Meet our 2022 Designers

Melbourne Fashion Hub is proud to introduce its 2022 multidisciplinary artists and fashion designers. Featuring students/graduates from Box Hill Institute, Kangan Institute, LCI Melbourne, RMIT, and Whitehouse Institute of Design, they represent future shifts and innovative thinking within the fashion world, from designing for the metaverse to creating a more responsible and inclusive future.

Details correct at time of publishing.

Asher Blackburn

KANGAN INSTITUTE

Instagram @asher.blackburn

My name is Asher Blackburn; I am 20 years old and born in Australia, and I have lived both here and in the UK. I’m a 1st-year fashion design student wanting to push myself further into the artistic field to challenge my conceptual design skills as well as contribute towards the social change of the industry.

Design Practice 

My design style can be very structured or free-flowing – attempting to bring to light that garment construction is an art within itself, not just the result. Focusing on the androgynous side of fashion at times lets creativity shine through when experimenting with new techniques and methods. Currently, everything made under my name is made by hand, by myself. From pattern-making to final construction, the process of learning as I go and connecting with that process is what I cherish and value greatly. Inspiration for designs and construction varies throughout my work due to what connects with me personally, be it metaphysical concepts such as determinism and luck to very physical objects and ideas such as architecture, childhood toys, and the tools that surround me.

Millie DeBoo

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @milliedeboo.designs

Having a huge love for fashion since a very young age, I am currently pursuing my dream of creating my own slow-fashion label, which aims to blur the line between costume and fashion. After graduating from the Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) RMIT course in 2020, I have refined my own personal style, which has altered and developed through years of designing and creating garments in which I have been able to express my true identity through fashion.

Design Practice 

My style centres around disregarding traditional fashion stereotypes and strive to stand out with my “bold” style for not only my own personal dress but also for my upcoming label. To me, fashion is such an amazing form of expressionism and a way that individuals can convey either a depiction of their true identity or a persona they wish to portray to the world around them.

As a 23-year-old, I look forward to what the future holds and hope that I can continue to develop and refine my style.

Safa El Samad

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @safaelsamad

Safa El Samad is an emerging multidisciplinary artist and fashion designer based in Melbourne. She lives by the axiom that ‘The architect should be able to design everything from the city to the spoon. 

Her brand ‘Soof’ invites anyone to bring in old, unloved garments for revitalisation in order to mitigate the worlds’ second-largest generator of waste (textiles) from ending up in landfill.

Design Practice 

Combining semi-industrial embroidery technology via the Brother PR-670E and the very best digitising software – Wilcom, Soof offers customised imagery to create a piece unique to the wearer and provide a sentimental attachment to the garment not found in mass-produced clothing.

Despina-Nafsika Haidemenos

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @despina.haidemenos

Despina-Nafsika Haidemenos is a Melbourne-based fashion designer, currently completing her Bachelor of Fashion (Design) at RMIT University. Born and raised in Greece, she developed a fascination for the styles of the mid-20th century at a young age through her exposure to Greek films from the 1950s and 1960s. Her love of drawing, crafting, and creating brought her to her mother’s sewing machine leading Despina to another passion, one for creating well-fitting garments inspired by the elegance of bygone eras. 

Design Practice 

Through her slow fashion practice, Despina focuses on creating expertly made, beautifully fitting garments that are made to last for many years to come. Gathering inspiration from the styles of the past, she lets her modern eye give them her own twist. Despina is a strong believer of wearing ‘whatever makes your heart happy,’ something that she once struggled to do herself. Overcoming this hurdle, though, helped her build her confidence, and she is now hoping to do the same for others through her creations. This has led her to a mission: ‘Striving to bring confidence into the world, one dress at a time!’ 

Oscar Keene

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @oscar.keene.designs

Oscar Keene undertook their honours year in the Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) at RMIT University in 2020, focusing on digital content creation due to the limitations imposed by the pandemic. 

In 2021 they won the ‘Global Design Graduate Showcase in Collaboration with Gucci’ Industry Jury Selection for Fashion Communication for their graduate collection ‘Fluid’ and were a finalist for both the iD International Emerging Designers Awards and the Australian Fashion Foundation Award Scholarship.

They had their digital & physical fashion content exhibited in MARS Gallery as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival, had their garments featured in a Revlon campaign, produced a digital runway for VFILES in New York, and featured in Vogue Australia’s September issue magazine and online. They were the recipient of the Grathelms Scholarship from RMIT & received the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grant to sustain the development of their digital fashion practice.

Design Practice 

Their practice explores queer materiality & the subversion of convention through fashion archetypes.

Melanie Grace

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @amelabymelaniegrace

Melanie Grace, founder and creative director of Amela by Melanie Grace, discovered she had a calling for beautifully crafted clothing when she fell in love with fashion at a young age.

