RMIT on Tour, Introducing Program Changes and New Staff

2019 has gathered momentum early with students and staff on tour in Japan and big changes happening across the Fashion and Textiles Programs. In this Houndstooth Wrap, we profile the first in our series of program changes, the Bachelor of Textiles, Sustainable Innovation, and introduce new staff member Dr Stephen Wigley, Associate Dean Fashion Enterprise. We also update you on growings in the Brunswick Garden, including exciting new planting!


Global Study Tour – Japan

30 Jan – 12 Feb 2019

At the end of January, while the sun was still baking the Australian landscape, a group of third- and fourth-year Fashion and Textiles students, along with Pia Interlandi and Sonya Kraan, visited Japan for a two-week study tour. The trip included visits to Bunka University in Tokyo and a Shibori dye workshop in Kyoto. Three students, Isabelle Matthews, Faith Bailey, and Sarah Brereton gave us some insights into the highlights of the tour.

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Photograph by Isabelle Matthews

Isabelle tells us: “We spent the first days of the tour in Tokyo, where we saw the Bunka Graduate fashion show. Then we travelled to Kyoto, where a few of the girls and I went on a tour to a collection of temples in a monastery called Daitoku-ji, once belonging to an influential tea master. These temples were relatively small and simple, unlike many I had been to before that were bedazzled in gold trimmings and teaming with brightly coloured flowers and decadent gardens. They were beautifully calming and peaceful, a place for contemplation for the monks who live there and the tourists who visit.

While in Kyoto we also did a Shibori dyeing workshop, got dressed up in kimono, went to a tea ceremony and wondered around the streets of Gion, where geishas once lived. After Kyoto we travelled to Nagoya where we slept and ate traditionally on Tatami mats. We also went to the Onsen, which is the Japanese communal bath. This was quite an experience! After Nagoya, we travelled back to Tokyo where we did a collaboration with the Bunka fashion design students, and some retail therapy and “market research” at places like Comme de Garcon, Issey Miyake, and RagTag (great second hand shop). A highlight for me was going to the 21_21 Museum (building designed by Issey Miyake) where I became aware of a crafts movement called Mingei. This beautiful movement about craft and creation being intertwined into the everyday life was so inspiring and definitely something I will be researching further this year.”

For Faith: The Japan study tour wasn’t just a trip overseas; it was an experience I’ll never forget. I learnt so much about my own fashion style and practice, Japanese fashion culture, traditional Shibori and weaving techniques, and also about myself.

One of the highlights was our workshop at Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo. For the design collaboration task, I was paired with Saki and together we produced a design using fabrics we had modified before the tour. Despite the language barrier, Saki and I quickly bonded and became friends. I found it surprising just how easily we communicated with our Japanese peers and hosts. I came onto the tour expecting to find it much more difficult to communicate but people were so kind and were more than willing to try and help us.”

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Faith Bailey and her collaborator Saki at Bunka

The tour was also an inspiring experience for Sarah.

“We travelled to a little town called Arimatsu, which has a rich history of practicing traditional Shibori. We did a workshop with the Murase family, who were so kind and generous. They taught us the Sekka Shibori technique and afterwards invited us to a beautiful traditional tea ceremony.

The TeamLab ‘Borderless’ digital art exhibition was incredible. You walk through this enormous building with many separate rooms, each as breathtaking as the last. The title ‘Borderless’ is fitting, as you become a part of the artworks as you move among them. The light projections constantly change and with the use of mirrors you often can’t work out where the walls are or where the artworks start and finish.

I could go on forever! Every day was a highlight.” 

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Photograph by Isabelle Matthews


(Re)thinking Fashion Globalisation

Bunka Gauken University, 15-16 February 

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Delegates at the (Re)thinking Fashion Globalisation at Bunka Fashion College, Tokyo

In mid-February, Dr Harriette Richards attended the (Re)thinking Fashion Globalisation Seminar, co-hosted by the Research Collective for Decolonising Fashion and the Trans-Boundary Fashion Seminar at Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo. The event bought together scholars, curators and practitioners from across the globe to discuss questions of decolonising fashion and re-thinking our approaches to the binary distinctions between fashion/costume, traditional/modern, past/future. The two day event provided an inspiring and thought-provoking opportunity to discuss and debate the changing shape of fashion studies. Stay tuned for the resulting publication!


Changes to Fashion Higher Ed Programs: Bachelor of Textiles, Sustainable Innovation

There are a lot of changes afoot in the School of Fashion and Textiles. Over the coming months, we will be profiling some of the new programs and courses that will be introduced in 2020. In this issue, we introduce the Bachelor of Textiles, Sustainable Innovation, a truly exciting development in the future of RMIT Fashion and Textiles. We spoke to Senior Lecturer in Textiles Dr Rebecca van Amber for some insights into this offering.

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“We are very excited to be developing Sustainable Innovation because it’s an area that we are extremely passionate about. Currently, there are very few courses offered anywhere in the world, and certainly none in Australia, that bring together Sustainability and Innovation in a single undergraduate degree. The delivery will be multi-disciplinary in its approach, meaning graduates will have a broad range of diverse, applicable skills, and will be well prepared for collaboration within the dynamic textile, fashion and related industries. Innovation in this field is critically needed not only to develop new products, but also solve industry problems. We plan to produce graduates who have the skills to impart real industry change.  

Students will develop hands-on, critical thinking and communication skills, with the freedom to shape their degree and focus on what really interests them – whether that is technology, sustainability, materials exploration, or applications related to the human body. This is the sort of degree that many of us wish we could go back and do again ourselves; when we attended University, this type of course just didn’t exist. We hope it is as exciting to prospective students as it is to us.  It’s not every day you get to design your dream degree!”


Introducing: Dr Stephen Wigley 

Dr Stephen Wigley grew up in Glasgow and Frankfurt, Germany but has most recently been based in the Department of Fashion & Textiles at the University of Huddersfield in Leeds, Yorkshire. He has moved to Melbourne with his wife and baby daughter to join us in the School of Fashion and Textiles as Associate Dean in Fashion and Textiles Enterprise. Welcome Stephen!

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Welcome Dr Stephen Wigley!

We asked Stephen a few questions to help us get to know him better…

What is your expertise in Fashion?  Although my BA was in Politics and History, I was always interested in fashion and especially the marketing side of the industry. When I graduated I began working with House of Fraser in a management role before becoming Brand Manager for DKNY.  After a few years, I enrolled in the Fashion Marketing Masters program at Glasgow Caledonian University, at the end of which I was offered a role as Research Officer with the University, working on a variety of commercial and industry research and consultancy projects covering the fashion and wider consumer/ lifestyle markets. As my academic career has progressed my research and consultancy interests have focused on interpretations and applications of the brand in fashion, and how the brand interacts with the corporate and creative decisions of a fashion business. 

What excites you about working at RMIT? Quite simply, I’m thrilled to be joining a university which is globally recognised and leads the way in fashion education, and to have the opportunity to work with a brilliant team of people in Fashion Enterprise, the School and the broader college and university.

What’s been the most surprising thing about moving to Australia? Coming from -3 degrees in the UK in January to the recent heatwave was a shock to the system! There’s nothing super-surprising about the move, it’s more the little things: the cashier packing your bag at the supermarket, traffic giving way to pedestrians, people showing an interest in who you are. Overall, so far I’ve found the approach to life more relaxed in Australia and although in the School we’ve all been working hard on our new programs, there’s always a sense of humour and personality in my colleagues – I really appreciate that.

We hear you’re a bit of a fan of the Grand Prix… I’ve always been a fast car fan and have been into F1 for as long as I can remember. Although I don’t follow as closely (or fanatically and noisily) as I used to, I can’t wait for the race in Melbourne. In fact, F1 gave me a ‘fashion moment’ back in 1999, when my friend and I went to the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy and in the course of our adventures managed to crash our rental car into a truck. Not just any truck, a truck owned by Prada – the driver told us, “Miuccia, she not ‘appy….” So ever since then I’ve looked over my shoulder when approaching a Prada store…!


‘Brunswick Plant’ Garden Growings

We are now in late summer, Kooyang. February is Dry Season and March is Eel Season. Plants which suffered from lack of water during the hottest months of summer are now able to renew growth. The Warrack Banksia or Honeysuckle, Long-leaf Box and Silver-leaf Stringybark has come into blossom, providing sweet nectar, and attracting birds. March is called the Eel Season because the female short-finned eels are moving down the streams to the sea; the male eels have been leaving in smaller numbers during the spring and summer. Birds begin to flock before heading north for the winter, to be replaced by other birds which will soon start to arrive from Tasmania.

We have new planting for Autumn! On Tuesday 12th March, Michael, our trusty horticulturalist, delivered our VegePod plants for the coming cooler season. We have an array of herbs, including basil, mint and oregano as well as fruiting chilli.

Some of spring planting still remains after the heat of the summer, the Swiss chard and a couple of angelica’s have managed to hold on. We are excited to have the beds replenished for the months to come.

Next week is Sustainability Week. The Brunswick Dye Garden will be hosting an Autumn working bee, including live composting and dye workshops, on Tuesday the 26th March. Look out for details on the RMIT Sustainability Week schedule. See you there!

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– Compiled by Dr Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

Wrap on 2018/Welcome to 2019

Happy New Year!

In this wrap, we look back at some of the many graduate and end of year shows from across the School, including in the Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours), the Masters of Fashion (Design) and the Bachelor of Fashion (Design Technology) programs.


SHOP @ LEFT

25 October – 1 November 2018

Masters of Fashion (Design) graduating students Rutika Parag Patki, Benjamin Garg and Amanda-Agnes Nichols presented a preview of their final projects and collections at the fashion boutique Left Melbourne on Coromandel Place. The opening event included performances to express the designers’ conceptual worlds.

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Replica Project pieces by Amanda Nichols

Rutika tells us why SHOP was a unique experience. “At university, we are constantly taught to have a reason behind every step we take, every decision we make. We are encouraged to ‘dig deep’ and go beyond the norm of ‘designing.’ The process almost makes fashion a form of art. Because of this, we sometimes forget that clothes actually need to sell. SHOP brought us back to this reality. The challenge, for me, was to choose/create looks that ‘spoke to’ the audience at Left. Most of my work is very different from the design that Left usually sells so I decided to make my pieces stand out from the rest of the show, making it more of a performance than just work for sale.” 

