Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Slowly but surely, Canberra is making it’s mark on the fashion map.

In the past, Canberran creatives have left our fair city for the Big Smoke, hoping to find more opportunity in Melbourne, Sydney or abroad.  No one ever really considered Canberra as having a ‘fashion industry’. Until now.

There has been a profound shift in the last few years, as talented designers, photographers, models, hair and makeup artists and stylists have created and harboured an extensive and inspired creative community. New opportunities have arisen and they are influencing our talent to stay put.  Fashion events and new publications are shining a light on our new fashion stars in a way that we haven’t seen before.

One such fashion star is Zoe Brown, an up-and-coming designer with a whole lotta talent.


Zoe has had her fair share of media coverage recently as she forges ahead with her quirky label, Zoe Brown, which she will be showcasing at Canberra’s answer to Fashion Week,  Fashfest, in May. You only have to look a Zoe to recognize she has a love of fashion- her style is eclectic, individual and fashion-forward. She is getting noticed- for all the right reasons.

I chatted to Zoe about her label, inspirations and how she feels about the Canberran fashion scene.

Could you tell us about your history in fashion? When and why did you start your label, Zoe Brown?
I started at a young age; I have always loved fashion- dressing Barbie dolls and always customising my own clothing. I then studied fashion in college and just knew I wanted to continue and graduated from Canberra Institute of Technology in 2011. Since graduating I have continued to establish my label. My new label name will launch at FashFest!

What is your design aesthetic? How would you like women to feel when they wear your designs?
I guess it can be described as fresh, edgy, romantic- like a wonderland where you don’t know the guidelines, the rules or the danger. I like my clothing to be fun, and not to be taken too seriously. I also women to experiment and explore as some of my garments might not seem to be as wearable (as I love using sheer fabrics) but it’s all how you style it! Don’t be afraid!

What inspires you and your creations?
I know everyone says this but the elements of design have been embedded into my brain for so long that I feel I can turn anything into inspiration. I love designing about things I’m interested in, whether it is a new art form, pop culture, emerging trends, movies or music. I like my collections to evolve and show the world the things that I love!

What is your biggest achievement since starting your label?
That I am actually doing it! I’m always gaining new connections and relationships, as you never know where they are going to take you! I’m very keen on meeting as many people as I can and trying to be accessible to my consumer. I like that they are interested in me!

Being where you are now, do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
You might stress about doing it, but you will also stress about not doing it. I think it takes a lot of guts to start your own label; I’m still learning something new everyday and winging it! You need to do your research, start simple, be determined and make connections!

Who are your favourite designers or role models? How do they influence you?
As a child I loved Betsey Johnson’s collections. They were always so much fun and as an added bonus she does the splits at the end of her runway shows! I have also been a big fan of Jeremy Scott, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Emma Mulholland and Romance Was Born. I guess they all have this edge about them- non-serious fashion that is always theatrical and entertaining!

What does the future hold for Zoe Brown?
Releasing my first sellable collection!

Lastly, how do you feel about the fashion industry in Canberra?
I think it is very understated, but there are so many of us here now, we are going to take this place by storm! Its also a great place to meet lots of creative people, because it has been so neglected down here we end up collaborating with a lot of talented artists, musicians, photographers, makeup artists and stylists!

You can check out more of Zoe’s work at www.zoe-brown.com



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