This IWD we’re celebrating the women who make up our local network of craftspeople and creatives. At JB 75% of the people we work with are females, the label is run by women and designed for the female figure. We’re excited to introduce you to a few of these key people who all play a part in bringing our creative concepts and designs to life. We’re forever grateful for their incredible skill sets, knowledge and ongoing support of JB!
Hue is a Sydney based seamstress. She works from her home with her two sisters Van and Anh and her husband Kiet, together they make 80% of all woven JB garments. We have worked with Hue since the label started in 2015.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Vietnam, my husband and I were forced to leave after the Vietnam war. We first went to Holland, I had all my children in Holland then we moved to Australia in May 1986. My family was in Australia and we knew the weather was much nicer.
When did you start working as a seamstress?
I started working as a seamstress in 1990 in Vietnam. I didn’t work as a seamstress in Holland though. In Sydney I work with my two sisters and my husband, we work from a studio in our home in GreenAcre.
What do you like about being a seamstress?
I like to sew beautiful designs and clothing.
What is your personal style like?
Formal Dress, I usually wear bright colours and matching sets - top and pants.
Kaitlyn Bosnjak, originally from Florida is a Sydney based photographer who specialises in film.
How did you get into photography?
My grandpa was a photographer! As a kid, he would take photos of me and teach me all about storytelling. Photography is so much more than my creative outlet, it’s a bond between my grandpa and I, and I really cherish that.
What do you enjoy about shooting on film?
I love the trust film enables me to put into my creative process; it’s really taught me to slow down and enjoy every part of the journey.
What do you love about photographing women?
I enjoy celebrating the woman’s body and all it’s intricacies - I hope my imagery and creative direction can empower others, helping them feel comfortable and beautiful in their bodies.
Have you noticed a shift towards inclusivity in the modelling industry over the last few years?
Yes, absolutely! I’m hoping that shift continues, there’s still so much more room for inclusivity.
Cha Sayemi is a fabric rep at New Zealand and Australian based fabric house Wall Fabrics. She works with an array of Sydney and Melbourne labels, sourcing and guiding them through fabric choices from their selection of deadstock and milled fabrics.
How did you get into the fashion industry and specifically the fabric side of the industry?
Straight out of school I was studying fashion textiles and I was always confused with what career path I wanted to take, especially within fashion. Throughout the years I did take career detours of going into Graphic Design and importing goods from overseas, but I always circled back to fabrics. While I was studying I saw a position open up for The Fabric Store – our retail store, I applied, got the job and that was the beginning of my blossoming love of textiles. I moved to Wall Fabrics - the wholesale side about 5 years ago and have never looked back. I have happily been in the textiles industry for 10 years now and have loved every bit of the journey!
What do you love about working with deadstock fabrics?
Working with deadstock means we are always getting an array new and exciting fabrics, it feels like Christmas every time we get a new drop! I also love that we are repurposing a product that was meant to go to landfill, it is the most satisfying and fulfilling feeling seeing a garment come to life from a roll of fabric. It’s especially inspiring seeing the designers creative process and excitement over all the possibilities one fabric might lead to.
Have you noticed a shift in what kinds of fabric brands are working with in the last few years?
Definitely! Labels predominately focused on sustainability would previously steer towards natural fibres however in the last few years many labels have opened up to the idea of using synthetics like Polyesters and Triacetates in their range, especially when it is deadstock. These synthetic fibres have had a bad reputation because they don’t break down very easily however many of the designers we work with have made timeless pieces that will stand the test of time instead of overly trendy pieces that will eventually end up in landfill. Tencel has also been a highlight in the industry because it is more sustainable by using less dyes, water and energy to produce than traditional cottons and also uses less chemicals and has less of a negative environmental impact in general than viscoses and rayons.
What is your relationship with fashion like?
I have always had a conflicting relationship with fashion, especially fast fashion. I have tried my best not to be tempted into trends that fast fashion promotes and have rather had a knack for vintage and thrifted clothing - it felt only fitting when I got the job at wall Fabrics selling deadstock fabric. Over the years I have seen, learnt and had a feel of the Australian fashion industry, the amount of love, work and effort that is put into one garment is truly an eye opener. With this in mind I have learnt to take the time to look into all the labels that I purchase from and support mostly Australian labels who have consciously made their products with transparency and supporting the local Australian textiles and fashion industry.
Chelsea Manca has worked in the local fashion industry for many years in varying roles, she now specialises in pattern making for Australian labels.
What’s your background in fashion?
I Studied fashion at East Sydney TAFE, the year after completing my HSC and I loved every minute of it. I later went on to study fashion production at Ultimo TAFE after a few years in the industry to hone in on my skills. Whist studying at East Sydney, I found myself a job in Paddington as a wholesale assistant/production assistant for a boutique Australian label that has it flagship store still in Paddington today. Through them, I found a very talented pattern maker that I later became an assistant to. This Talented pattern maker was kind to share her knowledge and gave me the courage to start my own freelance pattern making business when I was about 23. I owe a lot of thanks to the wonderful people at these two places as they helped me get a foot in the door, taught me so much and introduced me to contacts that lead me where I am today.
When did you start working as a pattern maker and why?
I started freelance pattern making when I was about 23, By age 25 I started my business, Scissors Paper Block. Whilst I was working as a production assistant, I learnt of the constant struggle to find a reliable and skilled pattern maker. As I had a love for fashion and a brain for maths, it was my calling. To this day I still love what I do and feel very lucky to work along side so many wonderful Australian designers.
What are some of the challenges when it comes to pattern making clothing for women?
Perfecting the fit to suit a wide range of women can be a challenge. As we all know, our wonderful bodies are all so different.
What’s your process when working on a new style?
I have a sit down and chat with my clients and talk through how they see the design. Many provide me with sketches, photos references or samples to help express their ideas. I then use one of my basic blocks to start doing the blue print, altering and adapting into the desired design. As I have worked the same clients for many years, I develop a feel and and understanding of what their label is about and how they like things to look.
What’s your favourite style to pattern make and why?
I love pattern making dresses the most - probably because I love to wear them more than anything.
How do you find working in a very female based industry? There sure are some wonderful gems in this industry. Such skilled and helpful women. I find that they understand the struggles and are always so supportive.