“My concept for the collection placed culture and heritage at the forefront. I was attempting what many designers have done before – trying to preserve heritage. 

Today’s world demands practicality but heritage styles and materials, like those associated with the traditional sari, don’t necessarily provide that. Therefore, in an effort to preserve these beautiful and culturally rich fabrics and garments, I created a collection that is not only powerfully contemporary but also easy to wear. The wearer feels fashionable and the garments carry the past with them. I used my grandmother’s old hand-me-down saris and coupled them with sport-inspired fabrics like mesh and scuba knit, using gold lurex ribbing to emulate the gold borders of the sari in a sportswear context. 

Re-creation of prints from the saris was one of my main goals. To do this, I printed scuba fabric with a slightly distorted print copied from the saris. I also reproduced the print through laser cutting onto tulle and sports mesh to change the identity and materiality of the textiles.” 

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Shop @ LEFT, work by Rutika Patki


TRI: The Retail Initiative 2018 Exhibition

Wednesday 7 November 2018

The Retail Initiative (TRI) project gives students from the Associate Degree in Fashion and Textile Merchandising and the Cert. IV in Custom-Made Footwear a unique competition experience where they work with industry partners to gain direct insights and knowledge in the Australian retail industry. The exhibition and event on the 7th of November showcased the students’ work and celebrated the winning teams.

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The winning team with Myer managers

Second year Fashion and Textile Merchandising student Eleftheria (Elly) Livaditis shared some of her insights.

“The TRI project gave us the opportunity to create a range for a leading industry team. Our allocated team gave us a specific market and we designed, drew and envisioned our creations based on their specifications and advice, as well as guidance given to us by our mentors and industry members during our presentations.

There was so much to do all at once (which made it extremely stressful at times!) but the project really pushed us and taught us the importance of good organisation and time management as well as the necessity for communication within the team.

During the evening, winning teams were presented by the industry members and following the presentation students and family were able to mingle with industry members and their teachers. It was a lovely and intimate way to reflect on and celebrate the year outside of the university environment.

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Country Road team

Thanks to the amazing industry connections of RMIT I have been lucky enough to gain a retail job at Dior over the holidays. I hope that, after completing my Bachelor degree next year, I will be able to get my foot in the door at a large company, where I can work in marketing. My dream goal is to start my own online fashion business.”


LOOK.BOOK.SHOW

Friday 9 November 2018

Final year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours), Bachelor of Textiles (Design)(Honours) and Master of Fashion (Design) students presented their graduate portfolios and look books in the new fashion design studios on level 12, Building 8. The event included a celebratory ‘procession’ of students down Swanston Street as well as the launch of the inaugural publication Advanced Fashion Studios Papers, issue 1 ‘The Penthouse.’

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Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) graduating class of 2018!

The Advanced Fashion Studios Papers included a collection of images from the shoots the students completed with fashion photographers Agnieszka Chabros and Phebe Schmidt and a poster representing the student thesis projects, mapping the collective research interests of the cohort.

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Final look books on display


SHOW: Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Showcase at MPavilion 

Thursday 15 November 2018

The MPavilion showcase was a collaborative presentation to celebrate the 2018 RMIT Master of Fashion (Design) cohort’s mastery of advanced fashion practice. Three graduating Masters students, Rutika Parag Patki, Benjamin Garg and Amanda-Agnes Nichols showed their collection in an immersive catwalk experience at the MPavilion.

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Work by final year Master of Fashion (Design) students (L-R): Rutika Parag Patki, Amanda-Agnes Nichols and Benjamin Garg

Rutika tells us: “The MPavilion show was the biggest event of the season for us. It had to be perfect. Most of us had never organised this kind of event before so it proved tricky to balance creating our outfits and organising everything. However, although it was hard, it taught us the art of multitasking and priorotising jobs over one another. The garment-making part proved to be much easier than getting sponsors, making call and run sheets, coordinating with talent, the stylist, the choreographer, directing the lighting designer, the music etc etc!

For Amanda, the show was reminiscent of her collaborative work as a costumier on film projects. “Everyone, from the students and external creative to the academic and MPavilion staff, was aiming for a shared creative vision and working to a very specific brief. This process called for extensive collaboration in order to present a cohesive production – just like in film and theatre.

As a Masters cohort, we were incredibly diverse in our design aesthetics and methodologies. Both Benjamin and Rutika moved from India to Melbourne to study at RMIT, whereas I moved from Sydney. Our collections reflected our respective personas and personal histories. My collection, Replica Project #1, was based on based on archival research I have done in the couture collections at the V&A, Balenciaga and Kyoto costume museums. The garments are outcomes developed from my examination of Christian Dior’s Bar suit of 1947, the first ensemble I viewed at the V&A. My intention is to carry on the Replica Project with each iteration in conversation with a different significant garment or ensemble from fashion history.

In putting the event together, we wanted to present a show that unified our different perspectives and our collective vision as design colleagues and friends. We thought that the best way to do this would be through music. Seshadri Varadarajan, a classical Indian Veena musician, composed three tracks with each track embodying a sense of each designers’ unique creative vision. For my collection, we chose a futuristic Space Odyssey 2000-inspired piece, played on the Veena, which beautifully reflected and complemented the work.  

After a year of development and then two months making the garments, it was such a great feeling to set the work free and have feedback from the invited guests and public attendees. I already felt so much support for the work from our academic community but having such positive responses from people outside our RMIT community, including stylists, magazine editors and other fashion designers, was so exciting and encouraging.”  

Photography by Lucas Dawson.


AUSFF Scholarships – RMIT won times two!

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Congratulations to Amanda Nichols and Helena Dong, who won the Australian Fashion Foundation Scholarship Awards. They were each awarded a financial grant of $20,000 USD and a six-month internship at a global fashion house in Europe or the USA.

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Winners of the AUSFF Scholarship Awards, Amanda Nichols and Helena Dong with AUSFF Co-Founder Malcolm Carfrae and Influencer Mimi Elashiry at the awards ceremony in Sydney, December 19, 2018.

Photograph by Myles Kalus (c/o AUSFF).


End of Year Staff Events

Thursday 13 December 2018

Anything but Human! The School of Fashion and Textiles end of year event was held on the 13th December and saw creative spirits run (semi-)wild. There was a chicken, a batch of eggs, some coloured pencils, a cow, a fish, a banana, some emojis and even a dilemma (who won the award for ‘most philosophical’).

RMIT Christmas Party, Brunswick Edition

Friday 14 December 2018

On the afternoon of the 14th December, the rain clouds dispersed and the sun came out just in time for the Delta Society therapy dogs to arrive, along with an amazing array of food, drinks and entertainment – the perfect way to end the year before Christmas.


‘Brunswick Plant’ Garden News

December is Kangaroo-apple Season. The weather is changeable, thundery and hot. Dhuling (Goannas) are active. Fruits appear on Kangaroo-apple bushes. Bundjil (Wedge-tailed Eagles) are breeding. Days are long and nights are short.

January is Biderap Dry Season. Hot, dry weather. High temperatures and low rainfall. Female Common Brown butterflies are flying. Bowat (tussock-grass) is long and dry. The Southern Cross is high in the south at sunrise.

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Kangaroo-apple fruit (Artist – Karina H McInnes; Source – Museum Victoria)

‘Usually when a storm’s coming, rain birds, black cockatoos, yellow crested, they come down from the mountains. And you can bet on it within two or three days it rains. Never fails. Two days and it rains. And they make a racket.’  – Brian Paterson, 1999

‘I don’t know why, we used to play around the tussock grass. Playing hidey. So they must have been big enough to hide around. And it was nothing to see a snake curled up inside the tussock grass.’ – Dot Peters, 1999

On Monday 19th November 2018, the Garden Committee, led by Dr Pia Interlandi, hosted the inaugural Garden Harvest. School staff came to the garden for iced peppermint tea and scones with blueberry and raspberry jam. Dani Andree and Verity Prideaux shared  some of their dye testing with us and together we harvested rainbow chard, sorrel, beetroot and red onions. Guests were given dye packages with pieces of calico and silk, instructions for dyeing and a vegetable to take home to test for themselves.

This was a beautiful way to open the garden and welcome the RMIT Brunswick community into the space. We are looking forward to an amazing 2019!

– Compiled by Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

Sustainability and Blackspot in Fashion and Textiles at RMIT

Across the School, finishing touches are have been put on graduate collections and our students are getting ready for a well-earned rest. In the garden, blackspot and aphids have plagued the roses, but the leafy greens in the VegePods are thriving.

RMIT is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, this commitment was rewarded at the 2018 Australian Green Gown Awards, where the university won the ‘Continuous Improvement – Institutional Change’ prize. The RMIT Sustainability Committee was also highly commended in the category of ‘Outstanding Leadership Team.’ These are remarkable achievements that recognise the work of the university to embed sustainability throughout its operations in order to create impact through practice and meaningful change. Congratulations!

In light of this dedication and these awards, we wanted to find out more about the School of Fashion and Textiles programs supporting these Goals and contributing to the university’s sustainability objectives.

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Textile Design

The Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) program includes multiple approaches to sustainability. First-year Textile Practice & Theory includes a group project called Re.Constructed, which aims to introduce students to working collectively to generate a communal understanding of sustainable textile design. Second-year Digital Textile Design and the Marketplace asks students to design corporate gift items for the School of Fashion and Textiles. Part of the brief includes having each student propose an element of sustainability – whether in production, service or afterlife. Third-year students are working across a number of sustainability areas, working with natural dyes and producing handmade, emotionally-durable designs.

Third year student Lauren Stringini is producing beautiful work with botanical prints and natural dyes. She was kind enough to share some of her work with us.

