Rachael Cassar Couture Design Rachael Cassar Couture Design Rachael Cassar Couture Design

Usual question first, can you tell me a bit about your background and how you became a designer?

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t know that I wanted to be a fashion designer. From an extremely young age- around 5, I just always said that when I grew up I wanted to be fashion Designer. When I started high school I began doing short summer courses at different colleges and tafes exploring fashion design and Illustration.

After I finished High School I applied for a Fashion and Textile degree at University of Technology and got in. From then on I struggled for years to find my point of view as a designer, however eventually I found myself when I made my first couture range in my final year, everything finally made sense and that was the actual moment that I became a designer!!


I really like the innovative way you've ventured towards couture, it must be more difficult to create your own niche than in just doing ready to wear could you tell us a bit about this and how the idea came to you?

The first few years of Uni were really hard for me; I struggled to materialize all the ideas in my head. I had so many extravagant ideas however when applying them to a ready to wear garments came out completely wrong. When I was given an amazing brief for my Lancôme collection, I had the opportunity to create 3 looks that encaptured everything I had dreamt I could be as a designer.

I had 3 months to work on them. I immersed myself in the brief and spent every waking moment working on these garments. The result was a couture range that finally gave me a visual voice. I had found my design handwriting and it felt awesome. From then on I had the confidence to continue to explore Couture. It now comes so naturally to me, it is my passion.

Rachael Cassar Couture Design
Rachael Cassar Couture Design

The cornerstone of the Rachael Cassar label seems to incorporate social responsibility and eco-friendliness. Does staying true to that ever interfere with the final design of a garment?

No not at all. I use recycled materials and the process of deconstruction where I take apart pre loved garments and re-use the fabric. I have always taken old things apart and re designed them since I was young. So after learning a lot about the harmful effects the fashion industry has on our environment it was just a matter of me wanting to do my part, and since deconstruction came naturally to me it all fell together splendidly.

The challenge of using recycled fabric’s forces me to problem solve, and from problem solving comes ideas that would never have been made otherwise. So actually the limitations only force me to be even more creative in order to end up with an aesthetic result that is me.


Rachael Cassar Couture Design

Your design lines and fabrics are so decadent  - it's inspiring to see you show that reclaimed fashion has moved on from tie dyed cheese cloth prairie skirts, but what made you choose this route and do you ever find that people have any pre conceived notions about re-claimed material?

I chose to use re-claimed material, as there is so much waste out there it is crazy! The way society consumes now, most people don’t keep things anymore, with fast moving trends, and things become obsolete season to season. Fabrics become outdated. I wanted to create one off garments using materials that have already had their life, giving them a second. I create garments that you will not throw away; I am up cycling rather than recycling.

Yes people still have that pre-conceived notion that eco is hippy potato sacks. But I can’t really blame them. The way eco fashion is promoted here in Australia is very much in line with practical plain everyday wear. This is not what people are attracted to in fashion, so obviously to them it is going to come across as boring.

I am trying to show people that eco doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice everything you love about design and fashion. I haven’t! The only way people are going to embrace eco fashion is if they fall madly in love with the design first and foremost. The eco element should only be a bonus! I create statement pieces; they capture everything I love about couture fashion and the only difference with my couture is that the buyer and I are expressing our concern for our environment.

Rachael Cassar Couture Design
Rachael Cassar Couture Design

Can you tell me about the Italian MittelmodaFashion Award you won in 07?

In 2007 I was a finalist in a prestigious Italian fashion competition called Mittelmoda. I won the premiere prize out of over 600 entries and 27 finalists from around the world. It was an affirming experience, as the competition had nothing to do with eco, my designs won based on aesthetics first. I was put on an even playing field.

It was an overwhelming, unexpected amazing moment- A moment that encouraged me to keep going. Since then I have had shows in both Sydney and Melbourne and also showed in London last year for a sustainable fashion summit.


What do you think of the socially conscious Fashion scene in Melbourne and how people can support it?

I think Melbourne’s fashion scene is embracing eco fashion! I am from Sydney And I have participated in 3 eco parades in Melbourne since 08. I have only participated in one in Sydney in 07. So as a whole I think Melbourne’s conscience scene are doing the right thing. They are creating fashion events that are attracting attention and that’s what needs to be done.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you've been given?

Never stop questioning your work.

Rachael Cassar Couture Design

 

 

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