Awkward Orchid in Bloom
JAICELYN ROWE. http://www.awkwardorchid.com/gallery
Local emerging designer Jaicelyn Rowe is as quirky as her clothing range.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from Townsville, I’ve always lived here. Kind of keen to move away! I’d love to go to Melbourne. I’ve been there once, and I was like, “Alright, I’m living here. I’m coming back.”
Who are some of your favourite designers?
I have a million of them! Obviously I really like all of the big-name designers, like Chanel, for example. House of Holland, Self Portrait Studio, Romance Was Born, Mary Katrantzou, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Shouler, Miu Miu, and House of Cards are a few of my favorites.
When did you realise you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I entered the Apex Teenage Fashion Awards when I was 14, 15 and 16, and I actually come second every single year – it was almost annoying! There are four different categories: casual day wear, formal wear, society and environment, and wearable art – that was the category I entered. The idea of mixing art and fashion seemed really cool to me. I think it was probably last year that I decided to actually give fashion designing a go, see where it went. Looking back, some of the things that I made at the beginning were so bad! But I’ve learnt a lot, and I’m really proud of what I make now.
How did you learn to sew?
I learnt in Home Ec. at school, plus I did do the wearable art competitions, although you don’t technically have to be very good at sewing to compete in those – I was really bad! I made two or three things for myself with Mum’s sewing machine, so I kind of just taught myself. I have my own sewing machine now, plus my own over-locker. I always found it really easy; it was never that difficult to me. If I found a piece of clothing I wanted, I’d just make the pattern and do it. Mum did make clothes for us when we were really, really young, and she was always very arty. We used to have ‘craft days’ when were younger where we’d make googly eyes on rocks, lame stuff like that!
Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials?
I usually buy from Spotlight and Lincraft, and I go to op-shops to find vintage fabrics too. I go online sometimes, although you have to buy around 10 meters of fabric and I like to change it up a lot – I get bored easily! Sometimes I make a design and I’ll never make it again, which is why most of my designs are one-off’s or really limited. I’d rather just keep moving forward. Soon I’ll be collaborating with an artist from Townsville, ‘Ruby & Wolf’ is her label – she’s an artist. She’ll do a design for me, and then I’ll get it printed on fabric. I’m going to feature an artist or photographer every couple of months if I can, and then I’ll get the fabric printed and make limited designs from it. No one else is doing it in Townsville right now, so I’ve gotta get in and do it. I’m really keen, plus I can pretty much tell them exactly what I want for the print as well.
What is your all-time favourite creation?
I was really, really proud of the dress I made for the last wearable art competition I entered when I was 16 – it was inspired by pencil shavings. I used actual pencil shavings on the dress and I made it with an upholstery fabric, the skirt had heaps of volume, it was pretty cute. My friend Brittany modeled it, the one who does all of the modelling in my photo-shoots. It did take me quite a while to do; it was the most well made of everything I entered in the competition over the years, I definitely put the most time into it. I usually gave myself one or two weeks to finish my entry in the competitions over the years, but with this one I gave myself a few months. I did some pattern making with a pattern maker for it too, and I had never done that before.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m really inspired by different flowers and people I follow on Instagram. I study art, so I see finding inspiration with fashion in the same sort of way that I find inspiration for a painting. I always like to have some sort of concept with my fashion. It stresses me out though, because I always have to have perfect ideas before I start. It’s a big process. I usually get an idea in my head, make a pattern from it, and just see how it goes with the pattern. I don’t make a calico version or anything like that – who has time for that?
What do you strive to achieve as a fashion designer?
This year, I’m definitely doing the Fashion Festival. If I’m doing a collection, it’s going to be an awesome collection, I won’t settle for anything less. I wouldn’t want mine to be the worst in my eyes! Collaborating with artists will hopefully set me apart. I’m also talking to a lady now; she’s from Townsville and owns a store in Bondi called Love Grace. My label will be stocked in her store soon.
Where can readers buy your clothing, and find out more about you and your work?
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
To do what I’m doing you need a lot of determination, you can’t give up if something doesn’t work out, because it does happen, things don’t work out. You also have to be good with your money, because that’s one thing that’s hard. Be good at self-promotion – I have no business background so I really just throw myself in there. You really have to try, see what bigger brands are doing and see what you can do to replicate it. You also need to decide who your target market is and really go for it, because you don’t want to be making the same stuff as somebody else. You really have got to put in the effort.