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Lauren Stringini – Tote and Dress

Lauren has a passion for sustainable textile practices and began exploring botanical colours as a second year student working on a speculative materials project in which she collaborated with Deakin University to experiment with recycled pigments. In her third year, she has continued experimentation, working with avocado dye and developing ways to transform waste into product. In September, she presented her work at the Natural Dye Conference at RMIT.

For her final folio, Lauren has continued her exploration of floral imagery and design, producing purpose-driven work to challenge the fast fashion industry. Of her designs, she notes: “Each type of flower was chosen as a dedication to a special woman within my life. There is a focus on creating ’emotionally durable’ textiles that people will want to care for and pass on.”

Fellow third-year student Jemma Lobwein has also been exploring sustainable and slow design in wearable textiles for her final collection, Poetic Processes.

Jemma writes: “Combining traditional elements with contemporary aesthetics, Poetic Processes aims to foster relationships with textiles while addressing the need for conscious efforts in designing for fashion. Prints depict botanical impressions with large and real-sized flowers appearing on silk, linen and cotton fabrics coloured with natural dyes from madder root, avocado seed and marigold. Poetic Processes explores the crossover between crafted processes and inspiration taken from nature; the collection aims to add emotional value to each garment by cherishing the handmade.”


YOURDROBE18

“In the theatre of everyday life, wardrobes seem to afford a moment of introspection- bringing out self doubt, worries about ageing, stage fright, the surfacing of repressed feelings, reviewing of secrets, reminiscence, or anticipations. … wardrobes are the space for a series of mundane repetitive activities that are not only under the sociological radar, but also under that of popular culture….”  (Skov, 2011)

Third year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) studio YOURDROBE18 takes as its central premise the repetitive activities that take place in and around our wardrobes… choosing an outfit, getting dressed, accessorising… The studio, led by Kate Sala and Jo Cramer, asks students to consider their methods for fashion practice, particularly why, how and what they chose to create. The studio work results in the creation of an efficient, customised collection of garments enhancing student knowledge of clothing and consumption habits, whilst also providing a more diverse and holistic appreciation of the actions, relationships and social processes associated with clothing. Ultimately, YOURDROBE18 provides students with the means to create more sustainable futures for clothes.

In addition to Kate and Jo, the students were lucky enough to have guest speakers Sigrid McCarthy (ECA, Intent Journal) presenting a two-hour in-class workshop discussing “Social Processes”, “Relationships” with clothing/wardrobe, and Sandya Lang (Nudie Jeans) presenting a one-hour Skype discussing “Actions, Relationships” with clothing. They also attended a curated talk/walk through the Super 70’s Exhibition at Ripponlea Estate with Elizabeth Anya-Petrivna, Curator of the National Trust of Australia.

We asked student Georgia Zulian (who won the Fashion Futures: Sustainability award at the So, Sow, Sew event on Monday 12 November) about her experiences of the studio.

“I have always been interested in sustainable fashion, particularly through recycled materiality, so I was instantly drawn to the key concepts of this studio: physical clothing, sustainability and the ‘wardrobe’.  I was curious to embark on an investigative journey into my relationship with clothing and sustainability as well as learning more about emotionally durable design. The studio gave me the opportunity to step back from regular fashion design and production so as to better understand emotional design and my own clothing habits.

My collection came together through the process of collaging, recycling and repurposing. This process is a natural response to working with found items and existing garments, as I can preserve those pieces, whilst creating new ideas. The collection is inspired by my own wardrobe, clothing and dressing habits, so the colours, patterns and silhouettes are derived from pieces that already exist in my wardrobe. I tend to wear black, browns and navy’s – mostly dark colours – and this collection reflects that.

I am amazed at all the possibilities and opportunities there are for designers and makers to create in a sustainable way. For me, this studio taught me how important materiality is in design. I feel like I am making a difference when I am considerate of the materials I use in my work. After using emotionally durable design as a key design foundation during this studio, I have learnt that the meaning people attach to clothes is as equally important as the function of the clothes.”


Artisan in the Anthropocene

This third year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) studio, co-led by Dr Georgia McCorkill and Shazia Bano, reflects on how artisans are influenced by and responding to issues raised by the anthropogenic age – the era of significant human impact on the earth’s ecosystems. Georgia’s creative research practice explores sustainable design strategies applicable to bespoke contexts, focusing on upcyling as well as alternative models of fashion consumption such as sharing. With Shazia, she has developed the studio to focus on the artisanal method of embellishment. Students have engaged a group of artisans in Pakistan to contemporise traditional embellishment techniques in the expression of their own design ideas.

The use of embellishment has strongly influenced the approach to dealing with the topic of the anthropocene, with most students choosing to depict environmental issues through embellishment motif. For example, student Calvin Wong drew on the approach of guest practitioner, jeweller and artist Pennie Jagiello to observe and collect both plastic and natural items from the marine environment to incorporate into embroideries. He sent items as disparate as plastic bubble wrap and shells to Pakistan to bead into his designs.

Calvin writes: “As nature conjoins to waste, it becomes a fusion of both natural and artificial object. This has led me to ask the question: ‘Will future generations be able to tell the difference between what is artificial and what is natural when they visit the beach?’ The scattering of artificial objects along the beach may become normalized in the future. I felt this was something very important to address in my embellishment design. When my first samples came back I felt confident to push the design complexity further by challenging myself and the artisans by using some uncommon materials and objects to embellish. Using found objects and materials that the artisans would be unfamiliar working with this pushed their mastery of techniques in embellishment further but also introduced the artisans to the process of upcycling.”

Other students in the class included Rayah Shapiro, an exchange student from Parsons, and Katherine Nolan.

Rayah brought together research into oceans and marine debris from another environmental science course she has been studying and expressed this through handmade swimwear. She noted: “By limiting the use of machinery and maximising the use of hand skills within this project, I am slowing down the process of a garment that is generally very plain and simple. Utilizing the artisanal methods of weaving and crochet, I am using these techniques as starting point for my future within slow fashion designs.”

Katherine has been grappling with upcycling methods of garment construction using odd-shaped remnant pieces. She sent these remnants to Pakistan to be embellished onto, incorporating handmade resin beads she created that contain small pieces of natural and artificial waste. She writes: “Moving forward, I hope to continue growing my artisanal work in re-purposing waste fabrics in the context of evening wear. I am also interesting in continuing experimentation with resin as a method of preserving plant life amongst the plastic that kills our ecosystems.”  


Master of Fashion Entrepreneurship

Throughout the two-year Master of Fashion Entrepreneurship program there is a focus on sustainable design and production. In the first semester ‘Sustainable Product Design and Development for Fashion’ studio, the project brief focussed on the RMIT Campus Store, exploring opportunities to make their product range more sustainable.

Students from this course presented to the Sustainability Committee in August, illustrating elements of the garment lifecycle with a focus on the RMIT hoodie. Key suggestions for increased sustainability included: manufacture in Australia; training of retail staff to educate customers on sustainable garment options; development of care labels to improve sustainable use of garment; promotion of end-of-life solutions. The presentation was very positively received.

In the second semester iteration of this program, students were briefed to work with RMIT Sports to develop sustainable alternatives to the current uniforms and merchandise. Student Kelly Zhu, got in touch from China to tell us a bit more about the project and its outcomes.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.14.51 am“The recommendations we made were based on the Product Life Cycle of RMIT Sports apparel, from conceptualisation, to final usage. I worked specifically with the “Wet Processing” and “Retail” stages. It is often difficult to incorporate sustainability into wet processing of textiles (e.g. dying and printing) because conventional wet processing tends to be the dirtiest part of the industry, generating a lot of harmful discharge and consuming abundant energy. Digital printing is much more energy efficient and does not include the same sort of toxic discharge. For this reason, one of my main recommendations was to use digital print processing instead of conventional dying and printing. However, the high cost of digital printing might be a barrier to this, even if the volume of RMIT Sport garments is small.

My main recommendation for the “Retail” stage is for the development of an apparel leasing service called “RMIT Sports Library.” Customers can rent garments from a RMIT self-service machine and directly return the used garments without cleaning. RMIT Sports can outsource the commercial laundry company and utilise the library transport resource to carry apparel. This retail service incorporates sustainability into the whole process, from transport, warehouse, labour and energy cost to student wellbeing.

This course has changed the way I think about fashion sustainability. By learning about the lifecycle of garments I now think more deeply about the sustainability of shopping and buying new clothes.”


‘Brunswick Plant’ Garden News – Arrival of the hose!

November is Buath Gurru Grass Flowering Season. The weather is warm, and it is often raining. Kangaroo Grass and is flowering. Buliyong (bats) are catching insects in flight. The Orion constellation is setting in the western sky around sunrise.

With the Chair of the Gardening Committee Dr Pia Interlandi at the helm, the Brunswick Plant is off to the an excellent start. A watering roster has been developed to see the plants through the hot months to come. The leafy green plants in the VegePods are doing particularly well, with the beetroot, rainbow chard and peppermint thriving.

The most exciting new addition is a garden hose! This has made watering much easier and the garden committee members much happier. Next up on the garden agenda is harvesting, dye experimentation – in the capable hands of Dani Andree and Verity Prideaux – and an afternoon tea event to welcome you into the space. Come to the garden for a scone and a cup of peppermint tea at 4pm on Monday 19th November to help us with the very first harvest. See you there!

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Garden Committee Chair, Pia Interlandi watering the VegePods

HARVEST POSTER

The next instalment of the Houndstooth will feature some of the final year events from across the School. Stay tuned!

– Compiled by Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

 

Wrapping Melbourne Fashion Week and Kids in Fashion – Bumper Issue

Sashay down the catwalk with us as we share the extraordinary range of activities RMIT staff and students were involved in during Melbourne Fashion Week, including ‘Kids in Fashion’ during the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Then, finally, step into our garden, where the first planting is complete and we introduce the Chair of the Garden Committee.


The Sea Between Us: The Illuminated Sea, Friday 31 August 

Presented by S!X and supported by The National Trust of Australia (Victoria)

The Sea Between Us is a project between the fashion students of LabModAR at Anhembi Morumbi University in Sao Paulo Brazil and fashion students, researchers and designers from RMIT University in Melbourne.

