At the recent Face Fashion Event in Melbourne, I caught up with the incredibly talented Sydney-based designer, Olivia Johnston of Mox Label. We discussed her new collection, drawing inspiration from criminology and making the big move to the fashion capital of the world, Paris!
Scroll down to read my interview with emerging Australian fashion designer Olivia Johnston of Mox Label.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I have always lived in Sydney, Australia. I just completed my Bachelor Degree in Fashion Design in 2016, and Mox Label was created and showcased as my graduating collection. My main passion has always been the theory/research and design behind collections and garments.
What inspired you for your first Mox Label collection? Has living in Sydney influenced your design and aesthetic?
For my first collection, I drew inspiration from Criminology, a subject I have always been intrigued with. As Sydney is and always has been home to me, unfortunately I don’t use it as a form of inspiration as I know it like the back of my hand. Where as when I was doing research for my collection, I fell in love with learning more and more. The Mox Label collection is solely based on killers and their personalities, how they were portrayed in the media and their intent.
What advice would you give to those wanting a career in fashion?
One main piece of advice I could give to someone who wants to start a career in fashion, is expect to be knocked down. It is a very opinionated industry. Learn to laugh it off! It is one of the hardest things to do, as we “creatives” put blood, sweat and tears into everything we do. Remember to take opinions on board. But, remember that you don’t always have to make garments/pieces that people like, just consider it your edge.
How important do you think it is to build relationships in the fashion industry?
It is absolutely crucial! The fact is (in my opinion) your designs/collections or pieces could be the best in the world, but unfortunately without any way of networking it is a very hard industry to get in to. It is not only helpful but even cost effective to have connections and relationships as it can affect every part of your business/label. From PR/social media, pattern-making, fabric sourcing, all these factors can go from big obstacles to little hurdles when you have someone who has done everything before, who can recommend and guide you.
What do you believe is one of the biggest challenges for emerging fashion designers? What has been one of your biggest challenges?
To be honest there are so many challenges for new emerging designers- competition, money, outsourcing, marketing and media – are all huge factors that can make or break a label.
Critic’s and criticism has always been one of my biggest challenges to overcome. But in the long run, you come out a bigger and better person. I’ve learnt that if you can detach yourself from comments and take them professionally instead of personally it makes it so much easier to stay motivated. Keep your eyes on what important! Every comment that you hear helps in a way to shape and change how you want to view yourself. Taking a step back and attempting to see what others see can actually hugely help in the long run.
What does one of your typical workdays involve?
As I have just produced my first collection for Mox Label, I am only making made-to-wear garments. I did a lot of work in the industry to gain experience last year. However, now I work as a host in hospitality to save money to fund my collections. As an emerging designer unfortunately it can’t all be glamorous!
What’s your favourite way to wind down at the end of the day?
A glass of chardonnay and a good movie (if I have time). My favourite to watch are physiological thrillers like ‘Split’ which just came out. I realise it may seem like the opposite of winding down to some people, it works for me.
You mentioned that you were recently accepted into Parsons in Paris, congratulations! What excites you most about moving to Paris?
Parsons is a university I have had my eye on since I was little. I also fell in love with the city in January this year. So when I found out that there was a Paris campus it was almost too good to be true and I applied straight away.
I guess I’m mostly excited for a change! Living in a different world essentially, a new culture and way of life. I am especially looking forward to being in a city that is extremely up-to-date in terms of fashion style and designer collections. As I’ve always lived in Sydney, it is a huge jump out of my comfort zone!
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