Where to next? [fashion, Part One]

Looking at international Fashion Week designs for Winter 2017/18, it suddenly stuck me something is wrong with fashion.  It’s out of fashion.

What is supposed to be cutting edge has stagnated.  The biggest movement in the last eight years is preppy hipster wear, which first made an appearance in the 1920’s.

With global awareness of climate change, population growth, fair trade, ethical manufacturing, sustainable and closed loop production, making clothing from new materials suddenly makes no sense.

After this revelation, came another; that clothing for him or her is no longer a thing.  Our next generation is moving away from gender specific branding in every way, and now focuses on being authentic with what they like, who they are and how they identify.  This freeing up of gender specific clothing design goes beyond the unisex or androgynous looks of the 70’s to 90’s.  It’s not a fad based trend but a genuine social upheaval that is influencing how we dress at the grass roots level.

And finally, the old ‘travel the world for inspiration’ resulting in cultural appropriation is over.  Themed parades appropriating First Nation head-dresses, artworks and ceremonial clothing by designers who have nothing to do with that culture, and without the permission of the First Nation peoples, are stealing intellectual property.

I think this uprising social awareness pushes artists and designers further into their own culture(s) to find inspiration.  Now more than ever, we can quickly access global information and images, but are challenged to process them in a visual language that is unique to our own experience.

Maybe the final awareness of the change in society, is the growing acceptance of street art and graffiti.  Art is coming out of the galleries in all forms of expression, and into our faces on the street.  After years of generic paid advertising creating visual pollution, it’s refreshing to see the work of random artists.  People who are willing to pay for their own materials, donate their own time, and at their own risk, make the city a more interesting place.  I’m waiting to see how this influences fashion beyond creating a backdrop for fashion shoots, a hoodie and pair of jeans that accommodates a spray can.


Young people are very good at shaking up the status quo, and pushing us into a new way of thinking.

Photography for Surface Design

An interesting thought about photography as a medium is what works for one purpose may not for another.  For example, the last two projects of photography for street murals, the images were of buildings and chairs, so the layout was traditional with the images in sharp focus.



Lords’ Chairs


Photography for surface design has different criterea .  Coming from a textile background with lots of handpainting and dyeing, a sharp focus image isn’t part of the aesthetic, except maybe as a stylised line drawing or lino print.  In traditional textile design, an image is printed as a repeat.  Only in recent years has full colour, large scale photography been technologically available for textiles (as washable).

So how can photography be applied as a medium for decorative surfaces?

This is one of my favourite photographs, yet the foreground is dominated by out of focus leaves and a giant dark blob of colour.  It probably doesn’t work as either a stand alone print or a textile repeat, yet the tree trunk is in focus just to show it wasn’t a total mistake.


The next photograph is what I’m looking for in the perfect surface design image;  soft focus with a small part in sharp focus for contrast, interesting shapes, balanced dark and light, harmonious or complimentary colour, evenly spaced across the image.


Autumn Blush Chiffon Top


Autumn Blush Tote

Ideas as the Instrument of Change

With the current political climate in Australia, featuring an increasingly unpopular party that says their problem is selling the message, not the message itself, I’ve been thinking about the value of ideas.  Great ideas that form a better society for everyone, not just a select few.  But who can have these great ideas, and how is it possible to achieve influence with social, political, geographical or financial disadvantage?

I’ve just finished Vivienne Westwood’s autobiography with Ian Kelly.  A leader and innovator of fashion since the 1970’s, Westwood talks about how ideas led to the invention of Punk, and how her interest in the authenticity of historical clothing and mixing it with contemporary fashion, led to a revolution in fashion design today. Continue reading Ideas as the Instrument of Change

Eucalypso Resort at Etsy

I’ve finally reopened the Eucalypso Etsy shop with an ongoing resort collection of hand painted silk tunics and kaftans.  Several of the kaftans include beautiful jewellery by Adelaide artist and contemporary jeweller Lauren Simeoni.

Waratah kaftan with Poi-Stamen neckpiece

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Top Ten Fashion Designers

Here are my Top 10 Fashion Designers of the last 30 years.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

From punk to the study of historical costume as the foundation for modern design, Vivienne Westwood has been the strongest influence on fashion for the last three decades.  This includes subverting tradition in fashion design by first understanding the meaning behind clothes, the innovative use of materials and draping, and promoting concern for environmental issues and sustainability.  Her approach is simultaneously fun, serious and cheeky.  Vivienne Westwood is the designer’s designer. Continue reading Top Ten Fashion Designers