From making clothes for her toy trolls to dressing models for the runway, we talked to Zilpah tart designer Yumi Morrisey about FASHFEST 2017 and adding her touch of Canberra to the catwalk.
What has inspired your 2017 FASHFEST collection?
My Spring-Summer 2017 collection, titled ‘Garden Paradise’, was designed using photographs from Floriade I’ve taken over the years. I’ve created three new fabric prints that are very bright and capture the colour and energy of Floriade. They’ll look amazing on the FASHFEST catwalk.
The collection is very feminine, taking on a garden nymph vibe, with some new styles of garments including culottes and a jumpsuit. I’m also designing two show pieces to start and finish the show at FASHFEST which will be show stoppers.
You have been involved with FASHFEST for a few years – has this changed the way you design?
When designing a collection that I’m going to show at FASHFEST, I have to think about how the garments will look on the runway. People watching the show need to be entertained, so it’s important to think about that aspect and the total look, including hair and makeup and accessories. It pushes me to think outside the square a little more. This is my fourth year at FASHFEST and I’ve learned every year.
Do you have a FASHFEST highlight?
My second year at Fashfest was a highlight. It was my first collection featuring Canberra prints, including the Parliament Kaleidoscope print which has been worn by politicians and customers overseas. The response from the catwalk show was fantastic. This really paved the way for my business direction as it is now.
All of my fabric prints are designed from Canberra photos.
How has living in Canberra inspired your designs?
All of my fabric prints are designed from Canberra photos. This is a big part of my business. Canberra is a beautiful place, and there’s so much that I can use to show this through my prints.
I think Canberrans are proud to be here, and they love the Nation’s Capital, so they love the idea of being able to wear that pride and beauty in the form of a garment. This includes prints featuring many of our cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Australia, the National Sound and Film Archives and Questacon, and prints celebrating our major tourism attractions like the Balloon Festival.
What inspired your career in the fashion?
I decided when I was seven years of age that I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I never changed my mind. I used to make outfits for my troll dolls as a child.
Do you have any tips for a young designer looking at entering the industry?
It’s important to know your customer and find out what they want and need on many levels. It’s not just about how the clothes look, it’s about how they’re made and how they’re cared for. Busy women don’t have time for delicate washing instructions or ironing. My customers love originality but also versatility.
Obviously, as a designer, I have to have a strong point of difference. It has to be clear what I offer that others don’t. Something strong that makes customers choose my designs over someone else’s? It’s what makes you stand out as a designer.
Zilpah tart’s collection will be hitting the runway on the final night of FASHFEST. Follow Yumi’s FASHFEST adventure on Instagram @zilpahtart.
FASHFEST 2017 is on 28 to 30 September, with two shows each night at the National Convention Centre. Tickets start at $49 for silver tickets or the full VIP package includes a backstage tour – visit the FASHFEST website for program and ticket information.
Images provided by FASHFEST