Blog

Category
  • JK Couture VIP Night at Morrison Hotel

    Jk Couture VIP Night at The Morrison Hotel was a night to remember. Guests were welcomed into a special function room from 6.30pm. Seats were filled with goodie bags that left me smiling. There were entertainment from a magician, musical acts and platters of savoury and sweet foods. Guests were also spoilt with a full course meal while the musicians entertained everyone. Joanne Hasson's, (the person behind JK Couture) story and motive behind this charity night was based around her mother-in-law's cancer journey and experience, so Joanne decided to hold a charity night for cancer. There were plenty of raffle prizes to win, and I won a $300 Xennox Diamonds giftcard (woohoo!). The program ended at 9.30pm on the dot, and was perfect timing according to the program which was great. I can't wait to go to the next JK Couture's VIP night. They are just so much fun!


    Above: Beautiful styling by Plan and Simple


    Above: The program


    Above: Delicious alcohol-infused cupcakes


    Above: One of the guests, Martha Yuna Lay


    Above: JK Couture dress


    Above: Musical entertainment by Lucy Taylor Music


    Above: Show-stopper


    Above: Martha Yuna Lay and Joanne Hasson

    Photography by Suzanne Dang

  • INTERVIEW with Christie Sutherland || Shop The City Event



    Coming soon this October 5 to Brisbane is the city's hottest shopping party: Shop The City. QueensPlaza, Wintergarden, and The Myer Centre will be joining forces to create a must-attend event in Brisbane on one big night. Here I interview Christie Sutherland - who is Editor, Stylist, Content Curator, Brand Strategist and of course, the person who will be curating the live fashion shows as well. I spend a few minutes asking her some questions about Shop The City event:

    SD: Brisbane’s biggest shopping party is back this year. What’s different and exciting about this year compared to the previous year?

    CS: It is back and I am thrilled to be a part of it! This year Shop BNE City will be centred around a large scale fashion show on the Treasury Brisbane Runway in Queen Street Mall, hosted and curated by myself as Treasury Brisbane's Fashion Ambassador, it is a fantastic partnership to see happening with our cities shopping hub. This year you will see new collections representing QueensPlaza, The Myer Centre and Wintergarden take to the stage all themed to a cosmic romance. And it is without a doubt going to be bigger and better with incredible theming set to launch the festivities under the stars off with a bang!

    Q: Which part of the event are you most excited about?

    CS: It is so hard to pick one knowing how many exciting activations will be lining the Queen Street Mall on October 5 for Shop BNE City... The Treasury Brisbane Runway is no doubt going to be a very exciting moment on the mall with fashion shows and live interviews running every hour on the hour from 10am-8pm, the first taste of the Limited Edition Rose Chandon at Wintergarden and how could I forget the Shop & Pop activation!

    Q: What sort of fashions will we see in the live fashion shows?

    CS: With ten shows throughout the day there will be a range of fashion that will take to the Treasury Brisbane Runway! We will have luxury season must-haves from QueensPlaza, resort essentials setting the summer scene in Brisbane, The Myer Centre with the latest trends, Australian owned designers from Wintergarden on show and we will also be showcasing a spring racing round up making sure track side fashion levels up this year.

    Q: What will you be wearing to this year’s Shop The City Event?

    CS: Think I'll keep that one a secret until the parades are finalised... but I am absolutely in love with Lee Mathews at the moment as well as Cue's fashion revolution, Talulah's First Time collection launch and Tiffany and Co's latest Paper Flowers range is refining the balance of femininity and industrial modernity.

  • Why I Stopped Posting Publicly Suicidal Threats On Social Media



    I remember I used to be really unwell. Like, really unwell. Unwell to the point I would update my status updates on Facebook, "feeling suicidal". I feel looking back, I was partly looking for attention... and on the other hand, I was crying for help. The comments I received when I updated my statuses were a bunch of friends who were worried and asked me if I was ok, and some even specifically said to me to "chin up" which didn't help much to be honest. Of course I did not reply to the messages anymore that I find not helpful. I feel looking back, my status updates were more of passive-aggressive threats. To see who would truly care about me and actually be there for me. Even one friend who I barely spoke to knew where I lived, and almost called an ambulance to my place to see I was okay.

