“All you’ve got to do is make sure you’re both clean and it’s a great thing to be part of.”
If this isn’t the best fashion news ever, we don’t know what is.
No, I wasn’t ‘too posh to push’.
When I was 14, my life revolved around my friends and school. I watched MTV, complained about too much homework, and didn’t really think about the future.
When you’re 14, you’re not a child anymore, but you’re definitely not an adult either. You’re a teenager: mostly naive and pretty clueless. Signing a $200,000 contract with Dior when you’ve just started puberty might seem impossible, but it’s exactly what happened to Israeli girl Sofia Mechetner.
It’s a modern fairy tale: Living in poverty with her mother and two younger siblings, Sofia gets signed by a modeling agency who send her to Paris where she is at the right time at the right place (a Dior boutique where designer Raf Simons happened to be too) and gets offered a lot of money for seemingly little work.
Shortly after, she walks in a Dior fashion show wearing a very sheer dress, which of course gives her and the fashion label a lot of publicity. Apparently it was “all for art” and not meant to look sexy. Right.
Sofia is of course happy to earn money to support her family, Dior is happy to have found such a beautiful girl, and they lived happily ever after. Now, let’s talk about the problem here, shall we?
Why does a multi-million dollar designer house feel the need to pay a young teenager to wear their clothes, which are meant to be bought by adult women? Why does anybody think it is a good idea to take a young girl out of school and put her on a runway with hundreds of (adult) photographers taking pictures of her with her not yet fully developed breasts showing through the transparent fabric of her dress?
When you are 14, you don’t know what your rights are. You feel self-concious and insecure and you will believe anything you are told, because you don’t know any better. In other words, you are easily exploited. You are exploited of your kindness and innocence, and most of all, your time to be a child.
The fashion world is tough and even though we are constantly confronted with youthfulness, it is a very adult world. The CFDA and the British Fashion Council have banned models under the age of 16 from New York and London Fashion Week, but Paris remains irreverent.
There is no need for any 14-year old girl to model. Enjoy your childhood and teenage years. Hang out at shopping centres, play sports and worry about exams, not about photo shoots. Once you’re 18, you’ll have enough time to do all the adult things you were naively looking forward to.
I don’t blame Sofia or her family for taking this opportunity, but I am disappointed by Dior. When they made the decision to sign Sofia, they didn’t just make a business decision, they changed a girl’s life. Let’s hope they changed it for the better.
Image via web.de
Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and here at SHESAID we have been lucky enough to meet a selection of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make a real difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.
Viktoria + Woods is a partnership between Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds that has brought them great success in the Australian market. Since its humble beginnings in 2005, the brand now has over 70 stockists, including retail giant David Jones. Most recently the pair have been listed as finalists for DHL Express’ Fashion Scholarship, quite a feat since entrants have almost doubled since last year. With fans of the label only continuing to rise, there is no denying we must all keep a keen eye on this dynamic duo. This week, we managed to find a spare moment in their busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.
Name and role:
Margie Woods and I am the Founder and Creative director of Viktoria + Woods. Lisa Reynolds and I am the Co-director and Designer of the brand Viktoria + Woods.
Tell us about what your roles. What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?
Margie Woods (MW): As Creative Director and Founder I have a very solid vision of the brand and V+W future. From a design perspective, I am very conceptual and visionary in terms of my influence on each collection, but not hands on in the day to day perspective as my incredible partner is. My days involve driving the flow and direction of designs, marketing and brand growth. Sign off on many decisions; direct the team, including new projects. Writing collection releases, interviews, signing off on daily marketing activities, design meetings and fittings, organizing photo-shoots and team and management meetings. My role is not very operational, its mostly directional and on the whole wonderfully creative. There are administrative sides to my role, but it’s the conceptual and creative that I am passionate about.
Lisa Reynolds (LR): My role is to head and manage design and direct the production and pattern making team. The day involves a lot of research, mood-boarding, fabric supplier meetings, sketching, and fittings. The design process is quite operational. So its hands on and exciting, but does not come without challenges. Including finding that right fabrication, getting specifications and fits perfect for market release, and troubleshooting any issues. There is a lot of research, and sourcing, meeting with factories that may have specific capabilities we are looking for. It’s a challenging role but incredibly rewarding.
