Sewing up a stylish storm
SUNSHINE Coast fashion's new generation is sewing up a storm, determined to make its mark on the future of the designing world.
For many of its members, dreams of becoming a designer began at a time when the biggest problem was where Barbie's other shoe went.
Up and coming designer, SUBvert's Rachel Sheehy would steal her mother's sewing machine whenever she could.
"I've been sewing since I was 10," she said.
"I used to cut up my and my sister's clothing, but I'd get into trouble for that."
Following her dreams has certainly paid off for the 20-year-old.
She has been chosen to showcase her work at this year's Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival from September 3-8 at Novotel Twin Waters Resort.
Judges said they were dazzled by Rachel's attention to detail and have named her as one to watch.
Rachel said being chosen had encouraged her to keep persisting with her own work, especially on the Coast where the industry was growing.
"I definitely think the Coast is expanding with its style and people are accepting fashion as an art form," she said.
Sunshine Coast TAFE fashion teacher Amanda Knight said local support was encouraging young hopefuls.
"We have a lot of industry connections and because our community is so close-knit, people have the opportunity to help each other," she said.
The Original Eumundi Markets have helped provide an outlet for students and other local designers for many years.
Next week, the market is holding a Wearable Art competition with a theme of Under the Sea.
Students have been working around the clock to create cutting-edge garments made solely from recycled materials.
Coast retailer Alterior Motif has also helped many students by showcasing their pieces in its Cotton Tree store.
For many of us, few things may seem more difficult than wielding a needle and thread, but for young fashion students, draping, designing and decorating is all in a day's work.
But it doesn't always start that way.
It's hard to believe fashion student Hannah Bateman had no sewing experience before she started at her TAFE course only two years ago.
"I could not sew in a straight line," she laughed, with a nearby teacher agreeing with her.
"But they make you feel really comfortable in the first year and have a lot of patience."
MRS Knight added: "New students often come in with no skills.
"They learn all the basics and from here, there are so many different avenues they can choose,"
A fascination with films and costume design is what inspired Izabelle Poultney to study at the college.
Her costume for the Wearable Art competition, inspired by coral and sea goddesses, allows her talent to speak for itself.
Students are aware of how tough it can be for aspiring designers to make it in the industry where stripes instead of spots can mean the difference between style queen and has-been.
But for 21-year-old designer Imogen Lane, following her dreams meant throwing those fears aside.
"I love being creative and as long as you're doing something you love, it will work out," she said.
Imogen said her love for colours and creating made this career a perfect fit.
Immy swimwear is her brand of luxurious resortwear set apart by her unique self-printed fabrics and feminine style.
"The hardest thing is other labels," she said.
"So as long as you have a point of difference, people will recognise that."
Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival director Jacinta Richmond believes the fashion scene is bursting at the seams on the Coast and young designers were the lifeblood of the growing industry.
"They bring a breath of fresh air every year and their unique perspectives keep the industry moving," she said.
Ms Richmond said fashion was everywhere and played an extremely important role in the local economy and culture.
"No one on the Coast is running around naked," she said.
"We all love frocking up.
"We wear clothes every day and whether people say they like fashion or not, that is fashion."
She said Sunshine Coast fashion was now being recognised not only a national level but also on the international scene.
"We are on our way to becoming a fashion hub," she said. "A lot of creatives are moving here, where they aren't stifled by the big-city rules and can be more inspired."
The Mercedes Benz Fashion Week begins next week, and with so many exciting designers coming through the ranks, our Coast girls may be the ones to watch among the big names at Fashion Week in years to come.