    Looking back, I feel Facebook can be used for certain uses, we see a lot of people only post the "best" part of their lives - photos from holidays, prestigious events, to graduation photos for example. But I am intrigued as to why (and how!) I feel the need to use social media as a cry for help. It's interesting isn't it? And at times, it has bit me back on the butt-side for "oversharing" too much. I guess it's also good to see who your true 'social media' friends are. 

    So I learned that posting suicidal thoughts has its advantages and disadvantages. But I choose to not use it when I am feeling suicidal anymore. I have different ways to cope without using social media.

    Photography by Winston Boon

  • INTERVIEW with MBFF Brisbane Next GEN Designer - Jordan Hewitt


    ABOVE: Photography by Clive Fox Photography

    Jordan Hewitt was created in 2017 by founders Josephine Garner and Marlene Millers helping daughters and granddaughters bring their dream ideas to reality. A big family affair with lots or ideas, opinions and criticism to create the ultimate designs.

    The whole family is very passionate about Australia and being Australian Made.
    Jordan Hewitt Fashion House designs and sews high quality day wear, formal and bridesmaid dresses distributing via retailers Australia wide.

    Josephine Garner has been a business woman her entire life. Her business skills are impeccable for the growth of this business. Marlene Millers built her distribution experience by representing American Formal and Bridal Labels. These days, her passion to be Australian Made and provide beauty with quality is evident, putting her expertise to good use.

    Since launching in December, 2017, Jordan Hewitt already distributes the label to 13 Retailers and growing.

    Jordan Hewitt provides the fastest ordering system for retailers in the industry. We also have a rare National Dress Register for formal events. This means that all stores Australia Wide will contribute to the same Register for Jordan Hewitt. Customers love this! We are making a positive difference in the Australian Retail Market.

    Jordan Hewitt has just been named Finalist for the Australian Business Champions Awards 2018 for the New Business Champion Category. This “Oscars of Small Business” is being held in Sydney 21st April, 2018 at the Star Event Centre.
    Jordan Hewitt has been invited to participate in the prestigious Ekka Fashion Parade 2018. Also, I spend a few minutes with the designers behind Jordan Hewitt, who is also one of the designers for MBFF Brisbane's Next GEN show:

    SD: What was the biggest inspiration behind your latest collection?
    To provide an Australian Made High Quality Product involving the whole family.

    SD: What helps you get in the zone when you’re designing?


    There is nothing better than a few of us throwing new ideas around collectively to produce a flattering design. We egg each other on.


    ABOVE: Photography by Clive Fox Photography
     
    SD: When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?

    I had previous experience representing American designers and service customers for about 10 years so to me it is auto thinking of what they will want a design to do for their body.
     
    SD: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?

    The biggest fear is, “ Is your product going to sell?” Well, it is selling and we could not be happier with the results.
    SD: How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?

    To feel confident
    SD: There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?

    Design to flatter the figure
  • INTERVIEW with MBFF Brisbane Next GEN Designer - Murrii Quu Designs


    ABOVE: Photography by Reeny Jarro

    Murrii Quu Designs offers timeless and fashion-forward pieces for women inspired by everyday beauty. Cheryl Creed, Fashion Designer & Owner of Murrii Quu Designs has refined her own unique styling regarding evening wear for women, and she has developed her label from ideas to realities. I spend a few minutes with Cheryl, who is also one of the designers in MBFF Brisbane’s Next GEN fashion show:

    SD: What was the biggest inspiration behind your latest collection?


    I got inspired from my mother and grandmother, our love of Second-Hand shopping, they would often adding or removing sleeves on blouses, hemming garments to fit. Over the years, I'd collected beautiful dresses that hung in my wardrobe, I'd use them for dress up at family gatherings, taking photos of my family in the hats, gloves, wigs and dresses I'd had.
    An opportunity was given to me, following my second walk on the runway (2016) modelling Indigenous fashion at RIFTS Indigenous fashion show, organised my traditional members of Dawul With Aboriginal Corporation, who simply asked if anyone was interested in becoming a designer and wanted to put a collection together for the (2017) fashion show. I put my hand up and said "yes me" and that's where it all began.

    With no experience, I invested in a sewing machine and an overlock machine, taught myself to use the machines and began creating designs, I eventually bought on board a professional tailor because I needed quality finish. 
     
