It’s always inspiring to meet exciting new talent, and Otago fashion graduates, Julia Palm and Andrea Short, are no exception.
I recently caught up with the Dunedin-based designers to talk about showing at Shanghai Fashion Week, and the concepts behind their work.
Julia Palm showed a cohesive collection rooted in punk and fetish-wear, while also taking inspiration from her mother who grew up as a member of the Exclusive Brethren.
Palm’s mother left the Exclusive Brethren at the age of seventeen and had always longed to cut her hair—a notion that challenged tradition.
Her edgy, street-ready collection plays on the theme of ‘cutting’ and features lengths of human hair and goats fur—both serve to reinforce Brethren doctrine, as illustrated in the Darby Bible.
Palm hadn’t thought about the opportunity to show in Shanghai until earlier this year, and says it was a great experience to show her work on such a large scale.
Fellow student, Andrea Short, took an organic approach to design by creating her own fabric—a form of lace made from what she describes as, ‘a corrosive material’.
She then began designing a collection of beautiful dresses inspired by children’s christening gowns (below).
Short’s collection is feminine and fragile—the fabric is so delicate that it can actually disintegrate when worn.
I love her use of Asian models in her lookbook images and she says that the decision came naturally.
“When we traveled to Shanghai we were all using Shanghai models for our editorial photo shoots. I was so happy with the outcome of the images from photographer, Amy Pollitt. The Shanghai models have a very young and delicate appearance, which fitted with my concepts of innocence and passage of time [and] their skin reminds me of soft porcelain, like the dolls I had when I was younger.”
Her experience of traveling to Shanghai went beyond anything she could have imagined. She had her sights set on the Shanghai opportunity at the beginning of her study: “I never thought I’d get the opportunity [so] it’s one of my biggest learning experiences so far,” she says.
Short is sure to make a big impression next March, where she will present at I-D Fashion Week.
Images courtesy of the designers and Otago Polytechnic.
Listen to the story below where I talk to Julia, Andrea and menswear designer Beth Wogan.