The Illuminated Sea lights up these two worlds, it brings them together en masse across the sparkling ocean. The distance between the two spheres of water and light is where this project sits. The Sea Between Us: The Illuminated Sea takes the sea of plastic that we as consumers have created and discarded and transforms it into materials for making lace-like structures, crochet, knitting and illusive/elusive remnants of luxury. The project culminated in a three-day exhibition at the National Trust of Australia.

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Fashion objects on display at the National Trust of Australia

PhD candidate Fernanda Quilici Mola graduated from Anhembi Morumbi University and was instrumental in the development of this cross-continental project. She and first year Bachelor of Textiles student Emillie Reader shared their reflections.

Originally, the project was informed by the “poetic idea of the ocean between us”, with plastic acting as a symbolic representation of current environmental issues surrounding unbridled consumerism and waste. The objective was to share skills and knowledge of craft techniques across the two continents and creative institutions. While the project was founded on a broad commitment to making a difference and increasing understandings of both the potential of plastic as a material and the negative impact of plastic on the environment”, in the process the individual makers also experienced a transformation in their thinking about waste and plastic consumption.

As Fernanda notes: “It was only in reflecting back on the project did I understand how much it had changed my attitude toward sustainability. The process of making by hand brought me into contact with plastic in a way that has fundamentally altered my relationship to the material – in terms of both use and waste.”

“Why are we producing things designed to last five minutes but making them out of materials that last forever?”

For Emillie, an environmental activist and member of ocean conservation organisation Sea Shepherd, the project was an opportunity to bring together her two main interests – craft (crochet and embroidery) and plastic – and translate them into her creative practice. Her piece for the exhibition was a woven scarf, “a meditation on the notion of choking – the choking of both the ocean and ocean animals by plastic.”

“I have been inspired to continue experimenting with material creation and reuse. Each individual has the capacity and the responsibility to make change; small actions can have huge impacts.”

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Crochet fashion objects crafted from waste plastic

The project brought together and negotiated tensions; from Fernanda’s ‘dress’, which looked delicate and lace-like yet was coarse and unwearable, to the audio track, which sounded like waves upon a shore yet was in fact the sound of rustling plastic bags – the Illuminated Sea was an experimental project in which the spaces, the oceans, between were more important than the spaces apart.

Photography credit: Vince Caligiuri


Yass Queen Drag Parade, Friday 31 August

As part of Vogue Fashion Night Out, a pop-up runway at Melbourne Central showcased  the work of third year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) students who designed unique headpieces for the Broken Heel Drag Festival. Featuring some of our favourite Queens (including Enoki Mushroom aka Sang Thai!) the event was full of fun – and sequins! Student designer Sarah Brereton shared some of her experiences with us.

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Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Textiles) student Sarah Brereton

“As a designer I usually try to define myself with what I create, so I felt a refreshing sense of liberation when designing for a drag queen with quite a particular style. Rather than stressing about trying to define myself with what we were creating, we were designing with this queen’s specific style in mind, and making a headpiece she would love to perform in and show her unique personality!”

“Because the headpieces were being made for a drag performance we weren’t limited to making it ‘ready-to-wear’. The pieces we designed could incorporate as many colours, beads, sequins and feathers as we wanted.”

“The show at Melbourne Central as part of MFW was a really unique experience where we got to see our headpieces on drag queens in action and witness the audiences’ very positive reaction. Seeing the shoppers stop by to take photos and engage with the queens was like a big pat on the back for all the hard work we’d put in!”

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Dean of Fashion and Textiles Robyn Healy with some of the Queens!


Urban Flâneur: Fashion Reimagines the City, Tuesday 4 September

Curated by Dr Tarryn Handcock and Dr Tassia Joannides, the Urban Flâneur exhibition highlighted relationships between fashion and flâneurie in urban memory and imagination. The live fashion event during MFW was the culmination of a collaborative research project between RMIT University and Lendlease, developed by third-year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) students. The garments and the show itself responded to the culture and environment of Victoria Harbour, Docklands, with the show staged in the Knowledge Market.

Nikita Banney, Madeline Assi and Nadya Disa Kusumo were involved in both the studio and the final show and they reflected on their experiences for us.

Nikita says: “The most exciting part of this studio was the opportunity to go out into the world and lose yourself in your surroundings. As designers, we generally seek inspiration from artists or cultural concepts or something we may be surrounded by every day. This studio allowed for a different form of openness to inspiration; it was a process of discovery that came from our senses connecting to this new place. While this was challenging at first, as we explored our way through the Docklands we started finding things we hadn’t noticed at first.”

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Window showcase in Victoria Harbour, Docklands

“My garments were inspired by a specific site in the Victoria Harbour called Captain’s Walk. During my observations there I was intrigued by its large scale yet restricted, angular architectural space filled with windows that mirror each other. Through investigating the site I discovered that the echoing reflections on the buildings extended their dimensions; this forms a type of escapism, a sense of hope within the constraining elements. I found myself focusing on the ephemeral moments contrasted with the controlled, restricted nature of the buildings. My designs are a twist on avant-garde, inspired by sci-fi and traditional corporate silhouettes and features. The key explorations of my project are capturing moments of iridescence through a spectrum effect formed by the embroidery of CD’s onto layered, translucent silk fabrications and integrating the element of control through architectonic leather moulding in a perspective illusionist pattern.”

Madeline was excited about this studio because of “the freedom we had in terms of what we could be inspired by and the direction we could take our projects. The whole experience was a lot of fun and it was so rewarding to see that our hard work celebrated in the show. It was also great to work on a collaborative project with so many people, including the team at Knowledge Market and Lendlease, as well as sound engineer students, photographers and models.

The inspiration for my collection was derived from the extremely cold, harsh weather conditions down at Captain’s Walk, with a focus on scale and materiality. The multi-use pieces, including tops, jackets, men’s pants, a skirt and accessories such as an oversized plush scarf, leg warmers and cross-body bag, were designed to reflect the idea of wrapping, covering and protecting the body against the cold harsh winds at Docklands. The pieces were also developed to encourage the use of imagination in the styling and wearing, reflecting the aim of the project as exploring ‘Fashion’s Role in Urban Memory and Imagination.’

Being involved in this project taught me so much, from how to carry out extensive research by observing a space, to furthering my technical skills in pattern making, construction and working with various fabrics and materiality, and how to organise and execute a fashion show/event.”

Nadya tells us: “This studio was so different from any others that I had done previously. In the first class, we ventured around Docklands using the ‘flaneur’ technique, which is to wander without instruction. I came across this construction site and that became my inspiration for the semester, mixing workwear/safetywear with activewear. My key design detail for the collection was reflective bias binding and reflective strips. Both of my outerwear garments are reversible because I binded all the internal parts with reflective binding. Many parts of the garment can be attached and detached, like the pockets, hem, hood, and vest. The vest can be turned into a fanny pack and so on….

The MFW salon show was such a great opportunity to put my hard work out there for people to see. A highlight of the night was definitely seeing people hype up my collection when it went past them. After the show, so many people came up to me and asked if the puffer jacket was for sale! I was so happy with people’s positive reaction.

I learned so much from this studio: how to keep on track with my timeline, dressing and dealing with models, making catalogue pages, preparing racks for a fashion show, etc etc. I am so grateful for Tarryn and Tass for such an amazing studio, I really feel like I was able to refine my aesthetic as a designer through this project.”

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Knowledge Market, Victoria Harbour

Thank you Nikita, Madeline and Nadya for your insights, and Tobias Titz for the images of the event.


Town Hall Runway Four – Student Collections, Wednesday 5 September

This year, RMIT Masters and Honours students showcased their work on a shared stage on the Town Hall Runway, alongside the work of students from Box Hill Institute, Holmesglen Institute, Kangan Institute, The Master’s Institute for Creative Education, and Whitehouse Institute of Design. The show was a masterful demonstration of student skill and talent. We might be biased but the work of the RMIT students really shined!

The most anticipated part of the night was the announcement of the MFW 2018 Student Award winner. The five nominees (Helena Dong, Navarone Temple, Hannah Berry (RMIT), Lucy Broomhall (The Master’s Institute for Creative Education) and Nigel Vogler  (The Whitehouse Institute of Design)) were recognised for their excellence in research, innovation, construction and potential to contribute to the future growth of the industry. The Student Award is supported by the City of Melbourne, Australian Fashion Council and búl. We were thrilled that three of our remarkable students were nominated and that our very own Helena Dong took out the coveted top prize. Congratulations Helena!

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Student Award winner Helena Dong

We asked Helena and fellow Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) student Annabel Robinson for some insight into their practice and experiences of the night.

Helena tells us: “I am interested in amplifying engagement between the designer, performer, viewer and garment through methods adopted from performance practices. This project takes the form of a garment-based collection as well as an online text- and image-based game. Through an abstract narrative with multiple decisions made by the reader, the key outfit of this collection undergoes structural transformations to reflect the various story lines, ultimately resulting in 62 endings/final appearances.

It was incredible to see my work presented in that context, especially since the collection wasn’t originally designed with the intention to be shown on a runway.”

About winning the top prize, Helena notes:

“I see this award as a recognition of my work – more specifically of my efforts in the past four years. It is a huge honour, and it encourages me to continue honing my practice in an interdisciplinary field. The entire evening felt surreal!”  

For Annabel: “It was really amazing seeing my work on the catwalk. It finally felt like I had actually made a collection (or half of one!). I had never been involved in fittings or logistics backstage, so it was really good to get an understanding of how that all worked.

The whole experience also got me excited about my clothes again. I was getting pretty sick of them, but seeing them on the catwalk made me see them in a different light. It was also helpful having to think about the looks as a whole, and think about the accessories – the bags, shoes and jewellery – because it really made the collection come together, and gave me ideas for styling my shoots for the publication.

The real highlight was seeing people react to my collection! A lot of people laughed at the Harry Potter t-shirts and the McDonalds handbag. That was great because I wanted it to be funny, and not taken too seriously.”

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Design by Anna Petry

Thank you Helena and Annabel for sharing your beautiful work and your experiences with us and Lucas Dawson for the photographs.


