Blog

Interview
  • 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.

  • 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 Interview with SBS Vietnamese (English Translation)


    Original Article

    1. Your growing up journey in Australia as a Vietnamese second generation in Australia?

    Growing up in Australia and of Vietnamese background, I always believed in always connecting with your roots and heritage. My grandparents raised me after my parents divorced and they played a huge role in keeping my cultural identity. Although I did not have many Vietnamese friends when I was younger, I believed with the help of my grandparents, I got to learn about the values, morals and beliefs of a Vietnamese person, as well as the language. I learnt the importance of family, and the value of working my hardest and to never give up. Australia has such a vast variety of cultures, being a multi-cultural nation, I also got a glimpse into the food and culture presented in the Vietnamese cultural events in Australia too.

    2. Your profession (your study major)?

    On my third year of a Bachelor of Nursing, I was excluded from nursing for academic reasons in 2010. I felt this was one of my biggest traumatic failures in life, and although I couldn’t graduate, I did instead try to find employment to have a sense of belonging in the community. I miraculously found a job and worked as a nurse assistant specifically for people with spinal cord injuries for three years, and didn’t really enjoy that too, so I left. Although I haven’t had much luck with my tertiary studies and employment, I still love the idea of studying and making education a top priority in my life, as I believe in life-long learning. I have had the pleasure to take glimpses and enrolled into other tertiary studies such as; Fashion Design, Photography and Sociology too.

    3. Why do you choose to work in the mental health field?

    I never planned to be an advocate for mental health, it was always meant to be with the grace of God, and one of God’s miraculous plans for the greater good that despite through all the pain of my academic failures in life, I am able to achieve something and help others through the power of story-telling. Although being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I, I have suffered a lot of pain, not just mentally, but emotionally too, but only through the strength of God, I can have an interest in mental health, because being in the mental health ward for almost eight times now, I have seen people from different spectrums of life and I want to see what I can do to help them through my suffering too, give them hope that they can recover from mental health issues. I believe people with mental illnesses can recover too, and I just want to set an example.

    4. Why do you choose social media platforms to promote your work?

    At first, it was more of a cry for help. I began using social media as a cry for help in sharing my stories to others and I use it to give myself a voice for those who don’t have one. From then on, I expanded out using the platforms to share safe mental health information, especially on my blog, cause not all mental health information is safe and effective to help others online.

    5. Working as a mental health advocate, what are the common mental health symptoms you have often faced with, especially for young people?

    I am no doctor or mental health professional, but young people have so many pressures from life these days, I have met young people in the mental health ward who are as highly functional as me, and because their symptoms get in the way, I think they are unable to recognise it soon enough and get the help they need. Something as little as getting out of bed can be the hardest thing for a young person to do, not getting enough sleep, and disconnecting with their social circles are some of the things I noticed.

    6. You're also a fashion, beauty blogger. Are there any links between fashion, beauty and mental health in your work?

    Again, I did not set out to be a blogger of very different interests, especially in being a mental health blogger. I think it’s important to always be open-minded to different things in life, and take what you need from it, and turn it into how you can help others. When I attend fashion events, I always introduce myself as a mental health and fashion blogger, emphasising on the mental health part and also say that through my journey of Bipolar I hope to give hope and light to those who are suffering from something similar.

    7. Working in the mental health field, have you ever feel stressful?

    Yes, of course. I attended a youth mental health workshop one time, and I ended up feeling so stressed that I ended up in the mental health ward a few days later. But I received a lot of support during and after the workshop, plus many follow-up calls and messages from the youth mental health organisation which was great. I learnt a lot from that experience, I learnt it’s not about how much strength you can muster up to work or volunteer in mental health, but more about knowing yourself and recognising your triggers when things go sour (for example I called the Mental Health Department at hospital and Lifeline that I needed help). It’s about taking baby steps to getting the help you need.

    8. I heard that you were nominated for Best Bupa Blog Awards? Also you were invited for a role of 'Conference Consultant' at the 12th Biennial Asia Pacific International Mental Health Conference. Can you talk more about this?

    I am blessed to have the opportunities and finding different ways of getting my work out there. I was nominated for the BUPA Blog Award “Health” category, and the conference was my first time accepting the role as a ‘Conference Consultant’, but unfortunately I could not attend the three-day event for health issues, and being in the hospital. I just helped with sharing information about the conference through the use of my social media platforms though, that’s all.

