Home' In The City : In The City - Autumn 5.11 Contents 39
Monday February 28, 2011
When Sara Wurcker
launched her fashion label
showed a level of maturity
that belied the experience of a graduate
fresh out of CIT fashion school.
She says like any city, Canberra
presents its own challenges to budding
“You really have to keep motivated
and keep that momentum going, which
is sometimes a challenge for a young
designer who may have a full time job
or other commitments,” she says.
“For example, I’m sourcing fabrics,
not buying in bulk and making one-of-
a-kind items, so there have been a few
times in the past year when things have
been selling well and I haven’t been able
to keep up because of work and other
But in spite of the challenges she says
young locals can succeed, citing Luke
Chiswell (Luuk) and Amelia Thompson
(Grazed Youth) as having penetrated the
industry but admits she has a long way
to go herself. The secret, she thinks, is
“Other designers I know who I
think are successful are always really
confident in their products,”
Despite her modesty, pieces by
Braddon fashion boutique itrip iskip and
the racks of the Gorman House markets
whenever in stock.
“That’s the thing about Canberra,”
“In other cities, there’s going to be
a hundred other people doing exactly
what you’re doing... I think with
Canberra the main thing is that it’s a
good place to start. The difference here
is, people really love anyone doing
“While there’s no ‘fashion industry’
here per se, what is happening is a kind
of unity between local designers. In
supporting each others’ launches and
collaborating on projects, we’ve created
this little sub-community.”
Sara is currently occupied with the
design of her own website and the
release of her latest collection.
“I’ve always liked the idea of natural
beauty and femininity and sensuality,
but not to overdo it,” she says.
“It’s subtle but it’s there. But my new
collection is going to be a little more
Amelia Huang turns the pre-
loved into the re-loved through
her jewellery label Millicent
Russell, but says venturing her
first collection into Sydney Fashion Week
was the “worst choice ever”.
“I had my designs ready and I just
sort of thought ‘I’ll see how it goes’,”
“I should have had five other
collections ready because the minute I
got there, the demand was insane.”
While the struggling artists of the
world lament the challenges of making
a living from their art, it seems Amelia
Huang tumbled into success with her
label, which centres on authentic vintage
jewellery refashioned with modern
twists. Her success at Sydney Fashion
Week was the beginning of her foray into
the national arena and she now stocks in
stores across Victoria, Western Australia
and New South Wales.
It all started here.
“I went around to all the stockist
boutiques in Canberra and I asked to see
if they were interested in selling some
of my pieces and one of the ladies said
‘yes, very interested’, took them on as
consignment and they all sold,” she says.
She attributes her success to the
identification of a gap in the market for
unique pieces – but at the same time,
this gave birth to challenges.
“The first year started off really, really
well. I had a lot of interest and I couldn’t
actually keep up with demand because
I didn’t have enough time to source
pieces,” she said.
“I guess that’s the big thing about
being one of a kind – I had people from
stores in Melbourne asking for six of
each piece of my collection for all of
their stores. Unfortunately I can’t do
that. I was faced with the decision at
the time, and I could’ve gone that way
– but that’s not really what my brand is
It ties into Amelia’s advice for budding
local designers: deliver on your word.
“If you say you’re going to do
something, you have to do it,” she said.
“It’s such a fast paced game – people
expect things right there and then
and if you say you can, be sure you
can, otherwise you burn bridges. This
industry is so come and go. To stay
in you really have to be on top of the
Millicent Russell is stocked in itrip
iskip, Braddon. For more information
on the latest collection, visit
Amelia Huang stocks at itrip iskip, Braddon.
collection will be
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