First published in Catalyst Magazine ‘The Synthetic Issue’: Issue 1, Edition 72 under Regulars: Fashion
Designer Spotlight: Bella McGoldrick
A new year brings the promise of golden opportunities, a gym membership and countless green smoothies. For RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) graduate students Bella McGoldrick and MeiMei Xu, 2016 is a year to plan, promote and create. While others are hitting the pavement, these graduates are forging a path to greatness.
Multi-hyphenate Bella McGoldrick (designer, illustrator and all-round cool girl) is enjoying a less busy schedule having graduated from RMIT last year.
“It’s not what you think fashion is,” McGoldrick says.
“Everyone’s running off zero sleep, coming in their pyjamas. It’s disaster zone all the time with roaring fights with security guards, and so much coffee and KFC.”
McGoldrick’s successful graduate collection earned her a spot on the catwalk, with her garments gracing the runway at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2015.
Excessive Elegance explored the “loss of fashion through the fashion image”; the ways in which clever marketing can make an unwearable product desirable. Cue purple and fluro yellow feathers and heavy embellishment.
It’s the “shove it in your face” style of McGoldrick’s designs that make them unique. That’s not to say she wasn’t questioned.
“I want people to feel uncomfortable,” she says.
“What I learnt from my final year is to trust yourself. There will always be people who don’t like your stuff, but the only way it’s ever going to be truly successful is if it’s purely you.”
Already having spent part of her course in Paris (winning the Sophie Hallette prize at the Paris College of Art) McGoldrick is jetting off to New York in June. Taking advantage of her J-1 Visa, she’ll be staying in a tiny apartment and woking at a bar or in retail to get her through. Fashion over dinner? Always.
With her name already sprawled across a billboard she had made for her graduate presentation, McGoldrick is gaining international recognition.
A personal Instagram already worth gawking at, it’s Bella’s second page (@bm.illustrations) dedicated to her fashion illustrations that is all kinds of lust worthy. Her hobby-turned-business began with friends’ birthday cards, now moving on to McGoldrick gaining corporate gigs. Supermodel of the moment Gigi Hadid even gave her a like. Coincidence that she shares the same name as Gigi’s sister? Pure fashion destiny.
Designer Spotlight: MeiMei Xu
Moving to Australia eight years ago from her birthplace in Beijing, China, fellow graduate MeiMei Xu is making a name for herself on local ground.
Having just returned from a well deserved holiday back home, Xu is back exercising her creativity once again. In a period she describes as the “time to show off,” Xu is busy researching and designing projects for her own label.
“I often get inspired from loving others and being loved,” Xu says.
“I am visiting many art galleries and museums, enjoying admiring good art.”
In a world where a “thumbs up” Like constitutes fashion’s worth, an ability to narrate and question is something of a rarity. Xu’s designs are more than a pretty dress on a rack.
“I design pieces that can narrate a certain mood through their details,” she says.
“I want to design things that question superficial artificiality and express the simplicity of being beautiful.”
“Intense, inspiring, rich and challenging” sum up Xu’s four years at RMIT. Xu tells me she is sad that she no longer has access to RMIT’s special machines. But who needs a machine when you’ve got Xu’s imagination?
Her graduate collection WRAPPAGE featured six outfits that demonstrated the act of unwrapping a carefully wrapped package, from bubble wrap to gold lining.
Exploring physical and psychological notions of concealing and wrapping oneself, Xu wanted to highlight the “excitement, curiosity, fragility and vulnerability behind layers of packaging”.
Though Xu’s designs may grace the word ‘fragile,’ her career accolades say otherwise. Fashion Journal, Broadsheet and METAL magazine form only a sample of the publications she’s been featured in. Recently, her short film STIUS featuring her second year collection was nominated as one of the finalists for the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival’s Fashion Film Series for 2016.
“I was lucky enough to be involved throughout the entire process: script writing, soundtrack composing, sound designing, film editing. It involved lots of conversations, late nights and many amazing people who I look up to and love,” she says.
With Xu describing fashion and film as the “perfect couple,” her and the STIUS team “definitely long to collaborate again”.