Monday, May 3, 2010

"Mentors". Romance Was Born

Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett met studying fashion at East Sydney Technical College in 2003, a few-filled party nights and the creative pair became the best of friends, a dream of starting a label together was formed – and so Romance Was Born. Fresh after graduating Anna and Luke were selected to attend The Forth International Support awards in Italy. On the other side of the world they turned down internship with Galliano. The lure of starting their label was to strong and although flattered, they kindly declined the offer. Since establishing the label talented duo has participated in several fashion weeks, has gathered many prestigious awards including the recent one when they won Woolmark Young Designer Award in 2009. So, being quite new label the duo has managed to become successful and to occupy a strong position within contemporary Australian fashion scene.

Romance Was Born collections are irreverent and fun loving. As Luke himself mentions: “We like to have fun with our collections. Fashion after all, is pretty funny” (p.144). Their lavish aesthetic often includes a pastiche of craft work like appliqué, tie-dying and crochet, those fabulous hand detailed features that set their label apart from the flippant trends of the fashion madding crowd.

Being a young label they still are quite limited in resources but thanks to their outstanding quirky designs they have attracted variety of sponsorships (from Pandora and Swarovsky crystals, to new a couple) and have moved from creating collections contented with one-offs pieces only to more down-the-earth “ready-to-wear” ones. Nevertheless, the duo still takes the same care of “wearable art” one-off pieces as it does about more commercial interpretations.

Another feature of the label is that Romance Was Born does most of its production in Australia with some exclusion for beaded and embroidered pieces. They insist on supporting Australian manufacturing industry and hold to the vibrant Australian characters that help them to stay honest to their label’s distinctive style.

Personally, I love this brand and consider it the most unconventional and cool one in Australia. Just like designers of the label can’t stand weird, technical fashion. Their aesthetic is more “cheerful”, it is about “creating pretty things”, it is about having fun and sharing it with your customers and that is a very close to the vision I have about my own space within the fashion industry. I find these guys highly inspirational because they have managed to find a perfect compromise between doing what they are truly passionate about, to be able to keep their distinctive, sometimes mad and very crafty style, from being swallowed by faceless mainstream trends and, at the same time, to successfully allocate themselves within Australian market. That is kind of a balance I really want to learn how to reach.

Inchley, N. 2009, ‘A true romance’, Vogue (AUS), July, p. 142-147

McCourt, G. 2010, ‘Real style. Anna Plunkett’, Vogue (AUS), March, p. 96-98

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