fashion / interview

Interview: Emma Mulholland

Get ready to be hit in the face by this fresh faced graduate’s Spring/Summer collection.This is what happens when unicorns explode.

Interview by Emma Do

What’s the response been like to your work shown at The New Innovators show during RAFW?

So far so good! It’s been a bit of a come down after the excitement of the show. But its been great hearing some nice feedback from the press and friends and family.

Tell me a little about your SS11 collection.
Titled ‘Queen Aurelia’ it was a continuation of my graduation collection which was based on 80s and 90s surf wear. I took the surfer on the road and found inspiration from places they would go and things they might see; like a surfing safari. These themes where seen throughout the prints and embellishments and also the styling of the collection.

Do you make all the shoes and accessories shown as well?
Yes, the shoes were made for my grad collection last year with my friend Pauly and this year when I went to Bali I bought a lot of things to make my accessories out of.

What’s the story behind your prints? How did they come about?
I decided a few weeks before the show that I really wanted to do new digital prints. The prints could have been really bad until my friend Jesse Correy came onboard and turned them into something amazing.  We sat down together and I rattled off about a zillion different ideas and sent him heaps of different pics of different animals and things and then he came up with the two designs. Think Positive managed to do all my digital printing in a week too, which was amazing.

What drove you to base your grad collection on 80’s/90’s surf culture?
In our time at TAFE we are given different briefs that we have to base our major projects (individuals) on. After getting a couple of shockers I was really excited I finally got to do exactly what I wanted for once, and seeing as I always have loved surf culture and colour I thought it would be a lot of fun to base it around that (or maybe I just wanted a good excuse to go to Bali for inspiration).

What was it like interning with Dion Lee and Romance Was Born? What would you say were the defining lessons you got from your time with them?
It was great and I owe a lot of my knowledge about the fashion industry to Dion, Luke and Anna. I always loved doing work experience- way funner than sitting in a class room!  Being such opposite labels aesthetically I learnt different things from both of them, but I learnt the importance of organisation and also how much work and time goes into having your own fashion label. They are the busiest and hardest workers I know!

So you’re Ksubi’s go to girl for shredding and customizing- how did you score that gig?
Ksubi was looking for someone to start up the atelier in their new Paddington store and myself and my friend Pauly were put up for the job. Pauly is the main go to guy there at the moment and he is doing an awesome job. I still get to go in there and work a few days a week and we have a lot of fun shredding up denim and tie dyeing stuff.

Is where you live a big influence on your work?
I live in Surry Hills at the moment, and a lot my friends work in the fashion industry so I guess I have been influenced by them. There is kind of a fashion precinct in Surry hills and a lot of the fabric stores and makers are around here as well. It’s convenient and I also get my work out trekking around to all the different places!

RAFW got panned for being “unoriginal” and too “inspired by recent collections done overseas”. What do you make of this and what do you think young Australian designers in particular have to offer?
It must be hard for Australian designers to have this thrown at them after working so hard on their collections. I think we are seeing some really original things coming out of here and I hope I am a part of that. It’s hard for commercial labels as a lot of customers want to be in fashion and that comes from overseas so I imagine it’s pretty tricky. I guess everyone just needs to find a good balance- it would be great if the Aussie customer had a bit of an attitude change too.