Recently seen on the Melbourne Fashion Week Garage Runway was the emergence of two collections by one Melbourne designer, who mixes the darkest of inspiration with the most pure intentions. Both collections are defined by classic silhouettes embellished with the more contemporary. On inspiration, the value of thread and ethical practice Kalaurie spoke with The Melbourne Critique.

Let’s start off. What was the inspiration for this latest collection of work?

I’m inspired by themes of life, death, human emotion and personal experiences. I like feelings a lot and channel them into clothing which tells stories.

My first collection, ‘Black Mountain,’ really explored a narrative of self-realisation through feelings of self- loathing, doubt and insecurity. My forthcoming and soon-to-be released second capsule ‘Terror Made Me Cruel’ is partly inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and explores feelings of terror, jealousy, obsession, and most of all, tragic love.

How do you define ethical practice in terms of fashion, and how do you apply these practices to your own pieces?

For me, ethical practice is thoughtful design, responsibility and consciousness.

I try my hardest with the resources I am given to make sure my pieces come from a place of love and respect. I make to order, which means I do not produce anything until an order comes through. It’s a slow approach, but it ensures that each piece I create has a meaningful home and I have used resources responsibly with minimal waste. I don’t like the idea of just producing garments and hoping for them to sell. The industry has a massive problem with dead stock, which can end up in landfill. It’s a huge waste of resources.

Everything is done in-house, ensuring 100% fair wages and excellent working conditions. Design longevity is really important to me; I design pieces which are carefully crafted to last many generations and surpass trends. They are not disposable with season but collectable.

When possible, I use dead stock fabrics and trims to ‘recycle’ them and save them from landfill. I also focus on using fabrics made fibres which are biodegradable and come from renewable resources. This just touches the surface of what I do to contribute to a more ethical fashion practice.

What’s your background and what drew you into the world of fashion?

I graduated from RMIT mid last year with a BA in Fashion (Design Technology). Before that, I studied costume design at Swinburne University of Technology.

I feel as though I was drawn into fashion by chance. I was always very interested in making things and very hands on. I think I knew I wanted to do something creative but I wasn’t quite sure; I thought maybe I’d paint. I decided to explore costume because I have always been really obsessed with period fashion, but in the end I wanted to make clothing that was desirable and wearable.

How does one feel when wearing pieces by Kalaurie?

That’s a secret only the wearer can reveal. Personally, I feel most true and like myself when I wear something I’ve made. There’s a sense of consciousness and comfort knowing exactly where it came from and how it was made.

What’s next for the label?

I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. I’m just letting it take me places and staying open to new opportunities. Quietly, I’m dreaming of having my own little shop front and studio.

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