By Rosie Fittler
“Fashion design is a very small and competitive industry in Australia, and with the increasing number of fashion graduates, it remains a difficult field to penetrate,” says Lauren.
Both Lauren and Mook feel that the growing number of ambitious young fashion designers is the greatest challenge they face in achieving this goal.
However, the School of Design at UTS is preparing its students to approach fashion design conceptually by encouraging them to use different materials and designs to help them stand out from other emerging designers. The intention is that students graduate as multi-faceted designers with the ability to undertake any role – designer, buyer, stylist, marketer.
According to Mook, the School is creating “designers who challenge expected perceptions of fashion and produce innovative and contemporary fashion proposals”.
Both Mook and Lauren’s designs move away from notions of ‘fast fashion’ and ‘over consumption’; instead they have focused on creating innovative and wearable designs.
Mook’s designs explore embroidery, beaded embellishment and silk-screen printing with a focus on function. She recently won the Swarovski Scholarship, one of only two offered to UTS honours students. The scholarship will allow her to buy the crystals necessary for her final collection.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me as I would never be able to use such a product in my first collection. The crystals will help immensely in completing my creative vision of a luxurious range with sportswear influence. The silhouettes and detailing for my designs are inspired by sportswear such as hoodies and elastic waistbands.”
Mook has also been successful in other competitions such as the Chatswood Chase Sydney Fashion Design Competition, and the Arts of Fashion. Mook won the Chatswood Chase competition, her prize a two-week internship with a leading Australian designer.
The Art of Fashion competition is an international event with designers competing to be one of 50 finalists. Mook is one of them. The Arts of Fashion Foundation was created in 2001 to bring together emerging fashion designers around the world.
This year’s theme for The Arts of Fashion competition was ‘resilience’. Mook’s series, ‘Shape shifter’, uses materials of different weights and textures that allow her to creatively explore draping and movement. One silhouette, the ‘Ever changing’ dress, can be worn three different ways thanks to the use of carefully placed eyelets and straps. Winners in the Arts of Fashion competition are offered workshops and apprenticeships with leading fashion designers. Winning this competition could see Mook’s future sewn up.
Lauren’s collection for the end-of-year showing demonstrates her fascination with the play between structural and organic elements in both nature and art. She is currently experimenting with plastic.
“I was attracted to both the transparent and reflective qualities of plastic and its ability to be sculpted on the form and layered with other fabrics,” she says.
Lauren has looked to the work of Australian artist Janet Laurence for inspiration.
“I have based my concept on the works of Janet Laurence who combines natural and artificial elements to create beautiful and ethereal artwork,” she says.
The future looks neon bright for both girls. Mook aims to be creative director of her own label in Thailand, her home country. Lauren is interested in extending her design creativity to becoming a fashion buyer