Urban Village sat down with Jessica Guzman, Gina Snodgrass and Sarah Lim, three UTS Honours graduates and Sydney’s most exciting emerging designers.
What’s makes your designs unique?
Sarah: I guess my stuff is pretty intuitive. That’s how I work. It’s a mix between drawing and physical draping.
Gina: I’ve realised that I’m not that intuitive as a designer. My designs are more about pattern making and the making process, with lots of tailoring elements.
Jess: My designs are very shape oriented and easy to understand.
What’s the concept behind each of your collections?
Sarah: Initially I wanted to deconstruct and subvert the suit, a symbol of western cultural imperialism, making it empowering for marginalised bodies. Then I decided to use deconstruction as a design tool, as it’s pretty hard to communicate that idea through a garment.
Gina: My collection explores how gender is established through fashion. I looked at dress codes for masculinity and femininity, like trench coats and tailored pants for men, and embroidery, lace and beading for women, and subverted them.
Jess: Moral Panic [my collection] looked at the tension between class cultures in the UK, and the symbols that each class uses to assert their own identity.
What have you learnt from this process?
Sarah: It’s so easy to base your success on external validation, but at the end of the day, if you like what you’ve made that’s what counts.
Gina: Designing is a balance between committing to an idea, but also being open minded because human error happens so you need to be adaptable.
Jess: The new philosophy is if you’ve had a bad day, it could be worse so get over it.
How do you feel now that Honours is done?
Jess: I kind of feel like I have PTSD. I wake up and feel like I should be panicked. I don’t actually think I’ve felt calm since it finished, even though I’m not doing anything.
What’s the next step?
Gina: I’d like to do something really exciting next year, but I’m not sure what. I want to become more skilled and gain experience, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of in a free internship.
Jess: I’m moving to Berlin in April, so I’ll just be working and saving for that. Ideally I would love a job in design, but realistically it’ll probably be graphics or production.
Sarah: I might apply for Masters in New York or Antwerp.
What does the Australian fashion industry look like to a young designer?
Sarah: Bleak. So many people leave because there’s nothing here. Some designers come back and give back, but most of the time young designers just say ‘I’m outta here’ and it stays the same.
Why is fashion relevant?
Sarah: I think it’s very easy to dismiss it, but nobody is walking around naked.
Gina: I can’t imagine how you could put on a piece of clothing for no reason. We work in a space where clothing is very intentional and you’re sending a message if you know it or not.
Jess: There are so many symbols and meanings behind why people choose to wear what they wear. It’s an interesting medium between sociology and art.
For a closer look at the designers and their collections, head to: