Australian Fashion Designers Share the Turning Point in Their Careers

Has there ever been a moment in your career that you can pin-point where things just changed? For me, it was obviously landing my job at Who What Wear Australia (thank you career gods for listening), but in the lead up to Fashion Week Australia, I got to thinking about some of our most-celebrated designers and what it was that got them to where they are today.

Interestingly for a few designers, it all began after one major event that seemed to shake things up for the brand, and take it to the next level.

Keep scrolling to discover why these designers are at the top of their game.

“There were a few turning points in my career however the most poignant was the launch of our retail flagship boutique in Paddington. That really helped shape where we are today, among other very special events. The insight we gained from creating a Camilla and Marc home, which was built to showcase all our categories including footwear, denim, C&M and RTW, was an opportunity to understand our customer and what she wanted from a memorable and customer-focused shopping experience. The learnings since the launch of the boutique to today have without doubt enabled our growth and integral focus in ensuring that our customer service is at an internationally standard. We have continued to remain focused to ensure we maintain that level of service in all our boutiques, both bricks and mortar to E-commerce to this day, and will continue to do so forever.”—Camilla Freeman-Topper

“My turning point was when considering what to do with the reception area in my new headquarters in Surry Hills. I decided I would have my first retail outlet to enable my clients to view my whole collection. There was a risk I would annoy my big wholesale accounts by being in competition with them. However, I learned so much from the choices my clients made, and my clients were so adventurous, that it gave me more and more confidence to try new things. Talking to clients firsthand has been such an important part of my business ever since.”—Carla Zampatti

“The career highlight for me was being acknowledged as a finalist in the International Woolmark Prize, and my experiences with Franca Sozzani and Sara Maino of Vogue Italia—who have been incredibly supportive. The brand will also continue to show internationally in Paris and New York, which I feel will be hugely rewarding this year.”—Christopher Esber

“Showing in Paris is the highlight of my career, let alone my year! I started my label as a hobby, but I knew where I wanted it to be. I wanted to show in Paris. I’ve been a Francophile since I was a young girl—to me, it’s the city that embodies everything that’s good in fashion, and I wanted to be a part of that.”—Kym Ellery, as told to Sunday Style

“My very first runway show in 2008 was definitely the turning point! I didn’t really plan to have a label but it all somehow fell into place after that showing. I received orders from boutiques as far as Moscow and from that moment on there was no turning back.”—Karla Spetic

“A turning point in our careers was when we decided to take the risk and start a business for ourselves. We drew on the 12 years’ experience we had from working in design and publishing to build our brand, Ginger & Smart.”—Genevieve & Alexandra Smart

“My career began when I started working as a stylist for Conde Naste. I would work on editorial shoots, clipping in outfits on young models, which was wonderful, but I really wanted to be dressing real women. The exact turning point was when I worked as a stylist for Natalie Imbruglia. I began making her clothes, and these were the pieces that got attention. It was this gratification that gave me the confidence I needed to transition from styling to designing.”—Alice McCall

“Opening our first retail store marked the biggest turning point in our career. It really demonstrated that what we were doing was relevant and desired. To constantly put yourselves out there creatively is challenging, and to get that recognition was a huge moment for us.”—Nick Van Messner & Bridget McCall

“When we expanded and started opening our retail stores nationally, our business changed significantly. We gradually opened stores in each state and that further developed both our sales and brand awareness. We now have twelve retail stores and three concessions at Myer.  The business has become more focused and we know our customers a lot better. We listen to what they want and can respond quite quickly with new designs.”—Kylie Radford, CEO of Morrison

What has been the turning point in your career? Share in the comments below!

Opening image courtesy of Camilla and Marc.

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