Heroes of fashion

When you think of Fashion Week you might think of Milan, New York or Paris but what about Sydney? Or the Inner West for that matter. There are big things happening in the local fashion and retail world right now and enough home-grown talent to impress even the most cultured clothing connoisseurs – some of which will be showcased at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2014.

To be held at Carriageworks, on the outskirts of the Inner West, Fashion Week will hit the runway from April 6th to 10th and is gearing up for another huge year of cutting-edge fashions featuring Leichhardt’s own young designer Michael Lo Sordo, who is set to show his latest collection during the event. Here we talk business, frocks and the future of the Aussie fashion industry with Michael, as well as a couple of other locals making a name for themselves in the fashion game…



Fresh from debuting his collection on the David Jones runway as part of the Autumn/Winter ’14 launch earlier this year, Michael Lo Sordo will be showing off some of his creations at Fashion Week on April 8th.

How did you start out in the fashion industry?
I attended culinary school before realising that fashion was actually where I wanted to go. After studying at East Sydney I worked in styling and merchandising for Giorgio Armani and SBS and started my label around this time. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have great support throughout the industry and really feel that my work with Woolmark and AWI, as well as winning the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award for fashion in 2012, have been huge boosts to my brand and allowed me to grow it to where it is today.

This is the sixth time you’ll be showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. How does it feel to be part of the event again and what can people expect from your pieces this year?
I’m so excited to be showing again this year, especially with the continued support from my sponsors – Redken, Maybelline and Essie. This upcoming MBFWA will see a continued journey into the essence of Michael Lo Sordo, a strong take on classic tailoring with an injection of colourful hues. This season is all about celebrating the modern woman and making her feel more beautiful and more confident.

What do you think the future holds for the Australian fashion industry?
I believe Australian fashion is at an exciting period at the moment where we are not only making waves locally but also internationally with a vast array of designers showcasing in New York, London and Milan, which provides credibility to a growing industry. Seeing the latest L’Uomo Vogue issue, which focuses not just on Australians but also Australian fashion, and being able to participate in a shoot for the magazine shows just how strong the local industry’s future really is.

Who would you most like to dress, and what would you dress them in?
Cate Blanchett. A woman that defines a modern sophisticated sense of style would have to be my choice and I love the way she isn’t afraid to take risks and is constantly evolving her style. I’d have to dress her in a suit – an impeccably cut wool jacket and matching pants but with a twist.



feature-fashion-pasduchasKatie McVeigh and Alicia Arcuri are the design duo behind Abbotsford label, Pasduchas.

How did you two end up designing together?
The design courses we were studying required a work placement stint as part of the end qualification, through this we scored our first jobs in the industry as Design Assistants for a fast-paced leading fashion label of the time, which is where we met eight years ago. It was a completely chance meeting through unexpected opportunities. Any design team works closely through the design process and as the two of us grew in our roles it became more and more apparent that our individual quirks were actually not that quirky since we liked the same ideas, sometimes wore the same clothes and would almost finish each others sentences…

How would you describe the Inner West style scene and how has it influenced you as designers?
The Inner West is such a multicultural melting pot, where older suburbs are experiencing a revival of sorts as the young trend-driven types take hold. We feel that Inner West girls are not only a well-dressed bunch but are clever in their styling; seeking out quality pieces that are original in design yet timeless wardrobe staples. As designers, we recognise the importance of offering continuously new looks that are accessible to the current hardworking and social girl but that also give a high-end feel. Darling Street is such a mecca for these types, when grabbing a coffee it almost feels like Fashion Week every day of the year!

What do you think the future holds for the Australian fashion industry?
National retail reviews are always so bleak and seemingly the Australian fashion industry is suffering – however, we certainly do not share this view. If your product is right for your customer then there is no limit to the heights that the Australian fashion industry can reach. Without doubt we can expect to see many more international labels and chains make their way onto our shores, this is something we welcome. It’s all fashion in the end and little bit of competition brings out the best in us all.

Who would you most like to dress, and what would you dress them in?
We like ‘IT’ girls. Classic IT girl Jen Hawkins is top of the local list…Jen, if you’re reading get in touch! We’ve got an Exordium Dress with your name written all over it! Internationally we are girl crushing on Margot Robbie. A classic beauty oozing sophistication where nothing less than the perfect LBD would do – our Plexus Dress would be our pick.



Jane Lu is a savvy business woman with a passion for social media and killer dress sense. She founded Showpo (originally Show Pony) in 2010 and aims to be the biggest online boutique retailer of women’s fashion in the country.

Can you tell us a bit about how you started your business?
I had no experience in retail or fashion (being an ex-business analyst) but when I decided that I was over staring at spreadsheets all day, I decided to start an online store. It all started in my parents’ little garage in Balmain!

feature-fashion-showpoWhat trends do you think will be big for the upcoming autumn/winter season?
I love that tartan and plaid has made a comeback – not a schoolgirl tartan, but more punk. You’ll be sure to see a lot of PU fabric pieces and new season accent shades of wine, magenta and cobalt. Oversized outerwear is also going to be the statement piece this winter so you can be sure to stay toasty warm!

What do you think the future holds for the Australian fashion industry?
With the rapid growth of the online retail industry, I think we’re going to see national borders become less restrictive to trade, our geographical isolation become less relevant and a surge in significance of Australia retailers and designers as big players
on a global scale.

Who would you most like to dress, and what would you dress them in?
Mila Kunis! I love her! She is so versatile and can go from girl-next-door to sexy seductress with ease. I would put her in one of our gorgeous backless black maxi dresses or cute high-waisted denim cutoff shorts and a crochet bustier.

You can find out more about Showpo here.

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