In its fourth year the Ravishing Fashionistas Fashion Week was bigger and better than ever, showcasing diverse women of all ages, stages, ethnicities and sizes. A new initiative for founder Upma Kite and the Ravishing Fashionista Team were the Designer Talks. Upma greeted us wearing one of the trends of the season, a stylish blazer dress in a limoncello colour. Hosted by stylist, Casey Grant and Anthony Rice from imodel fashion magazine, these talks gave guests an insight into the designers who would be showing their collections at the RF Fashion Show. She Society were delighted to hear from designers from Australia – wide who shared their inspiration, design process and ethos.
Attendees to the talks were inspired, enlightened and left brimming with creativity after listening to a diverse range of designers who are showcasing their wares not just here in Queensland but around the world. It was a real eye opener on the work of creatives in my own city and I loved hearing stories of their fashion journeys.
I have met the lovely Sarah Hutson from SFH Designs at local fashion events. She was wearing a glorious fuchsia pink dress from her New Farm boutique SFH Designs paired with gold boots for today’s event. Sarah, who is always smiling, looked every bit the fashionista and designer that she is. Sarah has daughters so said much of her inspiration comes from them. Influences include Harry Style, Vivienne Westwood and the trending Barbie movie.
Sarah’s store is a riot of colour and accessories, with a touch of sparkle of course. She showed a sneak peek of one of her looks from the runway which was a colourful ruffled floral maxi skirt and white ruffled shirt. The look had a Spanish flavour. The skirt was sustainable being designed with colourful fabric remnants that worked so well together.
Sher from Anannasa is another local success story who finds inspiration in her travels and culture. It was on her travels that she spied the beautiful embroidered coats which are now a signature part of her collection. She also shared a bejewelled navy and gold gown inspired by the rich saris worn at Indian weddings. Sher has found a wider market by having a fashion agent and said this had proved invaluable for her business.
Did you know that King Charles has worn a jacket designed here in Brisbane? Me neither. In 1966 King Charles was photographed wearing a Claybourn oilskin coat during his time studying at Geelong Grammar. Claybourn, which was established in 1910, is another Brisbane success story that is moving with the times. Their Italian designer Ricky Conti said they have definitely moved on from mostly coats and can now deliver a full fashion range and apparel for men, women, kids and pets. The gorgeous jacket and jeans I saw on the day were beautifully crafted and very fashion forward. Claybourn is a worldwide brand which strives to make luxury fashion and apparel accessible to a wider audience. It’s an ethical and sustainable brand with timeless styles that are made to last.
We met Mika who began designing her range of rubber jewellery quite by accident in 2019. Originally a graphic designer, Mika began designing lighter jewellery with magnetic clasps for her Mum to wear. When she began wearing them out herself people kept asking where they could get them. And so her business was born. Her designs are created with soft non – toxic sponge rubber which is incredibly lightweight. They are also very cool statement pieces.
Mika now travels the world as her pieces are stocked in stores in New York, London, Japan, New Zealand and Paris. Mika is a homegrown Brisbane international success story who says the most surprising thing was receiving her first overseas orders. For this show she had some incredible pieces in black.
I spoke with designers from cavi.r.07 who take your old denim and reuse, recycle it and repurpose it to create new bespoke pieces. This prevents denim past its use by date from going into landfill. Denim is one of the biggest pollutants in the fabric industry so it makes sense not to waste the precious pieces that are already available. They have their own history and story to tell and the designs created were modern and stylish. This brand has its home on the Gold Coast.
Other designers were jewellery designer Lilliana from Melbourne, young designer duo Vexvina, world renowned milliner – Caren Lee, African influenced T. MAK Madusu Fashion and upcycled designer – Annette Love from Paradise Point Fashion Lab whose unique fashion and stories amazed all listening. Many spoke of sustainability and gender fluidity in their designs whilst also embracing our well known Queensland love of colour. It was a privilege to discover some new Australian talent in the fashion world who are thriving in a difficult time for fashion. Events like the Ravishing Fashionistas Design Talks encourage designers to gather and share industry knowledge and creative insights whilst truly celebrating the diversity that abounds in the world.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).