Words by Nilushika De Silva
Images by Rachael Merritt | @rachael_liz_m
RMIT’s Catwalk Club secured their place amongst the prestigious Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) crowd with the launch of its offsite runway show featuring 35 designers and over 50 models on Thursday 15 March.
The show featured work from RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles and showcased innovative design approaches including laser cutting, pattern making, 3D printing and 3D virtual prototyping.
Diversity and innovation were at the forefront of many collections on display at this year’s show.
Designers Rutika Patki and Benjamin Garg both came from India to study and explore the Melbourne fashion scene. Patki credited her vibrant printed designs to her culture, with the fabric used to create her pieces being prepared and exported from India.
Instead of the subtle black and grey styles prevalent in Melbourne’s fashion scene, Patki said she liked her designs to be “loud and dramatic”.
Sebastian Espinoza, a Chilean designer, said his collection was influenced by a mixture of modern street fashion and a unique blending of his own cultural identity.
Jewellery designer, Jade Backhouse, shares this style with her pieces celebrating and representative of the different cultures in society.
“[It is about] coming together and celebrating the multicultural society we have,” Backhouse told Catalyst News.
However, it is not always glitz and glamour when it comes to fashion. The process of creating a piece can take many months, starting from an idea to the execution of the piece. The whole process involves a lot of time dedicated to experimentation, out of the box thinking and often bold risks.
These risks proved worthwhile for William Thi, a finalist in VAMFF’s national showcase for graduates in 2017. His garments, comprising of over 2,500 individual dog leashes tied up, represented the issue of infidelity in a relationship.
“My collection goes through the stages of finding out, and feeling tied down and onto working things out, and finally being free,” Thi explained.
Designer Briony Walton sees art and fashion more as interwoven concepts. Her garments are depicted as sculptural forms on the body which influence perception as they interact with the space around them, claiming that bodies are just another way to express an art form. Walton, who has an interest in sustainable fashion, hopes to bring that concept into her future designs.
Catwalk Club’s inaugural VAMFF fashion show is an important step for the next wave of fashion creatives hoping to break into the industry.
Founded by Rosanna Li, Kumari Pelsoczy and Georgia Devlin in 2017, the club now boasts over 80 members.
“[This club is] strictly for students. It’s about them connecting with each other because that’s where we felt there was a void,” Pelsoczy said.
While some are launching their own businesses through social media platforms, an event like this allows fashion hopefuls a chance to explore their creativity and individuality in a supportive environment where they are free to express, network and collaborate.
The club founders envision the club to become a creative collaborative hub for their members, each which many different interests.
“[The] fashion industry is more than just designing and just creating clothes,” Devlin told Catalyst News.
“[We hope] to form a collaborative atmosphere among the fashion, journalism, photography and makeup artists so that members can have access to those different talents at events.”