When did you discover your talent? How/when did you realize that fashion and design was an area you wanted to be involved with?
MW: I grew up with a very fashion obsessed family, so it was always part of my life. My mother designed her own clothing growing up, and had a dressmaker sew up or tweak all her special pieces. She still does to this day. I think that history has always been a part of me, and subconsciously this industry was always going to be my future.
LR: I came from an incredibly creative and crafty family. But it was a fashion show with Australian designer Toni Mateveski that I saw during the Melbourne Fashion festival that drove me to study fashion, and never look back.
Where did the idea come from to create Viktoria + Woods?
MW: It was an idea I had to create a line of contemporary merino wool basics, which I felt was a huge gap in the market. At that time, there was very little in the way of modern lightweight options in the market, and I had a strong vision for what the line would look like and where it would be positioned. My then partner helped make this vision a reality, which I am forever grateful for.
What were the initial stumbling blocks getting V+W off the ground? How did you resolve these?
MW: Mostly funding and sourcing the perfect quality merino that I wanted to work with. We were lucky to be able to work with a distributor in early days who helped us get through these hurdles, and support us through the development and growth until we were able to take over the distribution internally.
How would you describe the style of a women who wears Viktoria + Woods?
MW + LR: Our women are chic, classically stylish, confident, and informed on latest trends. They mix function with fashion to meet their busy lifestyles, quality driven and value designer labels
As creative, how do you deal with the pressure to continually design, create and impress?
MW + LR: Trends and lifestyles are always evolving, and so there is always something more we want to offer, and so much more we want to express. In our collections work with concepts that are often driven by feelings of what we want right now, or what we feel our customers wants from us. This is forever evolving. You can never express everything in one collection, so inspiration is constant.
Where do you find your inspiration?
MW: Spending time at the beach around water and fresh air is where I reboot and find time to be inspired. Travelling, reading, and artwork. Right now I am very inspired by ‘objects’ and installations as artwork. I am also exploring photography over painted art. Raw landscape images are contributing a lot to our moodboards at the moment with natural, organic and raw imagery with modern layers of colour.
LR: Inspiration is all around us, from the Australian lifestyle and culture to beautiful piece of merino, fine yarn or organic cotton. We design our collections to be timeless, but with a modern edge so classic tailoring is always inspirational for technique and how we can work this into a collection that has a relaxed contemporary feel.
Do you have mentors? Are there any particular people or designers you look up to?
MW: Ellery is an inspiration. I love her courageous approach to design and the how she represents the creativity and passion that can come from Australian design.
LR: I respect and admire Stella McCartney not only for her inspired designs, but for her incredible commitment to using sustainable fibres and materials wherever possible.
Viktoria +Woods has recently been selected as a finalist for DHL’s 2015 Fashion Scholarship. How has recognition such as this affected the brand?
MW + LR: It has been incredible to be recognised as a label with potential for success and growth by DHL. The mentoring, advice and assistance this scholarship offers is an incredible opportunity for us to stay focused and on path.
What are your goals for the future?
MW + LR: To inspire our staff, our customers and our followers with beautiful clothing and an honest approach to design. To represent Australian fashion globally. We are incredibly excited to be stocking Bloomingdales from August this year. We hope to continue to evolve as a uniquely Australian brand, and hopefully support our local industry for many years to come with Australian made designs.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
MW: Don’t rush success. Know who you are and what you represent. Work with the best creative people you can. Inspire and empower your team to be better each day.
LR: It is such an exciting, passionate industry that is filled with challenges, lots of highs and of course there are lows. But always stay true to not only yourself but to the vision you have for your label.
To view Viktoria + Woods latest collection, shop online or find your nearest store, visit: viktoriaandwoods.com.au
The retail world sure was a lot more boring before high street designer collaborations. When H&M launched its first designer collaboration ten years ago, it was a game changer. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a label that hasn’t participated in some sort of high street collaboration.
Besides H&M, Target has proved to be a department store with its finger on the pulse, having launched some very successful capsule collections by designers such as Stella McCartney and Missoni. Their next big coup? The Target x Dion Lee collection, which will be available on July 2.
