Alice Kennedy, National Graduate Showcase Finalist: INDETAIL*

Congratulations to Alice Kennedy, Leila, a #VAMFF National Graduate Showcase finalist, who has been announced as the recipient of the Target fashion grant. Alice will recieve the opportunity to design a capsule collection with Target, which will arrive in-stores late 2016.

We caught up with Alice to discuss  being a National Graduate Showcase Finalist, her industry experience and her plans for the future.

Backstage National Grad (79)

Congratulations on being selected as the top design graduate of the National Graduate Showcase presented by Target and supported by Fashion Journal. How are you feeling?
Alice Kennedy: Thank you! Amazing, it’s an unbelievable opportunity and I’m so grateful. I just started a few weeks ago at Target and it’s incredible.

Your winning collection was inspired by Japanese dress design – can you describe your design process for us?
AK: The Japanese kimono silhouette was one of the key elements in the collection’s concept of the modernization of wool. The process involved a lot of trial and error. Mainly of strong silhouettes that would have a big impact and that’s how I came across the kimono silhouette, which thematically tied in well with modernization. The process comprised simplifying strong silhouettes just enough to ensure the main focus was on the surface technique. Many of the garments had similar circle skirt patterns, which stemmed from my design philosophy, which speaks to such elements as curved architecture. This guided the collection towards cohesion and unity.

We love your use of wool throughout your collection, which has been such an important part of Australian fashion history. Why has wool resonated so strongly with you?
AK: I started working with wool during the last few years of my course and really found I loved it. The more I worked with it the more I discovered no one is really giving it any attention, besides its primary functional use of warmth. The different mediums wool lends itself to are incredible and make it one of the most versatile fabrications in the industry. I loved the technique of needle felting with wool, which is dominant throughout the collection; it really allowed me to discover the modernization of the fabrication.

Aside from just my appreciation for the textile, the wool industry is something that I’ve been engaged with my whole life, as my grandfather was a wool farmer and distributor. I’ve experienced seeing it in every component of its processing throughout my life, so using it in my final year was exciting and rewarding.

Where do you find your sources of inspiration?
AK: You can never really pin point when or where your inspiration comes from. It bursts from anywhere and everywhere, and often evolves as I work: I definitely didn’t end up with exactly the same concepts at the end of my graduate year compared to its beginning. You’ll start off with an idea or an interest, like the modernization of wool, and go from there. I did know I wanted to work with needle felting as my main technique, as I’d done a bit of work with it previously and knew the effect it had! Using modernization as a key aspect of the collection I had to research what it meant to me, to others and to its industry.  Clean, minimal, possibly reflective properties lead me to PVC. Then began the process of testing the two ideas together and as a result the ‘Liquescent’ collection is what I’ve ended up with.

Who are some of your favourite Australian designers?
AK: Ellery and Camilla and Marc

What’s next for Alice?
AK: The plan from here is probably to shift overseas and see what is going on in the industry internationally. New York looks to be on the cards. Myself and my friend (and fellow RMIT graduate) Bella will most likely be moving over there before the year is up!

To view the highlights from the 2016 National Graduate Showcase Presented by Target and Supported by Fashion Journal, click here.


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