Kids in Fashion: London, Paris, Rome. The City of Stonnington. Saturday 15 September

Fashion challenges who we are and who we want to be. Our clothes are generally designed and made by couturiers, ateliers or factories – but for the second year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) studio Kids in Fashion (lead by Dr Adele Varcoe), the pencils were handed over to a very different set of designers: kids.

Using the intellect, creativity and ingenuity of children’s imaginations, Kids in Fashion saw children become fashion designers. Local makers, including design students in this studio, turned their ideas into reality. The Kids in Fashion show was a celebratory live artwork/social intervention, where artistic empowerment was put in the hands of young people, helping them realise their own vision for the future of fashion.

Supported by the City of Stonnington, the Australia Council for the Arts and the School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University, the live show was featured in the Melbourne Fringe Festival and received enthusiastic responses from all involved.

Speaking to the students from the Kids in Fashion studio following the show, they told me about the joys and challenges involved in producing garments from kids’ drawings. While this is a more difficult process, it also resulted in exciting outcomes. Having to consider the drawing as the only point of reference meant having to step away from the safe familiarity of working with fabric. The unusual drawings encouraged the makers to consider alternative materials to realise the imaginings of the children. The results reflected both the imaginations of the young designers and the great skill of the student and alumni makers.

Weird and wonderful designs – a giant pair of hands, a dress “covered in live babies,” a cat dress and a series of tiny jeans and tees – came to life in often unexpected ways. Coming to terms with the ways things moved and changed in the process of making was a central component of the experiment.

While working with the kids was sometimes tricky, it was all worth it to see their happiness when they saw their drawings in real life, parading down the catwalk. Their faces lit up. The whole audience was in a good mood as the show was really fun. The kids were so excited and involved that you couldn’t help but be as happy as them.

The kids proved themselves to not only be inventive fashion designers and adept show hosts but also inspiring theorists. As young Chelsea put is: “Fashion is your own passion and no one can tell you what to wear.” If that’s not an appealing vision for the future of fashion, I don’t know what is.

Thank you to Agnieszka Chabros for the brilliant photographs of these pieces.


‘Brunswick Plant’ News

We are still in Poorneet/Tadpole Season. Pied Currawongs call loudly and often. Days and nights are of equal length. The rains are easing and the temperatures continue to rise.

Plants are in at the Brunswick Plant! The beds have been filled. In our VegePods, we have beetroot and angelica, red sorrel and peppermint. In the wooden planters are blueberries, dahlias and anthemis. We have a hedge of eucalypt, another of pomegranate trees and climbing raspberries. Under the established trees there is chamomile, lavender, roses and hollyhock. These plants have been chosen for their use as dyes – as natural colourants for use in textile studios and experimental labs.

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Pia Interlandi has been appointed Chair of the Garden Committee. Pia is developing a number of garden events for the coming months and we are very much looking forward to sharing them with you.


Our next issue focuses on sustainability and projects across the School making great advances in this area.

– Compiled by Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

 

Unwrapping Open Day and Meeting the Administrative Officer Team

Happy Spring everyone! This Houndstooth blossoms forth with an in-depth look at Open Day and springs into conversations with the AO (Administrative Officer) cluster, lightly sprouting into the progress of the ‘Brunswick Plant’, garden project.


RMIT Open Day, 12 August

On a cold winter Sunday in August, the Brunswick campus hosted the Fashion and Textiles Open Day. One of the most hotly anticipated events of the day is the fashion showcase. Bachelor of Fashion (Merchandise Management) student Eloisa Travers was the student MC on the day. She and Diploma of Fashion Styling student Mandy Kgakololo share some insights.

The last time Eloisa attended Open Day she was a high school student preparing for her university application. This year, her experience was very different, being on the other side of the stage and an intrinsic part of how the school is represented.

“The highlight of the day was witnessing some amazing work from other students in different courses… It was great to work with people I hadn’t worked with before, to get involved and make connections with people outside of my degree and beyond my own teachers.”

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Design by Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) student Ryley Wilson (Model Izzi, Chadwick Models)

As student MC, the day was full of surprises: “I found it difficult at first to find a rhythm. The most challenging part of the day was understanding how the logistics were operating due to the fact that I wasn’t involved with the preparation decisions.”  

However, “being adaptable and quick thinking will benefit me greatly in future jobs so the challenges were also great opportunities to learn more. These skills are practices I will take into my future career.”

For Mandy, “the real highlight was seeing the looks going down the runway for the audience to view. It’s always incredible seeing what hard work can physically produce. As a stylist it’s nothing short of adrenaline rush. Seeing people’s reaction to the garments was so exciting; everyone involved was really happy with both shows.”

“There were some amazing pieces but there was a red garment with a headpiece that was unbelievable; the first time I saw it I almost collapsed, it was absolutely breathtaking. Aside from loving the colour, which is my favourite, I just loved how dramatic it looked; it intrigued me. The designer [Mimi Rose Cummins] is very talented.”

Because I was back-of-house and this was my first co-produced show I was pretty nervous. It could get quite chaotic, especially with models taking a long time to get into their next looks, and that was nerve racking. However, it was really just momentarily and the excitement of seeing the shows come together made it all worth it.” 

“The whole experience taught me so much. To make a great show you must be patient and kind with people. I think, if I am given a runway opportunity in future I will definitely take it. I might even produce my own ‘tiny’ runway and see how that goes. I now know a lot about what it takes to produce a show and I would love to do it again.”

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Designs by, L-R: Jasmine Failla and Jing Yan Chen; Amanda Nicols; Kristen Frewen; and Amanda Nicols.

Thank you to Brianna Pettenuzzo and Christian Lukasik for the great photos and to Eloisa and Mandy for sharing your experiences with us.


Meeting the Administrative Officers

An office on the ground floor of building 511 on the Brunswick campus is home to many of the Administrative Officer (AO) team. This group is fundamental to the functioning and great success of our programs.

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The wonderful AO Team! L-R: Jemima Olsen, Fatima Abdallah, Kerry Bromley; (back row): Brendan Yung, Lisa Zerbe, David Castle; (front row): Antida Liistro, Suzanne Doheny, Liz Debono, Anna Deisis

Remarking on their favourite part of the job, everyone mentioned that being part of a team was important, as well as how supportive and fun their colleagues are to work with. Jem, Kerry and Liz also said that they really enjoy working with the students at Brunswick campus and seeing the amazing things they achieve.

Many of the AOs have been at RMIT for a long time. In fact, Liz has worked at RMIT for over 25 years! Jem and Brendan are the newest, having both been here for less than three years. This newness is sometimes a problem for Brendan as students often assume he is a student ambassador.

Knowing how busy they are, to find out a bit more about the team, we asked them an in-depth question about what colour in the crayon box they would be…

  • Jem would be aqua;
  • Fatima calm blue;
  • Kerry would be black, because “everything seems better in black”;
  • Desire for peace and calmness led Antida to Cyan/ Turquoise, the colour of life, nature and energy; the exquisite colour of the Mediterranean sea in the Island of Gozo Malta where she was born;
  • Brendan green, his favourite colour;
  • Anna purple, reflective of her free spirit and her sensitive, understanding and supportive personality;
  • The bright and positive colour yellow for Liz;
  • For Lisa, more green, the life-giving colour that reflects nature;
  • And Suzanne a wonderful rainbow crayon.

(We also discovered that Anna can dance an expert belly dance; Jem has a passion for textiles and is often working on a new project or exhibition piece; Antida is an artist who loves the meditative effect of painting; Brendan is a talented classical pianist; Lisa has the ability to create order out of chaos; and Liz has the amazing capacity to write with both hands simultaneously. The rest of the team remain a mystery!)


Brunswick Plant News

In the seven seasons of the Kulin people, the months of September/October are Poorneet/Tadpole Season. The temperatures are rising and plants like the Flax Lily and the the Myrnong/Yam Daisy are flowering.

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Myrnong (Yam Daisy)

On Brunswick campus, change is afoot. Some trees have been removed and the new garden space is swiftly coming together. Michael the gardener tells us that the eucalyptus hedge and the climbing raspberry canes will be going in soon, along with the cluster plantings in the beds. The paths have been laid and a selection of VegePods (raised, movable beds with mesh covers) and wooden box planters have been made at home. The textile composter has been built and is ready to break down calico fibres.

With the weather warming steadily, the conditions will soon be right for putting in beetroots and cabbages. Last week, the gardening tools arrived – shiny new trowels and forks as well as secateurs and gloves. Shortly, we will invite you to come and plant seedlings with us. Stay tuned.

Next month we have a bumper issue – a showcase of events RMIT staff and students were involved with during MFW. We look forward to sharing it with you. In the meantime, enjoy the spring sunshine!

– Compiled by Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

Wrap on Swatch of Luxury and RMIT Fashion Careers Forum

As hail falls on Semester 2 it’s time to escape from the chilly weather and warm up by reading about some recent Fashion and Textiles initiatives, you might have missed, including an international exhibition co-faciliated by two of our School members and the great July Careers Forum attended by many of our Fashion students. We also introduce you to a new segment of the Houndstooth called the ‘Brunswick Plant’!


Swatch of Luxury exhibition (at the ‘State of Fashion: Searching for the New LuxuryFashion Colloquium, Arnhem, Netherlands, 31 May – 1 June, 2018)

Swatch of Luxury: Artefacts of Mass Production was a collaborative creative practice exhibition developed by Dr Ricarda Bigolin and Chantal McDonald from RMIT School of Fashion & Textiles and Professor Clemens Thornquist and Anna Lidstrom from the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås. The exhibition was on display during the State of Fashion colloquium in the Netherlands at the end of May.

The initial phase of the project invited designers, researchers, PhD, Masters, and Honours students from the two locations to submit swatches which responded to the question: what is luxury fashion? Participants were asked to produce their version of a ‘swatch of luxury,’ which reworked in some way materials, objects and media that are mass produced. The accepted swatches were exhibited as a curated combination of ‘actual fabric sample/swatches’ and ‘digital photographic swatches.’ The swatches acted as provocations to open up conversations about perceptions of luxury.

