International student fashion designers shine at VAMFF 2017

Four select international student and graduate designers recently had their collections showcased at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Stevi Lee spoke to the students and has the full report.

L-R: Proud students, Sajmi, Ruvini, Pinni and Gaelle have their garments showcased at prestigious Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. | Photo: Michelle Leong

‘Fashion’ isn’t the first word you might associate Queen Victoria Market with but as the 2017 edition of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) demonstrated, even the the iconic deli halls of the Melbourne landmark could easily be transformed into a runway.

Co-organised by Study Melbourne, the event ‘A Stitch in Time, A Place of Mine’ was held in celebration of four incredible international student designers and graduates whose collections awed those in attendance.

Fashion insiders, industry members and other international students came together to see how these talented students would stitch their background and cultural influences into their garments. The night was filled with many stories told through these fashion pieces modelled on the runway.

Photo: Michelle Leong

Kicking off the evening was Pinni Wu, an RMIT graduate who recently finished her Honours in Fashion Design at RMIT. Her collection was inspired by the traditional fashion of the Han Chinese.

“I was inspired by the stiffness, layer and the sculpture of the [Han] clothing,” she said. With marvellous and elegant garments in tow, the highlight of Pinni’s collection was a long pink dress, one with great layering and attention to the laces.

Nepalese-born Sajmi Shrestha’s collection was next up; her collection inspired by the humanity anatomy and how the human body’s structure works. Interestingly, Sajmi did not pursue fashion when she first arrived in Melbourne but soon realised

“I was a hairdresser when I first came here, but then I realised [hairdressing] wasn’t for me,” said the designer who has been in Melbourne for several years.

With aspirations of one day owning her own collection, Sajmi expressed gratitude to VAMFF and Study Melbourne in giving her the opportunity to have her work showcased.

Photo: Michelle Leong

Holmesglen Institute student Gaelle Marie, meanwhile wanted her collection, Eclore, to represent the social trend on health and happiness.

“It is about moving away from materialistic things and about finding your happiness through for example, mediation,” she said.

Her glamorous collection was chic and casual at the same time and Gaelle’s emphatic use of yellow shone through in her clothing. Yellow, Gaelle said, was to represent happiness.

Having come along way since her young days learning how to sew for Barbie dolls, Gaelle says the fashion show was a great chance for her to be exposed further in the fashion industry.

The final collection of the evening came from Sri Lanka’s Ruvini Jayasekara, which included vibrant pink silks, embellished wires and fastenings and a white-striped dress embellished with wires that showed the movement of the body.

“[My collection] is all about technique of construction and material handling skills and how you put them on the body and how it moves along the body,” Ruvini said.

Meld reporter Stevi Lee checking out all the action from the runway. | Photo: Michelle Leong

The Sri Lankan designer also mentioned how she had been working on plating techniques specifically, and looked at different ways of finishing her garments with bonding, layering and lace-cutting, and using metal beating and metal wires to enhance the structure of her garments.

Ruvini also went on to express gratitude towards her husband for supporting her dream.

“He has been a great supporter, and with [studying a Masters], you definitely need someone to help you emotionally and to calm you down,” she said.

The fashion show ended that evening with a final showcase of all the designer’s garments, as models all walked out to give onlookers one final look at the beautiful garments. A true testament to the creativity of internationalised minds, this collaborative event between VAMFF and Study Melbourne is one we hope to see more of in the future.

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