MERAKI: A FABULOUS EVENING OF FASHION. By Samantha Haran

Last month, I was lucky enough to attend The Meraki Fashion Show as Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). Held at The Met in Brisbane, the decadent runway show had the electric feel of an Alexander Wang New York runway – dark lighting, loud music, free-flowing champagne and elite guests, all dressed to the nines.

Designer Q

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We arrived early to a gorgeous red carpet setting along Wickham Street. After embracing the opportunity to grab a few photos, we spent the rest of the lead-up to the show in the exclusive VIP area. Here, there were drinks flowing and gorgeous cakes and treats embellished with Luxe Agncy, the promoters of the event (and yes, it’s agncy) and What’s Hot TV production and events. This was a lovely opportunity to meet, socialize and network with influencers and creatives in the local Brisbane fashion community.

Bec McMillan


Before long, it was time for the Meraki show to begin. ‘Meraki’ is a Greek word used to describe doing something ‘with soul, creativity or love’ – when you put ‘something of yourself’ into what you’re doing. And that is exactly what was delivered. The celebrity MC of the night, Bec McMillan, brought an incredible energy to the show; pumping up the crowd throughout the night. The designs were gorgeous, the crowd was enlivened; but most importantly, the message behind the show was beautiful. Meraki set out to improve representation for people with disabilities in an industry where that almost ceases to exist; to ‘bring visibility to disability’. The show featured models with disabilities, including award-winning writer, presenter and consultant Lisa Cox. The evening wrapped up with an auction of pieces and other gifts, with all proceeds going to charity in support of Red Nose Australia in honour of Jayce Michael McMillan, son of Bec McMillan. All in all, it was an incredible presentation, and a night to remember.

Keep scrolling to see some of my favourite looks from the show…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: 
Samantha Haran is the founder of her namesake freelance fashion creative consultancy agency, and current Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). She attends events and networks with local companies on behalf of FID, and assists the database behind-the-scenes with social media and blogging.

READY for Robyn Ready? The Maya Dress in a rich olive colour, by Mathilde Bach Stougaard

There are many ways you can support local fashion creatives, and here is one – let me take you through the process of having a dress created by Robyn Ready, The Maya Dress..

How did I hear about Robyn?

When I was looking for fashion professionals to connect with as part of developing my business concept, a fabric supplier suggested me to get in touch with Robyn. So I did. Then, I went to the La Trobe Popup market in Paddington, where for the first time I met Robyn in person and got the chance to see her designs.

Why did I choose to get something made by Robyn?

I had a chat with Robyn. She was nice (which I always value but more about customer service another time) and she spent some time talking me through her way of working, the garments and I quickly tried some pieces to get an idea of the clothing, sizes and styles to my body shape and preference. It was clear to me fairly quickly that Robyn was very skilled and being trained as a pattern maker. Having worked for a bridal business, I believed she knew what she was doing professionally and the designs also reflected this. Another factor was that Robyn creates  make to order pieces, which means you can find one of her designs that you like and then she will create it for you in your size (she has standard sizes to choose between and she can guide you if needed, based on your measurements). You can, for example, get a different fabric, have smaller changes made to the design or you can simply choose an existing created garment.

See pictures of The Maya Dress further down the page but here is the design, which can be created in different styles.

The process of creating the dress…

So, I went home and checked out some more of Robyn’s designs online and I gained an idea of which styles I was interested in – I just knew I wanted a dress.

When I visited her home studio in Ashgrove (Brisbane), she took my measurements and I decided which one of the designs that I liked the best. We then talked about fabric, after which she said she would get back to me with pictures of what was currently available or coming in.

So she did but then I realised I was pregnant shortly afterwards and it would be silly to order a dress that I couldn’t nurse in. After some time I got in touch with her again because perhaps we could make some changes to a dress and that way make it suitable for breastfeeding when going out. Not a problem. We could look at some options so I jumped online to look for ideas for openings at the front and then I looked at my current nursing dresses for inspiration. We then decided how to make some changes (and I was aware it had to be possible to use with a current design of hers).