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Swatch of Luxury exhibition featured contributors Anna Lidstrom, Ricarda Bigolin, Chantal McDonald, Denise Sprynskyj and Peter Boyd – S!X, Rosanna Li, Remie Cibis, Laura Gardner, Kate Sala, Lisa Carrol, Elisa Keeler and Jane Morley

“…something is beautiful and something is a luxury on the basis of its mental effect on people… A luxury is a phenomenon in the specifically phenomenological sense of the word: a something that is for someone.” (L. Wiesing 2015)

The discourse about luxury from designers, researchers and students is incredibly diverse. Contemporary design languages mock, imitate, distort and substitute ideals and experiences of luxury. This approach is evolving rapidly in response to contemporary image-driven appetites. The curators of this project were curious to find out about the different ways practitioners position themselves within the paradigm of luxury fashion. It is no longer possible to be unaware of the socio-political consequences fashion production has on the world. Thus, questions of luxury and fashion design are serious and important dynamics to consider in the present moment.  

“You can ask a jeweller to examine a necklace to see whether it is made of genuine gold — but not to see whether it is genuine luxury.” (L. Wiesing 2015)

This project looked for propositions that define the complexities of luxury fashion. It was also interested in submissions that represented the future scope of fashion design practice. The curators hope to continue this project as a method through which to understand what luxury means to current and emerging designers and to engage with luxury as a social, cultural and phenomenological construct.


Brunswick Fashion Careers Forum, July 2018

On July 26, the Brunswick campus hosted a Fashion Careers Forum, a day of fashion industry careers advice, insights and Q&As with multinational retailers, local entrepreneurs and social media innovators.

Second year Fashion and Textiles Merchandising students Mathilda Vermeesch and Alexandra Livis attended all three sessions (Social Media; Small Business, Sustainability & Ethical Practice; and Landing your first job in the fashion industry) and shared their experiences of the day.

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Social Media Panel featuring Kokaine, Sneaker Laundry and blogger Lady Melbourne

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Small Business, Sustainability and Ethical Practices in Fashion Panel featuring Lois Hazel and RMIT Activator

For Mathilda, the highlight of the day was hearing about the “challenges and successes faced by the businesses at the small business, sustainability and ethical practices panel as sustainability is an important topic in all of our classes and it was wonderful to see three businesses succeeding in and developing that field.” 

For Alexandra, the most beneficial part of the day was “hearing from people who did the same course as me. It showed that the jobs they have are achievable through doing my course. I really enjoyed hearing from Nick (from Homie) because I had just recently discovered that brand and really admire what they are doing. It was really interesting to hear about the impact the brand is creating in more detail.”

Both Mathilda and Alexandra learnt a lot about what it takes to make it in the fashion industry, particularly the importance of a strong social media profile and the building of meaningful relationships with peers and mentors.

Mathilda said that “it was helpful to hear that showing your enthusiasm for a prospective job can get you far. The employment panellists told us that a recent graduate with not a lot of industry experience can land the job if they show their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

The panellists emphasised the importance of building strong lasting relationships with those in the industry, pointing out that the Australian fashion industry is small, and that these relationships can help you further your studies and/or career.

The panellists also encouraged us to engage with industry members and to put ourselves out there when applying for jobs – that it can never hurt to ask and send someone your resume and portfolio. It was encouraging to hear that you must simply do the hard slog of cold emailing and the like to get your foot in the door.”

Alexandra agreed that to be successful in this industry you need to put yourself out there. You always need to try, despite being anxious about the outcome. 

Hearing from people in the industry encouraged me to start thinking more about my career for when I finish university. Listening to the small business owners talk with such passion about their companies was inspiring and made me excited about my future.”

Thank you Mathilda and Alexandra for sharing your positive experiences of the day!


The Brunswick Plant

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Winter flowering gums on campus

The ‘Brunswick Plant’ is coming!

As the months get warmer we will be cultivating new garden beds at the Brunswick campus. Watch this space for information about planting and upcoming working bees.

We look forward to everyone participating in the Brunswick Plant.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of the Houndstooth when we wrap Open Day and go behind the scenes to meet some of our colleagues!

– Compiled by Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

 

It’s a Wrap for Semester 1!

As Semester 1 has come to a close and we get ready for the next—we can’t believe we’re already halfway through 2018!—we’d like to take a moment and celebrate some activities in the School and our broader community. This week on the Houndstooth we recap on Semester one in wrapping up a number of recent events and exhibitions you might have missed.

‘The Future of What we Wear’ at Melbourne Knowledge Week, presented by RMIT University at the Meat Market, North Melbourne, Sunday May 13, 2018

 

 

As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 2018, the School of Fashion and Textiles presented a one day exhibition addressing what fashion & textiles will mean in the future. Titled ‘The Future of What we Wear’, the event brought together researchers in the School of Fashion & Textiles and PhD candidates to share their work in an interactive public setting, revealing the creative and innovative ways in which they are re-thinking fashion and materials in a digital age. The exhibition collated a range of projects, giving the public an opportunity to see some of the ideas, thoughts and innovations taking place in apparel, textiles and fashion. Some of the projects that were included in the exhibition were:

‘Protective Coatings for Fabrics’ presented by Dr Xin Wang. A research project looking at using nano-technology to coat fabrics and provide protection from a range of chemical/biological and radio-logical (BBRN) hazards—one that does so in more environmental and less toxic way than past applications.

‘Live:scape BLOOM’ by Caroline McMillan, is a project that considers materials and design processes that are not traditionally associated with smart materials, to develop fabric patterns that can change according go real time and date feeds.

Jo Cramer’s ‘The Living Wardrobe’ is a project that showcased garments that investigate design practice and processes that potentially allow the fostering of enduring and active relationships with everyday garments.

Tarryn Handcock’s ‘The Dust Project’, looks at the tension between the length of time a garment will fit (a body or sense of self (and it’s material durability – taking both an environmental and ethical perspective and exploring the potential of slow and ethical methodologies as alternative to fashions’ fast pace.

Researchers who presented their work as part of the exhibition included Jenny Underwood, Xin Wang, Caroline McMillan, Jane Morley, Kam Huah Soh and Che-Wei Hu, Kate Kennedy, Shadi Houshyar, Tarryn Handcock, Jo Cramer and Pia Interlandi.

Further information on the event can be found in the Melbourne Knowledge Week listing on the festival website, here: https://mkw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/events/the-future-of-what-we-wear/

Show us your Metiers, The Hanger, Thursday June 7, 2018

As part of their second year studio project, Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) coordinated by Peter Boyd and Chantal McDonald presented in the Hanger space at Brunswick. The Show Us Your Metiers exhibition was set up as a way for students to respond to the Festival of Metiers that had been held earlier in their semester. In the initial festival multiple workshops, presentations, discussions and a reading room were set up in the Hanger Space for students to engage with and actively discover a suite of aspects of that which defines tailoring and the jacket. Having further developed these aspects through their own independent and speculative projects the coming together of the students and their work at its conclusion enriched the conversations and the collective sharing of new knowledge and insights obtained. The brief for the installation of the work in the Hanger Space required students to include only their jacket outcomes, an image and an abstract – these constraints were emplaced to facilitate a collectively astute survey of project propositions for tailoring and the jacket that could be exchanged across all studios.

 

 

‘mixed métiers’ portraits – students across all year 2 tailoring studio groups strike a pose in their jacket outcomes as they exit the Show Us Your Metiers exhibition, 2018.

 

Second year student Amy Lawrence shared some insight on her project, ‘Tailor’s Cabbage’, in response to the studio and the ‘Show us your Metiers’ brief:

My response to the brief was driven by a tactile, 3D approach to design. In previous Studio assignments (in first year) I found myself working toward a pre-conceived design illustration. However, this project was much more fluid and unpredictable—I didn’t want to anticipate what the end result would be. This made it an exciting (and slightly scary) process. My tailored jacket outcome was driven by the term ‘Tailor’s Cabbage’ which is an interesting colloquialism that describes ‘the pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites’. Although, traditionally the ‘tailor’s cabbage’ would be reserved for small sections of interlining, my project aimed to externalise these tailoring scraps by using them as the outer shell in a mosaic-like jacket form. What I took away from the studio was a huge appreciation for the skill, amount of time and practice that goes into becoming a ‘tailor’.

Student Rani Muker also shared their thoughts on their project, and being involved in the studio:

Starting the studio ‘Avant Bri-Garde’ I had little knowledge on the types and functions of militarised jackets, I began exploring the sentimental and personal connections between war jackets and their wearers, questioning why are military jackets personal? From there, I looked at what happens to soldiers’ individual experiences of their jacket. This brought out themes of death, surrender, bravery, fear and prisoners of war. I realised these ideas by using buckles and ties around the cuffs to emulate themes of restraint through tailoring hardware. The most surprising feature of the studio was discovering how rewarding it was to finish a tailored jacket; you gain a great appreciation for something that is seen to be so pivotal to everyday wardrobes. The project has made me appreciate the importance of small details, and know that it isn’t just the surface of the garment that makes something the way it is; it’s the work we don’t see that really makes something amazing.

 

 

The Show us your Metiers jackets in an exhibition on work produced in the tailoring studio on display in The Hangar.

Xanthe Ficarra, another second year student, reflected on the studio in the following terms:

I enjoyed the freedom of the studio in allowing us to develop an idea and completely dissect it in our own unique way. Showcasing our work in the form of an exhibition, rather than a panel assessment, allowed us to focus more on technique and research, and less on the detail and stress that often accompanies presenting. Though there was a general worry that it would be difficult to explain our creative process without presenting, presenting together in this way made us look at our collections, lookbooks and garments as a collective.

Millie DeBoo also added her thoughts about participating in the ‘Show us your Metiers’ group exhibition:

I also loved the way of presenting and exhibiting our final designs in ‘Show us you Metiers’, in a way there was much less pressure than the panel assessment format, especially after you’ve had near-to-no sleep for about two weeks leading up to it! I liked how it was more of an exhibition of our garments and work and felt that it gave more people a chance to see and enjoy our creations. I am very much looking forward to expanding the skills I have learnt throughout this studio and enjoyed the semester a lot!

