecca, at NYFW this year.
Describe Frankie Swimwear’s philosophy in your own words.
Frankie is for celebrities and the girl next door, and that resonates really well with my customers.
What big wins have you had in the last three years?
In the last year it has been seeing celebrity customers showcase the brand on social media. Rihanna’s public relations team requested the gold bikini and then Kylie Jenner purchased the black bikini, which sold out within three hours! We have also just signed with a company in America that is the equivalent to David Jones so Frankie will soon be in every American state.
What is it like being invited to show at NYFW?
NYFW was never a goal so soon but then I got the email which opened my mind to the opportunity. It is amazing to be representing Australia at fashion week. The international exposure for Australian designers is incredible and Americans love what Australians can bring because our design front is unlike any other.
Tell us about Frankie by Rebecca.
It is a collection of ready-to-wear pieces that are constructed from the same second skin Lycra that I use in my swimwear and I am ending the show with four looks. I have been working on this collection for six months now. I want Frankie to be the go to label for basics and staple pieces in a high quality neutral palette.
What will you be wearing at NYFW?
I am from Melbourne so I will probably be in all black. It is hot there at the moment so maybe a black crop top.
With only one year of being in the fashion business, Emma O’Rourke brands herself the “baby in the industry”. And yet she is already making a name in ethical fashion with THE LABEL. Since receiving the VFW invitation in April, she has spent the last few months pouring heart, soul and energy into her new collection.
Describe THE LABEL’s philosophy in your own words.
The three words behind THE LABEL are innovative, refined and wearable. I want my garments to be challenging, whether that means visually or behind the scenes in garment making. I also want them to be ethical so people are not wearing garments with a dark past. Most of my garments are machine or hand washable and versatile so people can really make them their own.
Tell us about the collection you will be showing at VFW.
The collection goes back to the core of THE LABEL, which is minimalist. Obviously I can’t give too much away as it all needs to be a surprise but it will feature fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles among others. That fabric is amazing. I wish I could send samples to everyone.
What does it mean for you to represent Australian fashion abroad?
It was a pinch-yourself moment. I am a very lucky person. It is a lot of pressure but I hope I do people proud. It also means there is a movement towards a more ethical future. I would like for it to be a symbol of that. Every label that starts and tries to improve the industry, is taking one step in the right direction. So the more designers taking that step, the better and it is absolutely my responsibility as an emerging designer to do that.
How do you balance your day job at the Australia Bureau of Statistics and your business?
It is tricky but in some ways it helps that my day job has absolutely nothing to do with fashion. I work on Excel spreadsheets for half the day and on creative work for the other half so I am tapping into both sides of my brain.
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