Forget everything you think you know about the Australian fashion scene and take a look at the country’s five most promising talents
What do Julia Nobis, Misha Hollenbach and Julie Ann Quay have in common? They’re all from the land down under, of course. But unfortunately, people often sleep on Australia as a thriving location from where up-and-coming designers and fashion icons emerge. Brands like Ksubi, P.A.M and Dion Lee have made it big in the States, but Australia operates in its own little bubble, where trends live and die and designers and creatives go unnoticed on an international scale.
Although a sick part of you pictures all Aussies as wild, croc-chasing mud-freaks, in reality, some of them are busy throwing mental warehouse parties, designing clever Bosozuku gang-inspired collections and challenging our perceptions of the female form through their garments. The five labels below are only a taste of the talent pouring out of Oz right now, with designs that are more thoughtful than they appear.
Previously working for Christopher Kane and Perks and Mini, designers Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds launched their brand Pageant in 2010 based on a mutual love of avant-garde design and subtle athletic nuances. Although originally a gothy menswear brand, the duo 180’d and now design ultra-girly, wearable cut-and-sew garments for women. Their brand updates structural silhouettes, inspired by labels like Comme des Garçons, with more relaxed and wearable elements — the swimwear vibes of their SS16 collection incite the bliss that comes with endless Australian summers.
MATTHEW ADAMS DOLAN
Originally from Sydney, Matthew Adams Dolan creates garments that manipulate and challenge the traditional human form. Currently based in New York, the designer draws on his bleak suburban upbringing in Australia, with a SS16 collection that modernises the traditional “jeans and tee” look. “I became obsessed with taking photos of tourists in Hawaiian shirts, Teva sandals and cargo shorts,” Matthew told Dazed earlier in the year. “I had like 2000 photos of guys in that look. I love the idea of repetition of familiar clothes that you’re so used to seeing and moved from that into denim and the idea of familiarity.” And with inspirations like RnB icon Aaliyah, who covers Matthew’s mood-board, it comes as no surprise that RiRi and Travis Scott are big fans.
“Coital embellishers, tailors of state and gland enhancers,” is how Sydney-based DJ’s slash tastemakers PELVIS cryptically describe themselves. In addition to creating graphic pieces swathed with their signature “SERVE” text, the elusive sixsome hosts themed monthly parties where they fluidly mix decadent 80s disco and house. In 2014, Pelvis’ long-sleeves went viral and became the uniform for every girl and boy in Sydney and Melbourne, and the brand even garnered interest from Yeezy and Venus X. Although more a lifestyle network than a clothing brand, the boys state they are only here to “stimulate the senses of likeminded mammals worldwide.”
Combining traditional Japanese type with pop-art graphics, Nothing’s clothing is made with the 70s Bosozuku biker girl in mind. Launched earlier this year, the label takes cues from other tee brands like Nattofranco, with graphic-heavy designs that combine multiple themes on a single garment. For his debut collection, designer Mark Soetantyo plays with tongue-in-cheek phrases like, “Good for education / Bad for your health,” paired with a sad illustration (by artist Stellar Leuna) of a Japanese school girl begrudgingly toting her lunchbox.
DAISY can be best described as Oklahoma! gone rogue. Although the talented Sydney-based styling/photography duo FeelTheFuture, consisting of Renee Warne and Gibson Fox, channel neo-dystopian vibes in their production work, their design approach is on the wholesome side of the spectrum. Launching their label less than a year ago, the couple’s debut collection Pure Country pays tribute to a simpler time in fashion through Dorothy-esque gingham and ruched lace spliced in with risque fabrics like patent leather and python. The DAISY girl is quintessential 50s Americana meets Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.