In pursuit of her dreams, she undertook further study to grow her knowledge and expertise in the fashion industry, and her journey led her to graduate from RMIT University with an Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology and a passion for sustainable and ethical practices where she is now undertaking a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion and Textiles Sustainable Innovation. 

Design Practice 

Since then, she has successfully launched her own fashion label in 2020, Amela by Melanie Grace, which aims to provide a seasonless, sustainable fashion brand as an alternative to the wasteful fast-fashion options in today’s consumerist world.

Trinh Nguyen

WHITEHOUSE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN

Instagram @tri.nhdesigns

Inspired by Japanese animations, I explore my creative self through painting, drawing, and design.

Exploring both traditional and contemporary Asian fashion trends, cultural identity is a strong notion in my creative processes. I focus heavily on merging traditional Asian garments with contemporary ideas in order to maintain a sense of Asian heritage while staying current. In addition, the inclusivity of all genders is another aspect of my thinking that manifests in my garment designs.

Design Practice 

I create with the intentions of allowing the individual to freely express themselves through androgynous and creative styling. By working with gender boundaries and non-conventional tailoring techniques that explore both the progression of technology and redefined body shapes, I intend to deconstruct the expected social norms of gender through tech-wear and androgynous fashion. I utilise both natural and synthetic water-resistant fabrics to deliver this message across all my designs.

Jaslar Pearl

LCI MELBOURNE

Instagram @jaslarpearl

Jaslar Pearl heavily focuses on delivering an inclusive genderfluid, urban, and street aesthetic with sustainably created garments and accessories. 

Design Practice 

The main premise of The Label is to inspire others to do what they desire to do and chase their dreams despite the doubts of others. Mainly delivered through the designs of the garments, most garments tell a story or a message of effectuating a dream aiming to inspire all through a relatable message, appealing designs, sustainable practices, premium finishes, cuts & fits.  Sustainability is a large part of the label as it is important to do what we can to take care of our planet and lead by example, inspiring others to top the same. The aim is to be part of the solution, not the problem.

Samantha Saint James

WHITEHOUSE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN

Instagram @svintjvmes

Samantha Saint James is an Australian fashion designer and founder of her androgynous brand Not A Man’s Dream. Saint James has been published in the Fashion Journal, received High Academic Achievement Award 2020 and Top Designer Award 2021 at Whitehouse Institute of Design as well as showcasing her work in Melbourne Fashion Week 2021.

Design Practice 

Inspired by raw emotion, the lives of everyday people, and cultures all over the world, Saint James is an immense advocate for women and encourages all to be comfortable and confident in who they are. Her motto has always been “walk to the beat of your own drum.”

Celina Samarakoon

RMIT UNIVERSITY

Instagram @celina.k.samarakoon

Celina Samarakoon is an emerging designer with a strong focus on the intersection between fashion, culture, and sustainability.

2021 was the second year of her ‘Bachelor of fashion and textiles (Sustainable Innovation)’ degree. 

Design Practice 

With sustainability and ethical methods at the forefront of her design practice, she aims to push the boundaries of what sustainable (and zero waste) garments should look like. Many of her works reduce waste through her signature ‘patxy’ technique to allow for zero-waste creations and the utilisation of scraps. The playfully structured garments are not restricted to age, gender, or size and are dedicated to a fashion-forward, expressive wearer.

Her designs delicately incorporate techniques inspired by her cultural background (Japanese and Sri-Lankan). She continues to explore both traditional and modern design techniques, ranging from natural dye methods to digital prototyping.

Tamika Sewell

WHITEHOUSE INSTITUTE OF DESIGN

Instagram @aurei.lua

Tamika Sewell is an Australian fashion designer who established her sustainable womenswear brand, Aurei Lúa, whilst completing her Bachelor of Fashion Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Design Practice 

Growing up in regional Victoria, she was taught from a young age the importance of environmental conservation, which forms an integral part of her design process.

Focussing on women’s ready-to-wear, Tamika aims to introduce designs that can be fully recycled and repurposed after its lifetime as a well-loved garment. 

Giving consumers support with that process and taking responsibility for waste are important aspects of the circular fashion solution which she aims to address with her upcoming fashion label.

Beyond sustainability, Tamika aims to inspire self-love and confidence in those that wear her garments.

Jasmine Sim

BOXHILL INSTITUTE

Instagram @enso_.studio

Enso Studio, founded in 2021 by Jasmine Sim, a Malaysian-Australian fashion designer currently pursuing her BA in Fashion Design in Melbourne, Australia. Before embarking on her creative journey, she came from a finance background where she was constrained by a number of laws and rules. These restraints piqued her interest and sparked her curiosity about the relationships between society’s perceptions of normality and abnormality.

Design Practice 

Enso Studio is a gender-inclusive brand that encapsulates the concept of modification, disfigurement, modernity, and convergence. Its design explores the relationship between the clothing and body, convention and experiment, nature and fantasy.

Enso Studio produces both the meticulously yet sustainable designed pieces and the immersive world around it.



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