Regarding fabric, this time I decided to go with one that Robyn had used before for this type of design after she contacted me about fabric options. This can sometimes depend on what currently is available from the fabric supplier, which also means they are more unique if you prefer to have something that not many other people have.

I then visited Robyn again to try the dress on before she made the final adjustments with the nursing details (you don’t always have to come back, it was more in this case when we altered it slightly).

Then next time, the pick up! And so I did and it was ready to be worn…

To sum up, the process depends on whether it’s purely made-to-order or whether there is also an element of made-to-measure in the purchase. For me, with a combination of these, it meant following:

1. Visiting her to go through nursing options (on top of email conversations about this)
2. Choosing / approving fabric options – we did it online as I could see pictures from previous similar styles and I knew that type of colour would go with my tone)
3. Visiting again to try on…
4. Picking up my new dress!

A simpler version is simply to order from what’s shown online and then picking it up or having it shipped (in fact, Robyn also sells quite a bit to the US).

If you want to see fabrics available, you would just have to add one more visit to the above mentioned steps unless you decide based on the ideas that Robyn is sending images of to you online – it depends on whether you want to see and feel the fabric or not.

Shipping

If you prefer to have a garment shipped, the prices are as follows:

$5.00 – Australia wide
$15.00 – the US and the UK.

Shipping can be arranged to other parts of the world (please contact Robyn for a quote).

Returns are accepted (shipping costs paid by customer).

Depending on the type of order, then turnaround time varies (if it’s a made-to-order, turnaround time is on average two weeks).

Where is the fashion brand at?

Robyn created the brand ‘Robyn Ready’ around 2008 and has since developed it to be a made-to-order business (and there can be made-to-measure in there too on a simple level). As a trained pattern maker, she’s very skilled and describes her business concept as “wearable – affordable – clean lines and beautiful fabrics”, which makes it accessible for many. She is in the process of building her online presence but currently the best place to get in touch with her is through Instagram and Etsy, also to see designs and what’s currently happening.

What’s unique about Robyn Ready?

The designs and styles are created in such a way that you can easily fit different sizes for the same design, because it sits on the body easily while still looking good. Great for online shoppers and in fact Robyn’s return rate is very low.

Four things to remember as a customer…

1. You can’t just pick whatever fabric type you like and bring it for a design, it has to go with the type of design, which is also partly why Robyn suggests fabrics. Mine is 100 per cent polyester (wash care label inside).

2. If your design isn’t standard from the online options, remember to ask, discuss and agree on a price / price level before starting the process. The full price of the dress with maternity alteration is $165 but as a normal dress it’s $145 (this may vary depending on price of the fabric chosen).

3. Check out or ask about payment methods available to avoid doubts about this. I received an invoice and paid online from home but in this case payment can be cash, invoiced for direct deposit or PayPal.

4. Remember to ask about design details, for example if you can choose how to close the design at the back of the neck like in this case for the garment. I just went with the choice of buttons as this would be most suitable for a dress to nurse in (different closures can be used, the original dress had a tie back neck). As a customer, you could also talk with Robyn about what buttons you like or how to arrange that.

Here it is – my new dress!

Here you see the end result in full from Robyn’s Instagram account. This dress can also be made as a top as imaged in the top of this post, or a maxi dress, with short or long sleeves and with or without a collar (see more images on Robyn’s Instagram account).

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I’m very happy with my new dress and I plan to keep it for a long time, not just for times it can be used for nursing. And who knows, perhaps I would like it to be tweaked somehow after I finish breastfeeding but it can easily be used as it is, which I definitely plan to. Like other garments, sometimes you have to get used to wearing something new. In fact, every time I have worn it, I like it more and more.

Also, I tend to ask people about the dress when I’m out and one said it looked like a type of dress from Country Road or Witchery. Another person commented on it without me asking anything and when I have looked for new accessories, assistants would be like “that’s a perfect colour for your dress” if I was wearing it at the time I was browsing around.

