Cream of the crop.

Words by

Anastasia McInerney

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is underway and you should be making room in your schedule for fashion festivities.

We’re proud to return as the Supporting Partner of the National Graduate Showcase, presented by AMP Capital. 

You know it’s a runway worth seeing when it features a lineup of Australia’s best up-and-coming graduate designers, like Natalie Vladimiroff from University of Technology Sydney.

We caught up with the graduate to find out a little more about her collection, before it hits the runway at the Royal Exhibition Building on March 19. You can pick up a ticket here.

Your graduate collection, Un Real, was inspired by taxidermy. That's a little creepy...

I’ve always been interested in the slightly morbid and weird. Taxidermy has a long history and was really instrumental in allowing people to see exotic animals before the invention of photography. I was also fascinated by taxidermy’s recent revival by contemporary artists (such as Polly Morgan) and their code of ethics around using animals in their work.

Who is your collection’s heroine? 

Anyone who has an appreciation of the quirky and unusual. I would love to see my collection on Leandra Medine or Iris Apfel!

You interplay between what is considered ‘real’ and ‘unreal’. What type of reaction have you received from your audience?

Mainly, people have been drawn to the tactility of the garments and the bright colours. I’ve had people very surprised when they found out it was [made from] real cowhide leather!

What was the biggest challenge in creating your collection? 

Using cowhide! Wanting to use coloured cowhide led to a lot of experimenting to find the right dye and processes that would work. [There were] lots of mistakes. In the end, everything worked out, even if it wasn’t quite how I expected.  

How are you feeling about showcasing your work at VAMFF?

So excited! It's an amazing opportunity and I’m so honoured to have been chosen and to show my work alongside so many talented graduate designers. Everyone has been so supportive in the lead up to VAMFF and I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come together on the night.

Your dream collaboration?

I would love to work with Marques Almeida. I love their jumble of volume, colour and texture.

What do you think about the use of animal products in fashion?

As the use of leather is inherently linked to our consumption of meat as a society, I believe there still is a place for it in fashion. Although, as an industry, we should strive towards being as sustainable as we can. 

I believe there are greater issues, with a human cost, plaguing the fashion industry. [These issues] need our attention before we can resolve something as ingrained in our society and history as the consumption of animal products (excluding animals killed purely for their skin).

What’s next for you?

I’m hoping to travel and get the opportunity to pursue fashion overseas. For the time being, I’m working on some bags and earrings for my collection!


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