Occupation: Fashion designer
Describe yourself in three words: Playful, quirky, loyal
When did you first become interested in fashion?
For as long as I can remember I have always had a love of clothes. My parents were both very stylish people and I’m sure their flair had an impact on me. I also started out as a performance artist and costumier and then evolved into fashion. I’m curvy and tall and found it very difficult to find stylish clothes that looked good on me…so I started making my own.
Who introduced you to fashion?
My family in London and Rome were involved in the fashion industry since the 1940s but I grew up in Australia and I wasn’t exposed to that. However I was able to sew from a very young age…I believe it’s genetic and passed through the bloodlines.
How did you get to where you are now in your career? (Study, past experiences)
I actually never studied fashion but have been sewing since I was about 10 years old. My experience has come through more than 25 years of hands on creating, trial and error and the belief that if you truly love something, you will succeed in the long run. I have also worked tirelessly in an endeavour to be a self sustaining artist. Something that I’m very proud to have achieved.
What brands or people have you worked with?
As a costumier I have worked with the iconic Australian band TISM, cabaret performers The Town Bikes, Yana Alana & Die Roten Punkte. I’ve also had my fashion on a variety of Australian television shows. Cyndi Lauper has also worn my garments on a number of occasions whilst in Australia.
What is your dream job?
To be able to travel the world searching for the most exquisite fabrics and adornments, so I can create incredible masterpieces without having to be restricted by budgets and conservatism. I would still want to ensure my garments are created ethically and designed to flatter.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’d luv to work with Grace Coddington….I think she is a styling genius! If Alexander McQueen was still alive, I’d also love to work with him. He was so incredibly creative.
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
Opening my boutique in 2007 was pretty amazing! Still being around 10 years later is also a pretty incredible feat being retail is so up and down.
What is the most fun part of your job?
When I’ve decided on a theme for a new collection, all the fun stuff starts from there… There’s lots of gathering of inspirational images, searching for fabrics, and creating new designs.
I also love being in my boutique and helping out my customers so they feel as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Mass manufacturing and big department stores who constantly go on sale, have made it very difficult for small designers to be sustainable. As a small designer you are also constantly time poor, and have to be able to ride the wave of inconsistent cash flow.
Is styling/ designing a profitable industry to participate in?
It ebbs and flows…Sometimes it can be profitable and other times you are struggling to make ends meet. I’m not in this business purely to make money. It is a passion of mine and something I’ve dedicated many years of my life to. I always wanted to be a self sustaining artist, and I’ve definitely achieved that.
As you are in an industry that is currently facing stores closures, liquidations and financial stress, globally. How do you plan to avert their financial misfortunes and keep positive, mentally and financially?
I’m constantly thinking of ways to make money, bring in new customers, keep my old customers happy and so on. I’m generally a positive thinker but consistent quiet days can still get you down. It’s important to take time out or yourself (even if it’s only 1 day a week).
Social media and being in contact with your customers is very important to a small creative business.
How do you feel about the growth of online stores in relation to your line of work?
I suppose it was inevitable that online stores would become quite prominent, but it doesn’t beat coming into a boutique, being greeted by a welcoming face, having the ability to try the garments on and having someone to give you personalised styling and fashion advice.
What is your opinion on the merging of fashion and technology?
I’ve got more of an old school approach to fashion….but I also think it’s great there are creative innovators who have access to that type of technology.
Who is your style icon?
Sophia Loren….elegant, sexy, curvalicious
What is your favourite style/ trend?
To be honest I don’t really follow fashion trends….I prefer to dress to flatter my curves. Being I’m cello shaped, I like tailored cuts and vintage inspired garments that taper in at the waist. I also like to wear contrasting textures and prints. You also can’t go past a funky pair of shoes and chunky jewellery.
Favourite item of clothing?
Silk Satin wrap blouse (one from my collection). You feel like you are wrapped in silk sheets…very sexy!
Describe your style in three words.
Curvalicious, Funky, Tailored
Do you have a fashion regret?
Wearing mesh singlets in the 1980s….I have totally left the 1980s behind now 🙂
How do you stay up to date with trends?
I don’t worry about what are the up to date trends. I design and wear garments that I love, not ones that are based on the latest trends.
What skills or qualities do you think are most important in this line of work?
Time management, honesty, creativity, ability to think rationally, passion, ability to design and construct a garment.
What is your creative process like?
It can be a bit random at times. Sometimes I gather fabrics over a long period of time (I have a storage unit full of fabrics) until enough of the fabrics inspire me to think of a new collection. Then I start checking out inspirational images. Next I talk to my pattern maker about design ideas…eventually a first draft pattern is created. It gets sampled and we make changed from there. It can be quite a lengthy process to get the right look and fit.
What materials/ textiles are your favourite to work with?
I love beautiful wools and silks. I also work a lot with jerseys as they often have a wonderful drape about them. When jersey is cut the right way it can be very flattering on curvy women. I make many wrap dresses and tops from jerseys which women just love.
How do you overcome creative blanks?
I check out the internet…see if anything inspires me. It could be fashion, flowers, buildings, animals…it could really be anything that sparks an interest. I also just sometimes put it all away and just not think about it…sometimes the best thing to do is take some time out.
How do you stay organised and productive?
I have a great team around me. I also have the ability to start something and finish it….I can take many detours along the way to get to the finish but I always get there in the end.
Best piece of advice that you can give to aspiring stylists/ designers?
Get in the industry because you have a passion for it. Stay focused and believe in yourself. Be open to taking advice and treat people as you would want to be treated.
What is up next for you?
More designing and creating of garments that make women feel beautiful. I’d also like to increase my social media presence. And of course continuing to keep happy, be ethical and smile.
Website – sprinkle.com.au