    9. Do you have any plan for the near future? (For example expand your work)

    I plan on recovering to the fullest. I want to heal from my mental health issues, and although I am better, I feel there’s always room for self-improvement. Learning to practice self-compassion, self-love, self-gratitude; and taking small steps in life every day, and taking it easy.

  • INTERVIEW with Miss World National Finalist 2015 Jessica Laughton Smith


    Above: Photography by Elizabeth Grinter

    Jessica Laughton Smith is a model of all different types, actress and National Finalist of Miss World Pageant 2015. She loves fashion, enjoy keeping an active and healthy lifestyle and will be representing Queensland for Miss World 2015. I spend a few minutes interviewing this gorgeous and talented young lady:

    SD: So Jessica, what made you decide to join the Miss World Pageant?

    This is my second year competing for Missworld Australia. I competed last year on a whim after seeing it online and thinking "why not?". The journey to national finals last year was not easy and it took an incredible amount of hard work getting there but once I was there, I felt like I had found my place. I learnt so much from Peter Sereno (owner of Dear Pageant Girl) who coached us all and I felt like it would have been a waste of the new knowledge I gained to not come back. Miss World is an incredible system that supports women and gives them a platform to give back to the community. My goal in coming back for 2015 is to take home the title of Missworld Queensland and revamp pageantry at a state level. I want to help create a program here in Queensland that aims to inspire next years girls to work hard both within the community and within themselves. 

    SD: If you could describe three positive words about yourself, what would they be?

    I'm ambitious, creative and happy!

    SD: Who is your biggest inspiration in your life at the moment, and why?

    My biggest inspiration in my life will always be my mum. She passed away a few years ago from cancer and making her proud is my motivation for all that I do.

    SD: You mentioned in your public figure Facebook profile that you do modelling, and so what is your favourite part of modelling?

    I firstly consider myself an actress, so modelling for me is an extension of that. I love getting into a character for a shoot and working with a team of creative people to create a beautiful set of images. I haven't always been a confident person, but modelling has helped me learn to love the skin I'm in. 

     

    SD: If you could give just one inspirational or/and positive quote, what quote would you give to future pageant participants?

    Don't get too caught up in the competition. At the end of the day, only one girl can be Missworld Australia but if you use the opportunity correctly, you can come away with new friendships, experiences and skills that will be with you forever. 

    Jessica's social media presence:

    Starnow: http://www.starnow.com.au/jessicalaughtonsmith1

    Facebook Public Figure:
    https://www.facebook.com/Jessicalaughtonsmithactor?fref=ts

    IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6897315/

    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Youtubinwithjess

  • Interview with HANA in conjunction with MBFF Brisbane 2015

    I am very excited to do this interview with HANA as I was lucky enough to have witnessed her beautiful designs showcas at FASHFEST Canberra 2015. I am a big fan of her work and efforts. They are amazing designs with a touch of Persian to them. It is also Neda Alemohammad's (the designer) first time to showcase at MBFF Brisbane 2015 this year in August. I spend a few minutes with Neda interviewing her for the upcoming big Brisbane fashion event.

     SD: Neda, who and what inspires you the most in making your designs?

    I immigrated from Iran to Australia around one and half year ago and I was exposed to the pure nature of Australia. My inspiration comes from Australian nature and I integrated it with my Persian background and that's why I named my collection "Immigration" as it gives my first impression of this country.

    SD: Where did you study to pursue your dream?

    I studied IT, however I was always interested in art. I took part in some fashion courses in Canberra and I will continue it in the future. What I believe is that I need always to learn new things, as each learning gives me more passion and inspiration to create a new design.

    SD: Does fashion design run in your family?

    If so, tell me about it more. No not at all. Fashion is not very open and wide in Iran as women are dictated by government what to wear, however in recent years there are a lot of designers who try to make this obligation a bit more tolerable by making it more colourful and fashionable. I have been a fashion designer in Iran since 2007.

    SD: What should be expected differently from the collection for Fashfest Canberra 2015 to MBFF Brisbane 2015?

    I will showcase some of the collection of Fashfest but I will also add some new designs.

    SD: What are some of your short term and long term goals for your fashion design career?

    My short term goals are to learn as much as I can and improve my knowledge and business. I hope I can make myself know to Australian people by making ethical Australian made garments. My long term goal is to be an international designer.



    Above: A snippet of HANA designs at FASHFEST Canberra 2015. Photography and videography and editing by Suzanne Dang

     Find out more about HANA through these links:

    Facebook
    Instagram
    Website

    Also buy your tickets to watch HANA latest collection at MBFF Brisbane this year in the NEXT Hotel Next Gen Group Show too! I will certainly be there! :)