Virtual Studio Project, collaboration between Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) and The Associate Degree Fashion (Design & Technology)

In a cross-university and industry collaborative project focusing on recycling the Coles Supermarket uniform, RMIT University partnered with AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute) in The Netherlands, and local companies Coles and Bizwear. Coordinated by their Program Manager Mandy Penton, students from the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology developed design proposals for Coles Supermarket to repurpose excess and obsolete garment stocks of their uniform. Students looked at the long-sleeve shirt created by Bizwear and worn by Coles employees as an opportunity to be repurposed into a new and usable product.

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Alessandra Darel, Emma Kemp, Kelsey Sparks, Isobelle Gregory and Jiatong (Jarvis) Zhu with their Virtual Studio outcomes

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Alessandra Darel, Isobelle Gregory and Emma Kemp Kelsey Sparks Jiatong (Jarvis) Zhu tune in on a Skype meeting.

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Lily Fairhall, Amber Sestokas and Charlotte Butterworth make changes to the Coles shirt on the stand.

Mandy explained that, ‘We had already planned to work with AMFI based on successful projects we had undertaken previously with Salford University in the UK. Mike Glunig from Bizwear approached the program with a new challenge after success of the Coles uniform project we had participated in the year before. Students were tasked to develop ideas for Bizwear to re-use the left over stock of obsolete garments and fabrics when Coles Supermarkets launched their new line of uniforms. We thought this challenge would be an exciting and relevant design problem for the students.’

As a team across the two countries, students brainstormed as a global design team to form ideas and innovations for sustainable repurposing of obsolete uniforms that could be used for positive end uses. The project gave students the chance to explore design and conceptual development in a collaborative setting not usually available in the traditional classroom. Adding to this, the Virtual Studio Project also gave students the opportunity to build international network of contacts, experience cultural differences and perspectives, without the expense of travel.

The products and ideas produced by the students were creative and diverse, with many tackling the problem in a social context: to support for homeless people, refuges for domestic violence victims, as well as community and school programs. Products ranged from zero-waste teddy bears with a sustainable story, utility bags that converted to wraps and jackets, as well as shopper bags, hats, pencil cases and book covers. These exciting and innovative solutions encouraged students to think in dynamic ways to address major environmental issue of waste facing the fashion system and its modes of production.

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Thank you to all the efforts across the School involved in these events, and congratulations on a great semester! We’re looking forward to sharing more updates with you as the rest of the year unfolds. Up next on the Houndstooth Chantal Kirby takes over the helm as a guest Houndstooth blogger sharing some insight on the recent ‘State of Fashion’ conference held at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem (The Netherlands) and the collaborative project between RMIT University students with the Swedish School of Textiles (University of Borås), ‘The Swatch of Luxury’. Stay tuned!

The Houndstooth Wraps around the globe with Copenhagen Fashion Summit and IFFTI Shanghai

F&T Staff and Students visit the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 and IFFTI Conference in Shanghai

This week on the Houndstooth, we go global with visits to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 and International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) in Shanghai. These key events on the fashion research and industry calendar propelled the School of Fashion and Textiles into these critical, international forums.

‘Fashion Futures’, IFFTI 20, April 10—12, 2018

This year’s IFFTI conference was hosted by Donghua University (DHU) in downtown Shanghai, one of the most highly regarded universities in China. Donghua is recognised across disciplines including fashion design, textile engineering, international trade, material science and information technology. The conference brought together participants from the fashion industry, academia and education under the theme of ‘Fashion Futures’. Keynote speakers included professor Dr Zhao Feng from Donghua University and the Chinese National Silk Museum, Professor Wu Haiyan, Dean of Design & Art College at China Academy of Art, Ye Shouzeng from the eco-friendly fashion brand ICICLE and Dr Christine Tsui, an independent fashion researcher, commentator and author of China Fashion: Conversations with Designers, as well as many others.

Associate Lecturer Gareth Kershaw accompanied two students, Masters of Fashion (Design)(Honours) student Thi Kim Oanh Luu and Graduate Kumari Pelsoczy were selected for the peer-reviewed IFFTI Student Design Competition. Students exhibited an outfit as part of the event and displayed their work in a group catwalk show. The competition received nearly 300 design entries from 25 institutions representing 12 countries, with 47 students selected as finalists. We were excited that 2 of these finalists were from RMIT. 

Reflecting on her competition experience, Kim told us, I was amazed by the quality and diversity of the student work and how well-prepared students were for the competition, though I was surprised to find out that very few of the designs were environmentally conscious. The competition, however, was a fantastic experience because I got to see students’ work from across the globe. I was also able to see the craftsmanship, fabrications, ideas, colour choices and techniques from examining the garments up close. I was also fortunate to attend some of the academic workshops at the conference; these were useful for my study, for example the organic indigo dyeing class.’

Gareth also found this ‘a fantastic international opportunity for any program to showcase the teaching and learning that goes into delivering quality fashion education here at School of Fashion & Textiles. It also provides a platform for staff and students to engage with current contextual debates around fashion practice & pedagogical themes set by the hosting institution.‘ 

Robyn Healy, Dean of School and Chair of IFFTI, was thrilled to meet Newton’s twin while visiting Donghua University’s research laboratories. Newton 2 is a Thermal Manikin System just like in the School of Fashion and Textiles’ lab. She was also introduced to the fiery mannequin, ‘PyroMan‘, in a combustible display chamber. The School is planning to purchase one of these mannequins in the near future for our Centre for Materials Innovation and Future Fashion’s (CMIFF) fire research.

 

Copenhagen Fashion Summit, May 15—16, 2018

Heavyweights across the fashion industry, education and media flocked this year to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit presented by the Global Fashion Agenda. The sixth year of the event looked at some of the major environmental, social, political and cultural issues facing sustainability in fashion.

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Tim Blanks leads a discussion with Tonne Goodman, Lily Cole and Amber Valletta in at the Copenhagen Concert Hall

The multi-stakeholder event, CFS 2018 presented a three day programme at Copenhagen Concert Hall of keynote presentations and panel discussions with figures such as Anna Gedda (Head of sustainability, H&M group), Orsola de Castro (Founder and creative director, Fashion Revolution), Tonne Goodman (Fashion director, Vogue US), Tim Blanks (Editor-at-large, Business of Fashion) and designer Stella McCartney. The program covered all things relating to sustainability and fashion production, from circular fashion systems, transparency in production and the digitisation of fashion, through to discussions that addressed ethical fashion practices, from model wellbeing to media representation and gender equality. 

Workshop takes place in a denim display booth at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

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A panel discussion addresses the ‘future of transparency’ as part of the main programme at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Alongside this major forum, one of the the satellite programmes, the Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit was held at Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA) between May 13-15 in the lead up to the main conference. Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) students Amanda Morglund and Julia English, and Lisa Kjerulf (Master of Fashion Entrepreneurship) participated in the Youth Summit representing RMIT alongside a host of leading fashion schools and 112 students from Asia, North and South America, Europe and Australia. 

Amanda, Julia and Lisa shared with us their thoughts, conference highlights and insights gained through being involved in the Youth Summit.

Amanda, who presented on her current honours project, ‘Mycelium Made’, an investigation into the applications of fungi to garment design and construction. She commented that, ‘I wanted to get a discussion going on the potential application for using fungi in the fashion industry to grow new materials from waste resources and repair environmental damage. In light of the summit I have been reflecting on methods of creating a circular business model around my collection to use a case study for my thesis project. The Summit enabled me to connect with some of the most engaged and compassionate people from around the world which was a really valuable experience for me. We had a strong focus on creating impact, and seeing actions taken with a clear path set out to achieve what we wanted, greatly aided by the facilitators that pushed us to get specific with our outcomes. I was thrilled that we had a direct platform to speak to influential players in the global supply chain about reforming business models to support a less wasteful and damaging use of resources. We are going to take what we have learned over the course of the 2018 summit and return in 2019 to work with the YFS business partner Pandora to develop, I’m really looking forward to this collaborative experience moving forward.’

Julia reflected that It was incredible attending the industry conference and hear major brands like Nike, H&M, Levis, and Target speaking about their goals towards achieving full circularity, it really hit home that a circular economy is the way of the future, and that change is happening. At the Youth Summit we broke into 8 groups of 14, my group was directed to focus on ‘Health and Wellbeing’, and how we can improve that and our use of natural capitals or resources. I hope to be able to continue to work in the sustainability sphere, and I felt like this experience made me realise the role my own practice played in the larger sustainable future.’

Lisa explained that ‘Together with the other students from around the globe, in the Youth Fashion Summit we workshopped for three solid days to set some strategic demands for decision makers in the fashion industry. These demands were centred around two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDG-3 Good Health & Wellbeing and SDG-5 Gender Equality. We then presented a summary of our demands at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. My favourite part of the YFS and working with so many others who are just as passionate as I am about creating real change in the industry. One of the biggest things I took away is ‘collaboration’. Not just within the industry, but also looking outside to areas such as education and government partnerships. Another key message is innovation and changing the way we look at Fashion. I’m just about to finish my Masters and am currently working for the Australian Fashion Council as well as working on starting my own consultancy, I’ll definitely be working on integrating these philosophies in my work for the best interest of people, planet and the industry.’

For further information on the recent IFFTI programme, visit iffti2018.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1 and details on the Youth Fashion Summit can be found at copenhagenfashionsummit.com/programme.

Also, further information on the next IFFTI conference at Manchester Fashion Institute can be found on the website: IFFTI2019.MMU.AC.UK.

 

Up next, the Houndstooth reports on the recent State of Fashion conference in Arnhem, The Netherlands, and the students who presented at the Copenhagen Youth Fashion Summit will present a local edition for the School community. Details to follow…

RMIT Textile Design visits ‘Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018’ at Bendigo Art Gallery

By guest Houndstooth Blogger Lucy Adam

Bendigo Art Gallery facade decorated in the iconic ‘Unikko’ print.

