Thursday, 7 May 2015

FASHFEST Special: Q&A with Corr Blimey

Where to start with Corr Blimey?
I have a major soft spot with the label lead by Canberrans Louisa de Smet and Steven Wright since seeing them on the runway at the inaugural FASHFEST in 2013. We've gossiped over coffees, they've made me a dress and I don't think I could justify their coolness in my intro. Find out what inspires them and who they think would win a fashion fight between Karl and Valentino before their collection hits the runway at FASHFEST on May 16.

See Corr Blimey on Day 4 at FASHFEST

1. Corr Blimey has been with FASHFEST since its inception. What has been your biggest highlight and what impact has the event had on local designers?

FASHFEST has started a viable fashion industry in Canberra.Its impact can’t be overestimated. Local, independent designers are now holding their heads high and proclaiming their Canberra heritage with pride, whereas before there was no platform for their work!
Our biggest highlight to date is seeing our full Berlincollection on the FASHFEST catwalk in 2014. That collection was the culmination of two years work after we re-launched the label and developed a strong collaborative process with Silver Atom.

2. Propaganda: Can you talk about its meaning and how it reflects in
your collection?

All design is propagandavisual communication at its most refined. For us, Propaganda could have a positive or a negative meaning. We chose the former because anyone who puts on a Corr Blimey garment makes a visual statement about who they are. They are a one-woman or one-man propaganda machine. This is reflected throughout our entire collection but especially in our use of sculptural silhouettes and fabric manipulation. These two things allow the wearer to alter their silhouette and create a body/space that gives them room to be themselves.

Face of Fashfest 2014 Belinda Riding; Taken by Leighton Hutchinson wearing Corr Blimey

3. With trends constantly coming and going what do you think will never go out of style?

Every trend comes back and it moves in a roughly 20-year cycle. Hence the popularity of 90s fashion today. Each time atrend returns it is re-interpreted by a new generation, which makes it very exciting. We need to understand trend forecasting but break through with well-designed pieces our customers can truly call their own. To be honest, style never goes out of style so find yours and luxuriate in it.

Face of Fashfest 2014 Belinda Riding; Taken by Leighton Hutchinson wearing Corr Blimey

4. Who is some of your biggest style influences and why?

We’re both influenced by different things. It’s what makes our style difficult to pin down. I’m all about structure, history, art and ideas. Louisa is connected to nature, science, traditional craftsmanship, texture and material play. Ultimately our biggest style influence comes from our approach to fashion. We spend most of our design time trying to figure out how to connect the body to the world through fashion. We try and find the right questions before we figure out the answers.

5. Which city would be your fashion week of choice and how would participating have an impact on your brand?

We both love Berlin and we both love New York and London. Participating in a fashion week in one of these places would be an amazing experience for Corr Blimey and it would place our brand on a global stage. Ultimately each fashion week is what you make it, however, and our connection to Canberra allows us to push our brand to the limits right here in the nation’s capital.

6. Now for a fun-related question. Who would win in a fashion fight

between Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino?

Karl is crazy but so is Valentino.
Steve: I’m picking Karl for this one. His gloves give him the edge and his hair is so hard that it will protect him for sure.
Wiz: What are they fighting over?  

7. What is the one thing that can make or break a collection?

Models. A good model is worth their weight in gold. They sell your collection on the catwalk by bringing it to life. We have always been very picky when it comes to selecting models. We go for personality not physicality. We spend a good amount of time talking about their character. This is important because the audience looks to imprint themselves onto a look. They want to see the best version of themselves reflected from the runway. Models are the vehicle for us to visually communicate with the audience. It is all about trust.

8. What is your best advice to an upcoming designer who wants to show at Fashfest?

Fashion is hard. The best advice we could give anyone is to grab every opportunity to refine your skills, push your brand and learn. In an industry like this you need to make your own luck and put yourself in front of as many people as possible.  As for showing at Fashfest, we’d say that the best thing is tobe prepared and make sure you get everything you can out of the experience. Show up to everything. Take all of the advice. Speak to everyone. Be there and be engaged. The launch of a collection is actually just the beginning of the hard work for a label. After the event you have to get out there and use the boost that Fashfest gives you. Go for it and be prepared. Every collection and every show is an education. Make sure you learn.