If you attended Melbourne Fashion Week's Student Runway, we're sure you'll remember a collection called 'Whispered Warrior'. To refresh your memory, here's a picture from the runway:
Meet the designer behind it all: Dani Stewart - third year student of our Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design and Merchandising course.
Dani is known for her warm energy and contagious drive to create memorable, daring designs. Inside the classroom, no one would know that Dani entered the course straight into third year.
From having her designs featured on the runway at Melbourne Fashion Week to being selected to be a part of the Melbourne Cup Emerging Designers Runway, Dani is certainly one to watch.
We chatted to her about her experience with us:
So what made you decide to study the Advanced Diploma?
Having worked as a sewing machinist for over 15 years I wanted to upskill and improve my pattern making as I was mostly self taught, so I started researching. I needed a course that would allow me to enter at a level that would challenge me and acknowledge my work experience. The Masters allowed me to do that!
What inspired you to get into fashion design in particular?
I’m not sure that anything in particular did really... I love clothes, I love uniqueness…. I guess I love how expressive fashion is. It really is an extension of your personality!
What experience did you have entering the course?
I’ve worked in the bridal industry for the last 8 years as a machinist. I specialised in the fitting.
I didn’t really have experience in design particularly - I’ve always been able look objectively and see what works and what doesn’t. This course has given confidence to express that - to trust myself. It really has been invaluable.
What was it like entering straight into the third year of the Advanced Diploma?
Crazy! Joining a group who had been together for the previous two years was a little daunting but everyone was so wonderful and welcoming. Having not studied for a very long time I really had to hit the ground running. Entering into an Advanced Diploma in the final year taught me how much I’m capable of. Would I do it again? Probably!
Tell us a bit about your range 'Whispered Warrior':
So Whispered Warrior is inspired by iconic women through history who embraced their soft, flirty feminine side and essentially used it as their greatest strength.
Exploring a balance between hard and soft, showing we don’t have to choose between them, but can be everything.
How did this influence your design?
I experimented with different underlining and materials to create an invisible structure, then softly draped my digitally printed silk organza over it to create a sheer lightness.
Along with this, I added contrast with my fierce 3D printed lace and leather corset armour to create the ultimate hard soft.
What drew you to these design elements?
I love working with new technologies and experimenting with different techniques, using fabrics and other materials in imaginative ways to bring my vision to reality.
What was the highlight of your fashion journey at The Masters?
The whole year has been incredible. The people I have met, the opportunities I’ve been exposed to…
Melbourne Fashion Week was a huge highlight, to be involved in such a huge, professional catwalk show was surreal.
Being selected as a nominee for Myer’s Emerging Designer Award (Fashion on the Field) at Melbourne Cup was such an incredible experience and probably my ultimate highlight of this year.
And Franca! To have had her as my mentor this year has been magic! Her wealth of knowledge and the way she looks at pattern making and construction makes you think outside the box. Anything is possible and can be created.
What's next for you in your fashion journey?
I’m actually working for a new bridal label called 'Melki Bridal'. Im helping to create a range of wedding dresses which is super exciting. We’re hoping to launch early next year so stay tuned!
I also want to continue to learn and experiment to create unique looks so I’m working on my own label ‘Ernest Creations’.
Follow Dani’s journey on Instagram @ernest_melbourne