Dion Lee is without a doubt one of Australia’s best designer exports who is known and loved for his incredibly well tailored clothes and a look that’s both feminine and feminist. So, what can we expect from Lee’s collection for Target?
If you liked Alexander Wang x H&M, chances are you’re going to love Target x Dion Lee. The collection focuses on active wear and the very popular sport luxe trend. Sports bras, running shorts and leggings might make you think that this is purely a gym wear collection, but it’s more than that.
Body-hugging dresses and pencil skirts are part of it, too, as well as a pair of sexy black mules and a mini skirt. Colour-wise, Lee isn’t straying far from his usual aesthetics with lots of black and blue involved and a bit of orange for the more sporty items.
Even though there are only 35 pieces in the collection, it seems as if it could please a wide variety of women with the designs being both functional and sophisticated and “reflecting the lifestyle of the contemporary woman.” With prices ranging from $25 to $119, it will definitely be one of the more affordable designer lines (in comparison, Alexander Wang x H&M was priced up to $349).
If Missoni x Target was anything to go by, you will have to be quick to get your hands on a Dion Lee item as Target’s website crashed minutes after launching, with most items selling out super quick. Our favorites from Dion Lee x Target? The mules and laser cut bomber jacket – fingers crossed we’ll get our hands on them!
Images via Fashion Journal and Target
The spotlight is on Australian design after Melbourne-based Adam Cornish won the prestigious 2014 New York Design Awards last week. Adam’s Trinity bowl designed for Italian based company Alessi, received first prize in the homewares category, putting Australian design back on the global map. The Trinity bowl was born from self-initiated research into lightweight structure of the Nautilus shell.
“Each year the Nautilus adds an extra chamber to its shell, a process that eventually forms a beautiful spiralled structure that is strong yet very light in weight. My aim was to create a hybrid product that was not only visually inspired by nature, but also a product that uses the inherent logic of nature.”
In conjunction with New York Design Week held last month, Adam is among top leading industry experts selected to showcase his designs through the “Alessi Research Lab’ initiative, as part of the WantedDesign 2014 exhibition. The workshop displayed a selection of projects that highlight a specific topic and the related research developed around it; ranging from research in the working of metal wire by Pauline Deltour, LED lighting by Giovanni Alessi Anghini through to nature observation based design by Adam Cornish.
The Trinity bowl is available from selected David Jones stores and Alessi online.
When John Hardy, a former art student and a radical environmentalist from Canada, set foot in Bali in the 1970s, he was instantly captivated and inspired by the natural beauty of the Indonesian isle. Bali was and still is a welcoming place for artists with a rich culture and a beautiful landscape to provide infinite sources of inspiration.
By chance, he encountered local artisans who produced handcrafted pieces using the jewellery-making techniques honed by their ancestors. The Balinese have a rich history of dedication to the art of making jewellery, brought to the island by the Majapahit Empire 700 years ago.
John began to study ancient jewellery artisanship and to work with the local descendants of goldsmiths, who once made beautiful creations for Balinese royalty. By infusing their ancient techniques with modern ingenuity, the John Hardy brand was born in 1975, offering collectors statement pieces that are unique works of art.
An avid environmentalist, his lifestyle of harmony with the natural world became an inspiration for the brand foundation. The brand’s Bali compound is built with local, low-impact natural materials, including bamboo, adobe and thatch. At its heart is the design studio, housed in a restored Balinese community hall with an antique timber structure with a natural grass roof. Nearby is the showroom, a bamboo cathedral thatched with alang alang.
When head designer and creative director Guy Bedarida joined the company in 1990s, he brought with him skills and aesthetics developed while working with some of Europe’s high-end jewellery brands. The CEO Damien Dernoncourt and Guy together elevated the brand’s sustainable philosophy by applying new sustainable practices, like using 100 per cent reclaimed silver and planting bamboo seedlings in Bali to offset the company’s carbon emissions. To date, the brand has planted 900,000 bamboos throughout the island of Bali, the noble grass helping to sustain the lifestyle of the locals as well as protecting the environment in a variety of ways including aiding the soil’s natural water retention.
Today, John Hardy is the embodiment of ‘sustainable luxury’, preserving ancient jewellery-making techniques, which would otherwise be lost, while ensuring its business operations are environmentally conscious at all levels.