Fashion's new class.

Words by

Veronica Stanford

We are beyond excited to be Supporting Partners of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival National Graduate Showcase, Presented by Target. 

As the festival approaches, we’ve been busy getting to know the group of crazy talented design graduates who will be showcasing their work on the runway.

First up is Panayota Theodore from the University of Technology Sydney.

Describe your grad collection in three words:

Effortless denim diva.

What was the most challenging thing about creating your collection?

Editing my ideas and designs. My mind is absolute creative chaos, which is a great energy for my research but when it came to editing the collection, I had to break down the elements and reconfigure them to create a cohesive collection. It was a challenging learning curve!

If you could design an outfit for any person alive or dead, who would it be and what would it look like? 

I would design a crazy printed canadian tuxedo for Notorious B.I.G. It would be oversized with lots of layers, I would embrace his gangsta swag and even team the getup with a matching, printed bucket hat.

What is your favourite song or album to play when working on your designs?

Guilty pleasures are my saving grace when I am designing. I need music that helps me switch off and relax, but it needs to be upbeat so I can stay awake and focused. It's usually RnB babes including Mariah Carey, Destiny’s child, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna.

Is there a designer you aspire to be like or look up to?

I don't aspire to be like any other designer. I just aspire to do my best and be honest to myself as a designer and see where that takes me. I respect all different kinds of designers, from the classic elegance of Valentino to the street style of Marques Almeida. I appreciate their talent and unique vision and would never compare myself to them directly.

Where do you think there is a gap in the fashion market? 

I am a textile-based designer and love all things print. I think currently there is a gap in the market for hand-generated screen printing. It seems that the digital world has taken over the textile market and I think there is a big opportunity for silk screen printing to rise back into fashion. I have always wanted to have my own label and start off small, making screen printed headscarves. They are such a great accessory and can really transform an outfit, especially in evening wear. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

I see myself in the Australian fashion industry. I love the Australian lifestyle too much to be anywhere else. Australia is home! I would like to be in a position where I'm gaining lots of experience working for a company so I can eventually start my own label.

If you weren’t into fashion design, what would you be doing? 

I would be an artist of some sort. My mother was a print making artist and from a young age she taught me how to print in all different ways. I immediately fell in love with it and knew from that point on, I would be an image-maker of some sort.

What fashion trend do you most dislike? 

Gym gear. There's nothing worse than gym leggings and crop tops outside of the gym. If you're not exercising don’t wear it. There are so many better ways to express your self with fashion and style – gym gear is a pathetic attempt.

Favourite fashion moment? 

Carrie from Sex and the City wearing her tulle tutu in the opening credits. It's my favourite outfit in the whole show. It reminds me to always dress and express myself as an individual when it comes to fashion.

What advice you would give to someone wanting to study fashion? 

Be ready to be covered in threads, pins and paint. Studying fashion design has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had but it was really hard work. Friday and Saturday nights were spent at uni sewing, printing or pattern making. My social life was pretty much non-existent for a long time. But as I said, it’s all worth it. There's nothing better than seeing all your hard work pay off in such a unique way. It’s priceless.



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We've come a long way since the old suit and tie.
Exploring the Fashion and Textiles collection.
The one that was held in a carpark.
The one where I outfit repeated.
Presented by Target and Supported by Fashion Journal.
The one where street style steps up.
The one where I tried (and failed) to look effortlessly cool.
A celebration of the strength and diversity of Australia's fashion industry.
Curious Birdy & S.Rush collaboration collection.
NB: some of these lessons were learned the hard way.
Really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
Celebrating bigger and better than ever.
Let us take a moment to reflect on the inspiring week that has been. In GIFs.
VAMFF comes to a close with Romance and Bush Magic.
Converse kicks on the runway? Thumbs up always.
The best part of fashion week.
We really, really wanted to reach out and feel the models (and yes we know how weird that sounds).
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"We looked at Japanese Bosozoku girls, which is an underground subculture of female biker gangs in Japan."
"I guess I feel a bit, not like the underdog, but I am very different to everyone else here."
"Well it was quite interesting last year, the fire alarm was set off by a steamer and we all had to evacuate."
"Not for the fainthearted, but for today's fashionkilla."
'You are never going to see us do the same sort of thing or send the same thing down the runway."
"But this is the pinnacle, the most important award in the country."
Melbourne Fashion Festival off to a fiery start.
Not too busy to visit us Melbourne kids.
The future of Australian fashion is right here...
This is going to make for one jam-packed festival.
TOME, ètre cècile and Martin Grant are coming home for VAMFF.
A inside look into behind the scenes of VAMFF.
A cultural night out for the fashion lover.