Life changing.

Words by

Amber De Luca-Tao

Pageant is everything we love in a fashion label. The Australian brand is the epitome of strong, powerful, individual fashion and is run by #girlboss duo, Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds. 

The girls have a wealth of experience within the industry, having designed for iconic labels including Christopher Shannon, Christopher Kane and Perks and Mini (P.A.M). If you’re not already part of the cult following, you may want to get on board.

Last year, the brand nabbed the 2015 Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, attracting enormous attention from the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, i-D mag, FJ (of course) and more. It led to the label showing at Jakarta Fashion Week and being stocked in New York.

So it’s no surprise that world domination is clearly on the Pageant to-do list (and looking pretty achievable too). 

Last week saw the girls showcase their latest collection, Fervour, at the Inhabit Style Hub at Westfield Doncaster. They also shared their collab with Melbourne sweetheart, Banoffee, on the VAMFF runway.  

We had a chat to Kate to find out where the ladies are going from here.

What have you been up to since winning the National Designer Award last year?

After we won the award, we produced the Splash collection and widened the amount of styles that we produced, with swimwear. For us, swimwear has been very successful.

We then showed at Jakarta Fashion Week in October. We presented our first transeasonal collection, called Fervour. We decided to do a collection that was for both hemispheres – Southern Hemisphere AW16 and Northern Hemisphere SF16, ranging from swimwear to coats.

We then started stocking in a store called Escalia, which is based in Jakarta and Bali. It’s our first proper entry into the Asian market.

After winning the award, brand awareness has gotten a lot stronger. A lot of different people know about us now. This has given us the confidence to really focus on what we’re doing. When you win the award it’s basically getting validation from the industry. It’s such a hard industry to be a part of, so the best thing about winning the award is definitely the recognition. Especially because of all the hard work. Everyone in the fashion industry works so hard.

At the moment our mission is to position ourselves as a global brand, hence doing our transeasonal collections, every season. We want to cater to the world, rather than just the Southern Hemisphere.

You guys have attracted an enormous amount of international attention. Does it excite you to know that your garments are having a global reach?

Yeah it’s kind of cool. When we were in New York, I feel like the brand was better known there because we were stocked at a store. When we met people, they seemed to know about our brand. We feel like New York is a good place for us to potentially do something in the future. That made me feel really excited. 

We have both lived and worked in London. So we felt like the energy of the brand was more associated with London, but now we feel like it’s more in sync with New York. It actually surprised me but I like that.

Tell us about your collab with Banoffee.

Our Banoffee x Pageant collection launched [last week] at VAMFF. 

When we do collabs, we want to capture the spirit of the people that we’re working with. So with Banoffee, it was really about working with her very closely, making sure she was involved in every stage of the process. We looked at what Banoffee means, what Pageant means and how they come together. Whatever we do, we just like to make sure it’s authentic. That’s the only way we like to work.

Do you guys have any specific collabs in mind for the future?

We’ve got a few that are secret and in the works, and we’ve got a few dream collaborators we’d like to work with. For now, we just want to keep them quiet.

We’ve also got a few special projects in the works for this year. Hopefully [we’ll be] going from strength to strength with the collections and lots of collabs.

Where did you find inspiration for Fervour?

[The collecton] is based on looking back at our mothers and the women in our families who experienced second wave feminism in the ’70s. It also kind of relates to a third wave of feminism that’s happening now, through social media and things like that. So we wanted to capture the spirit of what’s happening now but also reference what was happening in the '70s.

It was a time when [women] were the first females to go to uni and things like that... So from this we decided to focus on retro-futurism, something that was kind of forward, looking towards the future but also referencing retro elements. 

We looked at things like a flower motif and what that meant, and then mixed it back with what Pageant is. There’s a lot of interesting fabrics we use that look like ’70s furnishing fabrics. There’s a floral which kind of looks like a couch, but not at the same time.

We like to make sure our lines make sense; they’re authentic and an extension of ourselves. Obviously, each collection partly explains how we feel at that point in time and also reflects what we’re interested in.

We’re really open to be inspired by anything. It just depends on the point in time in which we’re designing. Sometimes it’s really random.

If you could style any celebrity in Pageant, who would you pick and why?

We’ve always been obsessed with Rihanna. I would probably put her in something see-through with no bra. Probably in one of our pieces from our latest collection which is made out of mermaid fabric. It’s really silky and shiny.

The Westfield Doncaster InHabit StyleHub gives local brands (like Pageant) the opportunity to showcase their collection in a major retail setting. 

You can currently catch Nobody Denim in the space until April 17.


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