Another year has ended and another hopeful group of fashion graduates venture into the ‘real world’, optimistic about forging their path in the fashion industry. We catch these bright young things fresh from their final year parade and find out what they have in store for the future…
Meet: Kristal Choi, QUT
Collection Name: Butterflies in the Botanical Garden
Collection Inspiration: The Butterflies in the Botanical Garden is my trans-seasonal 2012 collection, which celebrates everything that is feminine, beautiful, luxurious and colourful with a focus on high quality finishing and detailing on the garments. This collection was inspired by the botanical illustrations of Beatrix Potter and ‘Butterfly Beauty for Ben Tom’s Dazed and Confused’ shoots. The collection was primarily inspired by Potter’s beautiful, soft, detailed and feminine colours of the flowers, which strongly influenced this collection and each outfit represents each of the six principal colours that she used in her artwork. The Butterflies in the Botanical Garden was also inspired by ‘Butterfly Beauty for Ben Tom’s Dazed & Confused’s individual, colourful and convincingly high quality of detailed butterflies. These predominantly fascinated me with their touch of mystery and fantasy. Therefore, I gathered my main focus from these two inspirations and decided to highlight this collection with butterfly print garments and butterfly headpieces, in order to create a striking and different look that still gave a strong and powerful performance. Butterflies in the Botanical Garden is all about colour, brightness and the beauty of nature. This collection design has beautiful constructions that are softened by colour, soft silhouettes and a sense of femininity as well.
What was your favourite part of putting together your final year collection? My favourite part of putting my final year collection together was when I went to South Korea for fabric outsourcing. South Korea is well known it’s high quality fabrics and textiles, as well as other materials involved in fashion design. I physically felt and saw the huge range of fabric colours, prints and types of materials and from this particular experience, I can say that South Korea has most amazing and beautiful fabrics and textiles that are of an incredibly high quality, with a variety of price ranges. Through this experience, I become more interested in fabrics and realise the importance of their role in design, because as a designer I only want to create garments that feel comfortable to wear. Therefore, my collection focuses not only on the design but also the quality of the fabric, as well as the quality of the entire product.
So you have finished uni… and what now? For the next one-to-two years, I will be releasing six-to-eight outfits every six months while working for someone in the fashion industry as a part-time job. This way, I can still continue making my designs and promoting my label and design range in the real world, testing out the reaction to my designs and styles by target customers, learning new things in the fashion industry and building my skills and knowledge throughout. Also I am planning to travel around Europe and to New York in the next two years to see and experience new things and to gain a broader vision.
What is your dream fashion job? My dream fashion job is become a CEO of my label, Choi. In ten-to-twenty years, I see myself as a famous Australian fashion designer. This is just my prediction and only a ‘dream’ but I will always try my best to accomplish my goal and make it happen. However, I know there will be many ups and downs along the way and that I will have a lot of work experiences and make many mistakes as part of becoming a strong, fruitful and smart fashion business owner. I will always work through any circumstances with a positive mind and attitude and I will get there one day!
What do you think your biggest challenge will be now? The biggest challenge that I have right now is to find a job and keep up with my next one-to-two year plans. As well, I will have to let people know about my label and keep things appealing and different from other fashion designer labels.
How do you think living in Brisbane will influence your next career steps? Personally, Brisbane is my favourite city in Australia because I love the tropical weather, vivid colours and relaxed lifestyle. Most of my work is inspired by colours and for my 2013 range, I will be focusing on Brisbane’s unique colours, bringing together a range of bright and fun yet beautiful tropical colours. Furthermore, I see Brisbane with a strong potential future. Although right now, Brisbane may be behind in the fashion field compare to Sydney and Melbourne, I see it in the future with a possibly bigger, fuller, stronger, enthusiastic and influential city. This is because Brisbane is a little behind other cities, thus there is a lot more room for change and growth. Therefore, Brisbane will offer better chances for me to develop my career successfully and will support me with love and attention. Brisbane needs more help from people like me to become bigger and greater and I am going to try my best to raise its level of design. Also, I want to start my business in a small market like Brisbane, rather than jumping into a big market. In this way I can break through this ‘one way of thinking’ and prove to the world that becoming a successful designer is not about living in a fancy, luxurious or great place. Rather, it is all about your talent and skills and if you have that, then no matter where you are, people will find you and will support you, as we are a global generation. Therefore, without a dream, effort and passion there is no way to succeed and no way to achieve your goals.
How do you think technology is starting to influence the fashion industry? Technology has already influenced the fashion industry and the global fashion market. Today, we can simply find any information that we want on the Internet at any time of the day. The Internet and mobile phones have become the most powerful tools in our lives in the global generation and this technology has created a whole new level of living and social networking. For example, now we can find and watch fashion shows and catwalk images on the Internet the day after a show, unlike in the past when we had to fly overseas in order to find out about new trends and innovative designs. Today, we can access anything on the Internet just with the stroke of a finger and it has made everything so much easier and less expensive. Therefore, through social media and e-commerce, the fashion industry can connect with their target customers more easily and cheaply.
Where is your favourite place in Brisbane to eat/drink/shop? My favourite place in Brisbane is James Street, which has great restaurants, bars and exclusive fashion boutiques. Also there is an atmosphere of luxury, creativity and high quality. For Brisbane, it is the hub of fashion and innovation.