The news of the exhibition ‘Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018’ (3 March – 11 June 2018) at Bendigo Art Gallery this year sparked much excitement amongst us textile design devotees here at RMIT. So the Textile Design and Development’s Advanced Diploma students took the V-Line out to Bendigo to visit the exhibition and learn more about the enduring legacy of Marimekko. Several students were also invited to assist in screen-printing workshops in Bendigo Art gallery’s educational program with Libby Noblet.

It’s hard to say when I first discovered Marimekko, but when I did I was completely captivated by their incredible use of colour, scale of motifs and the beauty of their version of simplicity. Marimekko put Finland on the map for me and was my first introduction to ‘Scandinavian design’.

When I began studying textile design at The Melbourne Institute of Textiles (Now RMIT, School of Fashion and Textiles), I remember reading a book that described textile designers as ‘ghost designers’, suggesting it to be rare for the identity of the designer to be prominent, or well-known. At the time this struck me as being quite an injustice as I was quickly discovering how much skill it took to balance the aesthetic and technical demands of designing for textiles.

Of course there are widely celebrated textile designers, figures such as William Morris, the designer, writer, activist and major contributor to the revival of traditional British Textile Arts. Or Celia Birtwell whose 1930s and 1940s inspired florals adorned Ossie Clark’s ‘swinging sixties’ dresses, famously worn by Bianca Jagger and Marianne Faithful (just to name a few). And my favourite textile designer, Lucienne Day who is described as being one of the most influential British textile designers of the 1950s and 1960s, and had a career in design spanning over sixty years. However, generally speaking, most commercial textiles were, and still are designed by people unknown to the consumer.

What I quickly discovered and admired about Marimekko is that individual designers are at the heart of this avant-garde company, and are celebrated by the fact that their name is printed along the selvedge of the fabric, proudly acknowledging the creator. One of these was designer Maija Isola, a creative force in her own right. Maija is the creator of the Unikko print that has been in production for over fifty years and has become Marimekko’s most celebrated pattern.

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Printed Selvedge by Maija Isola on display at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

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Maija Isola’s ‘Unikko’ print in different colour ways.

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Marimekko garments on display at Bendigo Art Gallery.

As part of the exhibition’s public program, on March 17 and 24, Bendigo Art gallery organised screen printing workshops inviting RMIT students from Textile Design and Development. The workshop was held in the courtyard of the LaTrobe Arts Institute, opposite Bendigo Gallery, and when I dropped in I witnessed a bunch of very excited women printing gorgeous and bright Marimekko-inspired textile samples. A warm, and very persistent, northerly wind was creating challenges for the fabric, but the enjoyment of creating eclipsed all the difficulties that can be encountered when printing outdoors. It was so great to see our students passed on their valuable material and print knowledge. Running the workshop with the textiles students, Libby, who is an accomplished textile designer herself having spent over ten years working as a teacher in the Diploma of Textile Design at Brunswick. Libby was my print teacher all those years ago and it was wonderful to help plan the workshops with her and organise student volunteers. Libby relayed back to me that the students “were so friendly, very enthusiastic and approachable with the beginner printers and more than willing to share their knowledge.”

Second year Textile Design and Development student Sam Seary (right) with workshop participant.

Some of the beautiful prints created at the workshop.

Sam lending a hand.

Sam discussing print options with a participant.

Then, on April 20, Textile Design at RMIT descended on Bendigo on mass! The combined efforts of Textile Design & Development and the Bachelor of Arts Textile Design saw nearly one hundred students and staff visit the Marimekko show. Two buses left the Brunswick campus at 8am and we arrived to hear an introductory lecture from Margot Feast, the Education Officer at Bendigo Art Gallery, before seeing the show. Students were then free to explore the exhibition, which consisted of a multitude of cascading bolts of fabric, sketches, photographs, colour ways, garments and videos.

Textile Design and Development 1st and 2nd year students

Second year Textile Design and Development student Oliver Page-Dutton, described his experience as: “The exhibition motivated me tremendously and reminded me why I am interested in textiles. While I looked at the work, I thought about how this is what I want to be doing and that was a very cathartic moment for me. I’m thankful to have had an opportunity to see it in person.” A sentiment reinforced by the reflections of Amber Differ, also in second year, who said, “Marimekko are so great at showcasing their prints through simple but original designs. I was particularly impressed with their innovative use of stripes to create new lines and patterns in their garments.”

The exhibition was a wonderful experience for those familiar with Marimekko, and those new to the Finnish design icon. Their legacy to women and textile design is so inspiring, not to mention their timeless and enduring style.

To find the joy in the simple things is a notion always worth embracing I think.

All photos by Lucy Adam.

‘Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018’ is on at Bendigo Art Gallery until June 11.
http://www.bendigoartgallery.com.au/Exhibitions/Now_showing/Marimekko_Design_Icon_1951_to_2018

… And coming up next month, the Houndstooth goes global and visits Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 as well as the recent IFFTI Conference in Shanghai.

It’s a wrap for March!

March is fashion month in Melbourne. With the School of Fashion and Textiles showcasing our fashion practices to the local industry and community in many key events, including the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, so this month – it’s a Houndstooth Wrap-around these happenings…

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, March 2018

Precarious Bodies: Fashioning the Unstable, March 2
VAMFF started at the beginning of the fashion month with a number of students, staff, recent graduates and alumni involved in many of the Festival’s runway and cultural program activities. Lecturer and PhD candidate in Fashion and Textiles Jane Morley featured in the expansive VAMFF cultural program with her performative event ‘Precarious Bodies: Fashioning the Unstable’. The event, held at the Testing Grounds space at the back of the Arts Centre and the NGV, saw four dancers perform an installation of garment fragments draped over steel frames that invited interaction and participation. The project’s aim was to disrupt fashion’s traditional notions of glamour, beauty and perfection using expanded methods of fashion collage by allowing materials and bodies to perform with the interactive performance.


The National Graduate Showcase, March 9
VAMFF’s annual National Graduate Showcase is a platform for some of the most outstanding graduates from design institutions and universities across the country to present their work to an audience of industry and peers at a national level. This year Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) graduates Lucy Dickinson, Madeleine Jost, Rachel Louey and Xiangqiao Sheng represented RMIT with their creations as part of the event on Friday March 9. The students’ collections demonstrated exploratory approaches and diverse material understandings across men’s and womenswear. From Lucy Dickinson’s graphic Basquiat slogan ensembles, to Xiangqiao Sheng’s luminous dresses, meticulously constructed through textile decoration, such as sequins, the graduates didn’t shy away from colour and elaborate surface techniques.


WOWZZZEEE, March 14-25
Also on the pages of the VAMFF’s cultural program, lecturer Adele Varcoe presented her ‘WOWZZZEEE’ project. The event was held at Arts House in North Melbourne and spanned the week of 14 – 25 March in which Varcoe occupied the venue with a making team sourced from the public, sewing their very their own wearable onesies. Off the back of presenting her ‘Onesie World’ as part of Tasmania’s ‘Mona Foma’ earlier this year, Adele’s project invited participants to join the onesie-making team, and then wear their onesies until they went to bed at night.


Catwalk Club Presents, March 15
The RMIT Catwalk Club also participated in the program presenting a round up of the School’s student and recent graduate work from across various programs and year levels. The event was held at the RMIT City Campus and showcased men’s and womenswear garments in screen-print, knitwear, womenswear, menswear, unisex, swimwear, streetwear and everything in-between across over 120 looks, 25 models and 35 designers. Celebrating student work from across the School, the Catwalk Club is a membership-based organisation with over 100 members set up to support the independent designers of the School.

Catwalk Club Presents featured make-up by Amelia Mills with students from the Masters Institute and Deb Fabris and Jacinta Misevski.

 

Women @ Dior Mentoring program, March 9, Sydney
As part of the first Australian Women@Dior initiative, Dior Australia selected five RMIT students, three from the School of Fashion & Textiles, to participate in their mentoring program offered exclusively to RMIT. The RMIT students Hannah Purcell (Associate Degree F&T Merchandising), Johanna McLeod (Associate Degree F&T Merchandising), Kate Milburn (Bachelor of Fashion (Merchandising Management)), Judy Nidea (College of Business) and Lauren Hannan (College of Business) travelled to Sydney and were assigned Dior mentors who shared their experience and journeys to their current executive positions. The program aims to grow and mentor women in the creative field, the students will now have follow up one-on-one meetings with their mentor over the next twelve months.

 

Students at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, March, 2018
As part of the annual exhibition program in the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, second year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) students presented their unique flora creations within the Royal Exhibition Building. Under this year’s theme ‘Superflora’, RMIT students were given the opportunity to design and create a plant-based, organic garment as part of their studies, with their designs on display for the five days of the event. This year Angus McCormack took first place in the competition, with Elizabeth Gao in second place, and Madeleine Porritt and Sarah Jayne Musker tying in third place. Well done to all the students involved and to the guidance of lecturer Pia Interlandi in the project.

 

The Frankie Good Stuff Awards
Frankie magazine’s annual Good Stuff Awards this year awarded two F&T alumnis as part of their competition for innovative design and making projects. The program was created with the aim of giving artists, crafters, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and socially-minded types a platform to showcase their work with a series of prizes and opportunities for winners across categories. Textile Design alumni Amanda Farncomba took the award for the ‘Fashion’ category with her project ‘A Gathering’, a screen-printed, hand-knitted and crocheted collection of clothing and accessories celebrating the handmade. The collection was made from locally sourced, natural fibres and using water-based pigments and dyes. Then, the category of ‘Craft’ went to Daisy Watt, 2013 Alumni of the Advanced Diploma of Textile Design and Development and the Bachelor of Art (Textile Design). Her project ‘Self Preservation’ explored ideas of comfort, visual and tactile luxuries, with knit textures that encourage rest, recuperation and time to refocus and rebuild.


In the next edition of the Houndstooth Wrap, the School of Fashion and Textiles visits ‘Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018’ at Bendigo Art Gallery – stay tuned for bold prints and vibrant colour!

Any suggestions for the Houndstooth Blog in this series would be appreciated! Please send any ideas to Laura Gardner at laura.gardner@rmit.edu.au.