I know it's been a two months since Highland debuted at Paris Fashion Week and many of you have been waiting to read a blog post about my experience. To be honest it was quite an emotionally and physically exhausting experience and I needed some time to digest what had happened and also some time to repair and work forward.
Working towards Paris Fashion Week has been over a year in the making, from originally declining the first invitation because I simply could not afford it, to finally accepting the invitation and working towards the money to get Dark Thorn there. Paris was not cheap. My fundraising goal was $30,000 but that excluded flights, accommodation and the production of a new collection.
Producing a new collection isn't cheap, especially with trying to remain as sustainable and conscious as I possibly can. Dark Thorn is made in Australia which of course bumps prices up but this is something I will never change. My designs are art, emotion, a feeling and not here for over consumerism but for investment and love. Working on a new collection takes time. You start with an idea, the inspiration. I then fill out a whole sketch book with designs, refine them, refine them again and pick fabrics. This then goes into patterns, graphing, toiles and the final sample.
I ended up raising $15,000 through events and GoFundMe but the biggest sum came from Lend a Hand Snowtown who granted me $5,000. The rest I loaned through my parents, on top of flights and accommodation. This was the biggest jump I had ever taken for Dark Thorn, or ever in my life so far.
Fundraising Event in Port Broughton
After sending a few samples back and forth to get them perfect I finally had the finished collection in my hands time for look book and editorial photography. I photographed the editorial in three locations around Melrose SA - Bluey Bundstones Blacksmith Shop, Jacka's Brothers Brewery and Appila Springs. Photographer Glenn Varona and his wife Jayne came up from Adelaide as well as Vanessa Barry to model, it was a friend affair for the day. It was an early start and a late finish, braving the freezing cold and the impending sunset but we finally got all the shots we were looking for!
Highland Editorial - Appila Springs SA
Photography: Glenn Varona
I was now off to Paris with the new Highland collection packed into my mum and I's hand luggage just in case it got lost in check-in. I shipped over my shoes, look books, steamer and coat hangers thanks to Davroe Haircare. Davroe also sponsored Dark Thorn while in Paris, providing custom gift boxes with their product for all guests who attended the show.
Paris is surreal and so beautiful. I had five days to spare before the Paris Fashion Week events begin so I spent those days exploring the streets, the shopping, the food and of course the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame and Versailles.
Louvre - Wearing the Edith Blouse in Bone
October 28th came around and it was the first day of the showroom in Paris. The showroom is where the new collection is on display for bloggers, journalists, buyers, stylists etc to come and see the collection in person and potentially place orders. Unfortunately the four days of the showroom weren't as successful as planned. There was just no traffic and it was completely not worth it. Next time I will definitely research other avenues for the showroom or tradeshow events in Paris.
October 1st was runway day. The venue was absolutely breathtaking, held at the Le Grand Intercontinental Paris. My runway was at 3pm and went off without a hitch (excluding a few little things that I picked up on but that's just the perfectionist in me). It felt so surreal, watching my new designs finally hit the runway with the music and the whole atmosphere... It felt like a dream.
Once the show was over I went back to the reception room where people were grabbing me left right and centre, wanting photos of me and congratulating me on a great collection. It felt strange people wanting photos with me, me of all people.
On October 2nd I attended the cocktail reception at the Australian Embassy to celebrate Australian creative talent at Paris Fashion Week. Here I met other Australian designers, actors, bloggers and anyone within the creative industry including Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia, Edwina McCann. I got given an extensive amount of tips and advice from other creatives that I will never forget.
About to attend the Australian Embassy Cocktail Reception wearing the Murdina Dress.