    SD: What helps you get in the zone when you’re designing?
    Am I influenced by the broader trends, well no, but perhaps yes, I like my style to reflect feminine modesty, many styles today encourage women to show a lot of skin, their concept of less is more gives the wrong perception of a woman's personality, I want to bring back the lady, the sophisticated lady, but not have her completely covered, my gowns are tasteful, their off the shoulders look not revealing breasts, there's no plunging backs that show the top of a women's backside, the splits stop at the top of a women's knee instead of up to her groin or waist, so yes I gust I am inspired by current trends but in the opposite direction. My label is all about drawing on the woman's natural or individual beauty, adding drama from my style, while maintaining feminine etiquette.
     
    SD: When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?

    My designs are influenced by the garment I find on my treasure hunt in the Second-Hand shops, I look for quality, vintage fabric and materials, I immediately invision what I can do with it, looking at the seems to see if they can be restichted, pulled apart, I am inspired by the material, I recently fell in love with velvet, I love all the sheer fabrics, and each gown is different, no two gowns are the same, they are exclusive one off gowns, this is something I can give to our women, they are assured that they are purchasing a one off, and won't experience the embarrassment of going to an event and seeing another woman in the same gown, they can never be compared "who wore it better", no woman wants that. But the can feel proud that there is another woman wearing Murrii Quu Designs by Aboriginal Fashion Stylist.
     
    SD: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?

    I was encouraged by a dear friend, mbff advertised on fb for designs to submit an application, my application was accepted with strong support, I was told and I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I had a smile from ear to ear, I wanted to tell the world, I'm sure my family and friends got sick of me talking about it all the time, I was over the moon, it was definitely a goosebumps moment finding out that my label in just under 12 months was going to grace the runway at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion, I wasn't expecting it. 

    ABOVE: Photography by Pbhstudio
     
    5) How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?

    I have 8 gowns for the runway, each one is a favourite, because each us different from the other and I really can't pick a favourite, I love them all and I can't wait to see them on the models, so far I've only seen them on a mannequin.
     
    SD: There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?

    If I had any advice to give, it would be to don't over think your incapabilities, follow your passion, fight for you dream, keep focused and don't let anyone deter you, struggle is a part of everything, making mistakes is part of learning and perfecting your craft, 
    I've been questioned and ribbed that my gowns are second hand, and I say no they are not, I incorporate discarded material that this has quality in them, I'm conscience about our planet and the negative impact we are doing to it, my brand is a responsible brand, I'm helping to look after our planet. 
    I am an Aboriginal woman whose parent and grandparents who were once denied the opportunity to dream, through the my label I'm giving them the opportunity to have that dream by seeing me do what I love, and I'm grateful for all the opportunities given to me to enable me to do just that, it's a bit if an honor to be a part of something more 

    I'm a woman who walks to the beat of my own drum, I don't follow trends, I don't have a target audience, I creative what I love , my fashion is for women who want something, different, dramatic, exclusive and draws on her individual beauty . 

    My last words:
    "Dream Big Aim High And Touch The Sky."
  • My Confidence Didn't Happen Overnight


    My confidence didn't happen overnight. As a teenager, like any other, I was trying to find myself and I got lost in the midst of it all. It didn't help that I was good at masking my feelings and emotions. I never shared to people when I was feeling down when I was younger, as I thought it was a weakness. But no - it wasn't that I was weak, but instead, I was strong for far too long.

    Looking back at my first episode of Depression, I was ready to end my life but something didn't seem right. I knew something from my gut feeling that I was doing the wrong thing. So I didn't completed suicide when I was 14 - instead I found hope, and confidence in my recovery till now and each day I hone those coping mechanisms I have made for myself. And of course without the help of family, friends, certain doctors and nurses and other mental health professionals too, I wouldn't be where I am today.

    I believe I am confident the way I am these days cause of my triumphs and mistakes I made as a person. Without it, I wouldn't be able to discover myself like this to this very day.

  • My Weight Loss and Gain Journey pt II


    In reality, I could never be fully happy and satisfied with my body shape and size. When I was "skinny", I would want to eat more and so I can gain weight. This was before I started on antidepressants - I had a really thin physique before I hit 19 -  one of the time I had my first bunch of mental health breakdowns and learnt about Depression and all these mental health illnesses.

    And when I was considered "big" I wanted to be the opposite. It was a neverending battle with myself for the "perfect" body - when really, there is no such thing as the perfect body - only more like perfectly imperfect, right?

