Introducing ‘The Hanger’ – The School of Fashion and Textiles’ newest event space

RMIT’s latest architectural addition to the School of Fashion and Textiles’ Building 516 is ‘The Hanger’. The Brunswick Campus space has been revitalised under the eye of PMA (Paul Morgan Architects) in collaboration with ZILKA Studio (Leanne Zilka) into a dynamic, lofty event room featuring a striking static pleated curtain.

The original conversion in 2000 by John Wardle Architects saw the building prepared for the International Centre for Graphic Technology, and later renovated by PHOOEY Architects in 2015 to accommodate the move of the Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) from the City Campus to Brunswick. The upstairs space in the South end of the building was left un-renovated until now. This new fit out features state of the art facilities to support an array of events. A kitchen/bar area as well as unisex bathrooms, and a green room and hangout area, all of which allow flexible use for events and exhibitions to showcase student work across the School’s fashion and textiles programs, as well as other campus activities in the School of Education, and Architecture and Design.

Architect Paul Morgan and Leanne Zilka (Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT and founder of ZILKA Studio) shared their thoughts with us on the project:

‘The fit out of The Hanger space came about through a collaboration with PMA (Paul Morgan Architects) and ZILKA Studio, working together on the concept of a ‘Frozen Curtain’ that could separate the back of house (change rooms, etc.) from the main space and provide a backdrop for the display of garments produced by RMIT fashion and textile design students. The Frozen Curtain effectively creates a space that acts as a stage set for activities within the school which are often viewed by the public, inviting international guests, industry partnerships and visiting practitioners, the space allows for their work to be viewed without the need to relocate.

Referring to fashion and textile terminology such as the ‘Pleat’, a technique used to gather a wide length of fabric around a circumference, we explored how using an acoustic material with the fashion and textile technique of pleating could be manipulated to respond to the space, structure and ductwork, expressing movement and intricacy.’

The ‘Frozen Curtain’ served as backdrop to The Hanger’s inaugural event, the Open Day Runway held on Sunday August 13. The runway was a drawcard for Open Day visitors and the local community bringing together student work across various programs in an inspiring showcase of the emerging cohort of the School of Fashion and Textiles. Creations by students from the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology, the Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours), Bachelor of Fashion (Design Technology), Certificate IV in Custom-Made Footwear and Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design). In addition, a special section of the parade featured garments from the latest PAGEANT collection, the label founded by Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) alumni Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds.

Lecturer and freelance stylist Franco Schifilliti lead the students in organising the presentation and styling of the work in the show, he shared with us some of his insights on the event:

‘Initially there was around two hundred garments to choose from, we wanted the show to be a snapshot of the outstanding talent from the various courses available from RMIT School of Fashion & Textiles, to inspire and excite the audience. As we started to make a selection, themes began to emerge, for example, ‘Denim Dynamics’, ‘Good Sole’, ‘Printed Matter’ and ‘Bright Sparks’, these formed the sections that were shown.

Building 516’s newly-renovated ‘The Hanger’ offered a fantastic setting. I was blown away by the design of the space, from the amazing ‘Frozen Curtain’ to the superb backstage facilities, which made my job so much easier.’

The Open Day Runway show is incorporated into the Diploma of Fashion Styling students’ ‘Managing Events’ course as part of their semester 2 work. The students become involved in planning aspects of the show, such as concepting for hair and makeup, as well as being hands-on on the day of the show, working as dressers and on the social media.

‘The Hanger’ space (516.02.01) will open in late September and RMIT staff and students will be able to make bookings through the extension #59194.