The Sydney Fashion scene is an ever-changing landscape of innovation and creativity. It takes young blood to shake things up and push new directions in re-defining Austalian Fashion.
Meet Sydney based designer Mr Yousef Akbar. Upon launching his first Spring Summer 2015 collection at Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week, this designer is definitely one to watch. His highly conceptual collection breaks the boundaries of traditional tailoring and challenges the concept of classic silhouettes, yet his clean fluid design lines make each statement pieces utterly wearable.
BYO caught up with Yousef to take a closer look and a walk through his collection off the runway.
BYO: Describe your signature?
Yousef: I like to focus on cut and color in every collection regardless of the theme. It’s about creating new cuts that are not conventional. It has always been my strong point to develop new silhouettes and do things which were not taught.
BYO: Tell us about the inspiration for your latest collection?
Yousef: My latest collection is inspired by British Artist Francis Bacon. I first saw his works at the retrospective exhibition when it was in Sydney at the end of 2012 / beginning 2013 and I was so impressed by it.
I just saw the way he worked, he would rip up faces of the people he would paint, re arrange and distort them but you could still recognize the person without it getting lost.
I did the same thing with this current collection, I would take a picture of a simple dress and rip it and rearrange it to see what lines it would make. These new lines would make the seams, the panel lines or a new silhouette. I would see shapes come to surface. There was a lot of experimentation.
I also like the combinations of colours used, the contrast and harmony. He (Francis Bacon) also painted his subjects inside glass cubes, which gave me the idea of the Perspex rods in my collection. The rods are actually holding a lot of the pieces together. They act as a closure.
BYO: What would you say are the key materials in the collection?
Yousef: Definitely the Perspex, I have digitally printed and bonded a lot of my own fabrics so there are a lot of bonded fabrics, ombre and sequins.
BYO: How did you get into Fashion?
Yousef: I never thought to study fashion.
I always loved fashion, when I was a little kid I used to cut off my sleeves, paint a palm print on my t-shirts and my mum used to get so mad, but I never knew you could study it.
I came to Australia to study a business degree. I originally studied a Bachelor and Masters of Logistics. Then one day I saw an ad on Facebook to study fashion and I had to look into it further.
BYO: Tell us about your world?
Yousef: Usually I never wake up early … this (interview) is the first thing I’m doing today but I sleep very late around 4 - 5am
I’m always reading about new things and gaining inspiration from history and art.
At the moment I’m reading about the Egyptian dynasty, the kings and queens of Egypt during the Victorian era. I find it quite interesting
If I am working on a collection, my day will be 100% from waking up to sleep, focused on the collection. The times I’m not working on designing a collection I’m promoting my collection or sales and sending emails.
It’s not that exciting, just my friends and I. It looks very exciting but it’s really not.
BYO: What are the challenges you have faced as a designer?
Yousef: Finding out after graduating that the bubble of school is so different to getting out into the industry. I can’t stress and describe how different it is.
People have always said it’s going to be difficult and the Fashion industry is not easy to get into.
I showed my collection at Fashion Week and received great press. I received a lot of interest from overseas however I found Australian shops and buyers are reluctant to support new designers.
When I was a student I was always worried that press would be difficult but press has been so supportive.
BYO: You’ve made such a great impact for your first season.
Yousef: Despite the challenges the one thing I am sure of is that I’m not stopping.
I just have to keep true to myself and I can’t lose my aesthetic.
BYO: Who would you say are the people who inspire you or muses?
Yousef: There isn’t a particular person, but the people who inspire me are the people I love, my friends, my mother, my mother is such a strong woman. In terms of creative muses I love the notion of people in power, kings and queens, emperors. I always find them fascinating.
Muses are always changing, honestly depending on my mood, sometimes it will be an actress, sometimes a singer, it really just depends.
BYO: What’s next for your label?
Yousef: Hopefully continue to do womenswear and 100% do menswear.
I design my own personal menswear so I definitely need to bring that out.
BYO: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Yousef: Nick Knight of Showstudio. He is the one who pioneered the whole revolution of Fashion film and photography, he’s the one who made it so big. I think he is so clever with the way he shoots his videos and his photography is amazing.
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