    Each day I try to tell myself I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am gorgeous just the way I am (I even wrote and painted these positive affirmations!) - it's not healthy to self-sabotage myself with negative self-talk. Self-talk is just as important as anything but. No matter how much curves I gain or lose, the most important part is to love myself and body as who I am. Love myself for my flaws, and accept the changes as it comes.

  • Dear Psychiatrists, I Wonder If I Still Have Schizophrenia


    Dear Psychiatrists,

    I wonder if I still have schizophrenia.

    I hear voices at times, and I at times hallucinate. See things that aren't there, feel things that may be a 'figment of my imagination'. Or is it just another diagnosis there for me to take medications? Whether I  have been diagnosed with Bipolar or Schizophrenia, I feel some symptoms can overlap in some places. I have been taking medications for almost a decade now. I am a little tired of medications at most points in my life, but I feel now I have the right combination of medications at least.

    I haven't had such a good 6-months-period for so long. This year has been a good year for me, another year of me discovering myself. From discovering my love for art, to changing my diet and exercising almost every day. I wonder if life can get any better than this, cause at the moment everything seems like smooth-sailing and I don't want to fall into a downward of spiral and depression with no control whatsoever.

    I believe I have the right set of coping mechanisms for everything now. I learn about DBT and the skills I could use to deal with the difficult, emotional turmoils that I sometimes have. 

    So I wonder if I still have schizophrenia.

    Cause everything/life seems to be so good right now.

  • 5 Important Things I Learnt At Rehab


    1. Medication Management -

    I learnt the importance of medications and I get educated by doctors and nurses on how having them to help me. I feel like I have tried every single antidepressant and antipsychotic so far, including valium. If I wanted to have a medication withdrawal, this would be the 'best' place to have it I reckon, cause there is support and the doctors and nurses work really hard to be on the same page as me.

    2. Exercising -

    I know this a cliche one, but I have never exercised so much in my lifetime until since coming here for six months now. I feel motivated and I never found exercise was fun until I came here to this mental health rehab. I find it challenging too, in a good way. I never knew I enjoyed doing so many squats!

    3. Reaching Out To My Support Network -

    During the time here at rehab, I must remember this place is only temporary, I won't be staying here all my life, and I need to reach out to the community ultimately for support. I have friends and family who I can reach out for support. It's just important to connect to my friends and family and let them know how I'm going with everything.

    4. Finding New Coping Mechanisms -

    That includes diamond painting (new form of visual art I discovered - it's so much fun!), using my DBT skills for stressful and distressing situations, and also reaching out to my support network. Also importantly, building the trust between my support worker and myself is just as important as reaching out to friends. When I get emotional and feeling distressed, the main person I contact are the nurses here. 

    5. My Safety Plan -

    My safety plan is basically...my safety plan! Self-explanatory...I reach out and look at my safety plan to remind me during distressful situations on what I should do and the step-to-step process I should take to minimize any self-harm and people I can contact if I was running in trouble. I learnt to make this safety plan while being here at this mental health rehabilitation. It's a valuable tool.

  • My First 6 Months At A Mental Health Rehabilitation Place



    I have learnt to have a Safety Plan which includes to see what are my warning signs and symptoms when things 'get out of whack'. Also steps to take when I am feeling distressed. Living in a self-contained one bedroom unit has taught me a lot of things. Things like recognising when you're feeling your symptoms are getting too much of you and you need to contact the nursing staff for help. I go to the exercise programs here, and they really work you hard. I have learnt to enjoy it actually. So far I enjoy the 24/7 hour support and learning to be an independent person like how to do budgeting, learning about healthy food cycles and diet, cooking classes, every week. My favourite part (or one of them) is doing art at the rehab place. There are HEAPS of things to do in my mental health recovery, and this place has given me so many options to help with that. I am so so grateful to have this sort of support.

    What one special thing I enjoy the most out of this place is meeting others who have mental illness/s like me and learning about their story and getting to know them. Some have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety, OCD etc. Every one is at a different stage of their recovery from me and there's no such thing of "Who's better?" and comparing their skillsets to mine. I respect everyone is at a different place in their recovery than mine. I have made some wonderful friends here, and some of them are the most beautiful people before I've ever met. And I don't mean 'beautiful' by exterior kind.