I want to start off by saying a massive thank you to all involved, especially the MFWPlus team, Bella Model Management, Iridis Cosmetics, the independent models, the backstage dressers, all of the photographers - especially Jessie Obialor, my models - Kadeisha, Amalie, and Natasha, and all of those who came to the event - especially my family and close friends who travelled far and wide. Finally, a big thank you to my boyfriend for helping me piece everything together and running around and buying me last minute supplies – you are amazing.
It started back in May when I had a stall at A+ Market; a market dedicated to plus sized fashion. This beautiful and bubbly girl named Elyse approached me. She asked me to be apart of this. I said yes. It was friendship at first sight. I remember being so excited that day because I've had ideas flowing inside me for so long and I just wanted a platform where I could showcase them and in the process, represent so many women who get left out of the fashion industry.
I went to work right away - I sketched, and sketched, and sketched. This went on for a few weeks. Then I did some more research and created some more mood boards, as I wanted to make sure that it was my best work.
My top inspirations were Morocco, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Malaysia. As well as these countries, I also researched Masjid's from all over the world, as they are pure creation. The photograph below is one I took on a trip to Malaysia at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque in Shah Alam
Another Inspiration of mine is Erykah Badu. She is such an individual and her music has so much soul and is so uniquely her. This is one of the reasons I chose her song, 'The Healer', to be my runway track. Her and Lauryn Hill are two women I look up to daily.
After I had a fairly solid feel of my colour palette and designs, I went to my favourite fabrics stores and got samples - a lot of samples. I placed them against my sketches to see what would work and started slowly collecting my fabric for each outfit.
The next step was pattern making. I spent about a month working on this, and then I got straight into cutting my fabrics and sewing it all together. It was about 3 weeks away from the runway night and I'd finished making the kimono jacket that my last model, Kadeisha, wore. Now when I bought the fabric for this jacket it looked a lot different. I was looking at it on my mannequin and something wasn't quite right. It looked like a hospital gown. I was freaking out. I was going to throw it in the bin, buy new fabric and start again. Then I picked up this little packet of purple dye that I had 0% hope in and wished for the best. And the results payed off!
I spent the final two weeks buried in my apartment. When I wasn't working at my full-time job I was at home sewing. It was exhausting but I loved every minute and every night I went to bed so excited for the next day to come. I would plan and dream about fabrics, jewellery and turbans.
In the last week I squeezed in model fittings and last minute hems. I went to the launch party on the Thursday night and it was so amazing to meet so many gorgeous women and get such positive feedback.
On the Friday - runway day - my best friend, Scott, arrived all the way from Canberra and my parents, Russell and Maree, made the journey from my hometown, Bulahdelah in NSW. It sounds incredibly country and it is. I don't know how I ended up like this [laughs]. We were out and about all day in the city and we headed back to my apartment in the afternoon where I worked on some last minute prep that I'd put to the side - my outfit! I was sewing up to the very last minute that we had to be at the venue.
Backstage was a buzz. I just had to add the final touches to my beautiful models and that was the jewellery and headpieces. So many people wanted our photo and were interested in my designs. It was such an amazing feeling!
When I saw my name come onto the screen there were so many feelings going on inside me. I wanted to create something that is hard for so many women to find- stylish modest fashion. When Natasha walked down the runway first I was in awe, she looked like a goddess. I couldn't take photos or videos myself because I just wanted to watch my models walk the runway in my designs. Amalie walked down second and she slayed so hard in that turban. She looked so strong and fierce. Kadeisha walked last and that jacket suited her so well against her beautiful complexion. I am so proud and beyond happy with all of my designs and even happier I got such gorgeous models to wear them.
It was probably the best night of my life and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I'd like to dedicate this post to all this sisters with alopecia. You are not alone and things will get better. And also to the woman in France who was forced to take off her burkini at the beach. If a woman wants to dress modestly, she shouldn’t be constantly questioned or policed about it. Wear what ever empowers you!