Melbourne Fashion Festival!
Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival: Done!
Can't believe we made it!
This week I launched my wearable art 'Heidi' fashion label at the Lush Terrain Eco Fashion show as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival. All the pieces are 100% printed with my original artworks and seeing them all together as a collection was such a thrill. And what a journey these last three months have been, getting us to this point.
Just three months ago I really had NO idea I would be here at VAMFF. I was homeschooling my kids and had only just finished exhibiting my artwork collection in Singapore (inspired by my travels with the children around Asia). I had a big pile of paintings, and a many-years-old idea to begin creating textiles, swimwear and accessories out of my art....one day.... But I hadn't designed or made anything. I had a plan, but no idea how I would do it. Especially with three kids at home!
I also (just to make it all harder) had a vision to manufacture ethically: fair trade, Eco-friendly and only using non-toxic, recycled or biodegradable materials. I had made a commitment to myself that I would only start manufacturing my art into prints if I could tick all these boxes, which, yes, has been a challenge - but seriously I had NO IDEA how far (or how rapidly) this idea would progress in only 3 months.
And how many people would get on board with me.
Two weeks into creating a few samples of my textiles, my husband Pete got behind the dream, and gifted me a trip away for my 35th birthday, to go investigate Eco manufacturing possibilities for my maybe-one-day label. This was pretty much exactly 3 months ago.
Whilst I was on that trip, shopping my pieces around, a kimono was spotted by one of the Eco-fashion show organisers for Melbourne Fashion Festival and I was asked if I would like to showcase a full runway collection at VAMFF (!!!) Simultaneously my kids were accepted into a wonderful school in Bali (which meant I wouldn't be teaching my kids for a few months, and lined me up for kid-free days to work on creating samples). Oh and flights to Melbourne went on sale for $120! I couldn't believe this unheard-of opportunity (all of them, especially the flight sale!) I also couldn't fathom how in the world I would create a whole fashion collection in three months. This was something I had imagined spending several years kick-starting. But pragmatics have never stopped me before.... and I realised I really had to answer the universe with a YEP, why NOT, let's frigging DO THIS.
Three months later: here I am with a full range of designed samples in swimwear, jewellery, purses, silk dresses and kimonos, all created out of my hand painted artworks, printed onto Italian woven recycled nylon (made from ocean plastics), metal recycled from old coins, and silk created using certified non-toxic production methods. All biodegradable, recycled or non toxic, and made using fair trade principles. And the pieces represent my art so well, I feel just chuffed to think I managed to do it all!!
Equally I feel so thankful to the many people who have ENABLED me to get here.
From Olinda to Byron bay, Brisbane to Sydney, Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore, so many of you have gotten behind me and either volunteered your time, or done me favours, or worked with me to shoot my pieces and find the right craftspeople. Quite a few of you have travelled overseas to be with me on this journey over the last three months. Some of you have translated for me. Or picked my kids up. Or delivered me meals. Or minded my kids. And my many encouraging and supportive friends in fashion, have been insanely invaluable at critiquing my work, offering advice and answering my millions of questions. I've had fashion photographers, modelling agencies, models, and other designers, all taking time to either get involved, or to mentor me. You've all gotten behind me and supported me so much the last three months, my mind is actually blown by the encouragement and messages and ways in which you've all stood behind me in chasing my dream.
I guess what I want to say is, you know, it's really easy to believe in and support people who are already successful. There's no glory in that.
It's much harder - it takes a LOT more faith and guts, to get behind a stay at home mum who doesn't have any proof to her dreams. When you've been working around kids and husband, making sacrifices and putting your career 2nd or 3rd or 5th for the last decade and a half, fitting it all into the gaps around being a mum/wife - it's much harder for people to take the leap and see the work that has been done and the skills that are there, hidden under piles of dishes and noisy children.
But lots of you have done exactly that.
You've believed in me and supported me anyway, you've seen what I'm doing and completely jumped on board to get excited and back me up in my art - and I can't thank you all enough. Without your support I wouldn't be here.
Life is never easy and the last three months hasn't been. But it has been amazing to be surrounded by such a wide, eclectic network of supporters, and I'm so thrilled to be here at VAMFF, and thrilled to have had you all with me along this crazy journey to create art and find beauty in life. Because that's why I'm doing it. That's why I'm here. I want to create beauty, and I want to share it with others. Beauty keeps the world going around.
Can't wait to set up pre-sales on my pieces, going online in the next few weeks. If you want to support what I'm doing in a practical way, please pre-purchase one of my pieces once I set up my site.
Thank you all xxx
IMAGES (from top)
Model Emma Hollingsworth @dirtybass
Photographer Chris Tovo @christopher_tovo
Official Event images and model shots from Lush Terrain by @theexample.au