If this has spiked your interest or whether you are curious to know more, check out Robyn Ready in the FID Directory, where you can find contact details, know where to meet her and links to online sites etc. (keep in mind, the directory profiles are still being developed).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and please leave comments and feedback – I will reply to them all.

As this is the first blog post about how to go about ordering a creation, please feel free to let us know if you want someone to be featured, if you know someone who does or tell your story about an experience with a fashion creative.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder and Creative Director of FID.

DIRECTORY:
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/business-directory/robyn-ready/

BOWERBIRD COLLECTIONS: Spring 2018 Dusk Collection Launch – by Samantha Haran

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At the turn of a windy street-style path on Enoggera Terrace, Paddington, is a beautiful little store. With furnished wooden doors. And an electric blue header-board. A header-board that reads Bowerbird Collections.

It was a Saturday afternoon when I first visited wondered up this path, to the tune of my Google Maps voice. Where was I going? The launch of Ellie and Peta Sweatman’s anticipated Dusk Collection . I had not much prior knowledge of the brand, and no idea what to expect.

As I reached the entrance, I was greeted by a sea of bubbly faces and invigorated conversation. Champagne, cheese and chat were being passed around a crowd of vibrantly-dressed attendees – I gave my name and entered the scene.

And what a scene it was!

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The store was something like a vibrant pocket of quirky goodness in otherwise ordinary street. The interior was decked out in bold impressionistic oil paintings, eccentric home decor and beautiful florals. Vivid and wonderful, immediately intriguing. Complete with vintage wooden floors, and distractingly delicious food platters.

It was not long before the show began. Everyone gathered around the make-shift runway, excited to see the designs. And they were not at all disappointed! The collection featured loose-fitting pieces that seamlessly cascade off the body. These were printed with bright, vibrant patterns – many of which were prints of Ellie Sweatman’s very own paintings that decorated the venue. Upbeat music filled the room and the models gracefully circled the room, showing off the collection. In addition to the printed pieces, there was a range of simple, block-coloured items as well – perfect for mixing and matching.

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Ellie and Peta closed the show with a beautiful vote of thanks, surprising each attendee with gift to take home, as well as a chance to purchase the collection items immediately.

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It was a beautiful and intimate evening and I would like to thank Ellie and Peta so much for allowing me to come along and share in the experience.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
Samantha Haran is the founder of her namesake freelance fashion creative consultancy agency, and current Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). She attends events and networks with local companies on behalf of FID, and assists the database behind-the-scenes with social media and blogging.

DIRECTORY:
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/business-directory/bowerbird-collections

Why a Database? by Mathilde Bach Stougaard

Hello there,

My name is Mathilde and I’m the Founder and Creative Director of the Fashion Industry Database (also called FID).

Welcome – I would love to take you on a journey with me from the very beginning exploring how we, as consumers, can use a database to find what we are looking for when it comes to fashion (or clothing if that’s what you prefer to call it).

I find that there are so many options out there but still, I can’t find what I’m looking for in a simple straightforward way, which isn’t mainstream. Why? Perhaps because to be found in a search engine, fashion creatives needs to know about marketing, SEO and so on. I can imagine it would be exhausting for them but for me as a consumer, I also find it frustrating not to get the full range of options presented to me as many don’t pay to appear high up during a Google search.

If I’m looking for something specific, for example a woollen cardigan, I want to fairly quickly find out where I can buy one, whether it’s online or in a store – and also before purchasing, to know more about the maker, brand or business. To do that at present you have to do a lot of research and try to see through the marketing messages and all the white noise, which doesn’t exactly make the process any easier.

Therefore, this database (and we start with a directory) will be a place to search information about fashion makers, brands or businesses, which is how we categorise the fashion creatives at this point in time. Therefore I would like to take you on a journey to explore how you can use this database, benefit from following us and use the filtering system on our site.

I’m no fashionista but I do care about what I wear and I do believe there is a better way than what currently exists to be a consumer in the fashion world with all that it includes.

We will cover anything and everything fashion A-Z here – welcome to the FID blog!

Mathilde
xx