The Line Up
An elevator ride through Building 8 takes me to the infamous Level 10.
With a whole lot of coffee, ice-cream runs to 7-eleven and impromptu dancing around tables, Level 10 is a hub of creation, innovation and a little crazy. The space is reserved for fourth year students of RMIT’s Fashion Design (Honours) degree (just don’t tell anyone I’m here).
Stress and moods run high at times. Dubbed ‘special time’, frenzies typically seen at fashion week are common. But with movie screenings and birthday festivities, it’s a supportive community that breeds talented creatives.
“It’s a passionate, unique space,” Grace Alateras says.
Grace, described as an “overarching everything”, makes up one part of a five-pronged group. Grace’s practice focuses on the re-conceptualisation of modern street wear. Her graduate collection, Eponymous, focuses on the dissemination of the ‘logo’, and the ways in which branding can be physically embedded into menswear.
But what’s this elusive group I speak of, you ask?
‘The Line Up’ was born of a group assignment last semester. The project focused on doing a mock-showcase, to explore the ways in which students disseminate their work. The showcase’s execution was never a part of the assignment, but those behind The Line Up are taking it to the next level to manifest their idea into an actual event. With the name conceived of a Google search, the collaborative work of Grace Alateras, Madeleine Sinco, Katie Barter, Alinda Tralongo and Victoria Bliss is set to make a big fashion statement.
“It’s been the best group assignment all of us have ever worked in,” Madeleine says.
Madeleine Sinco plays on the notion of nostalgia in her designs, utilising personal memories and drawing on emotions as the basis of her ideas. In the process, Madeleine diffuses sentiment through her practice, creating an ageless aesthetic through the fusion of young and old. Walking Backwards Into the Future features phrases like ‘Forever gold never old’ sequinned onto garments.
“It’s so rare to be able to do a showcase,” Katie says.
Unless you’re a student of London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins, that is. Katie Barter tests alternative processes of wear within garments and accessories, exploring the relationship between the body and cloth. In Handle With Wear, Katie creates tactical experiences that enhance notions of intimacy. The collection stands as a visual language of touch.
Forever New scholarship recipient, Victoria Bliss, explores the innovations that come about through the relationship between European and Australian fashion cultures. Her collection, Indomitable, is inspired by the history of Scotland, the Jacobite rebellion and the battle for gender equality. The themes are manifested through tartan, pleating and weathered chain, a nod to identity and heritage.
The group’s final member, Alinda Tralongo, exposes the figure within the clothes through the use of layering techniques. Her collection, Fragmented Perceptions, focuses on an individual’s perception and desires of the ideal body and its proportions. Neon is coupled with reflective embellishments, reinforcing the collections name, with no full image reflected in each surface. In essence, the collection both hides and exposes the body.
The Line Up will be a two-part event, fusing runway and exhibition to create a uniquely interactive experience. It will marry the five designers collections in one space, offering a platform to showcase their work to industry figures outside of the university sphere.
“That’s why we called it an interactive runway. It’s a non traditional event. It will be interesting to see the transition of people actually getting to view the projects in a much more in depth matter than flashing past them on the runway, and digest them and talk to us,” Grace says.
But with all of their collections visually different, the cohesion will be more subtle, drawing on the similarities in design processes and attitudes.
“I don’t think has to be a lineage between all our work, it’s so beautiful that everything is different. We’re not all doing bridal wear or activewear,” Katie says.
The event will be hosted in L1 studios, which will provide a “blank canvas” for the designers to make what they want of the space. The raw quality of the unpainted walls, concrete and hardwood floors, provides the perfect union of a grungy yet polished aesthetic. Much like the view from Level 10, the buildings of Melbourne’s CBD are visible from the rooftop with the night sky providing the backdrop to the runway.
“L1 is such an amazing hub of creativity, and to have the opportunity to exhibit our work on the rooftop right in the CBD among the Melbourne skyline is a really nice homage to our four years at RMIT. To present The Line Up at dusk in the multi-storey venue will be a really rewarding moment for us all,” Victoria says.
A designer’s collection is often “there and gone within a minute and 25 seconds” on a runway. The event’s post-runway exhibition will provide guests with a chance to further explore the meaning behind each project. An interaction can be made with both the designer and their pieces to start a conversation around the work.
“That’s what sets RMIT apart. We’re not just encouraged to design things because they’re a pretty colour and a nice cut. There’s meaning behind all of it, a backstory,” Madeleine says.
“There’s a back novel,” Grace adds.
To facilitate the event, the group used the crowdfunding platform, Pozible. The campaign gained a lot of traction once Australian photographer, Sonny Vandevelde, was snatched for the show. You know the photos are going to be more than just Instagram-worthy, with Sonny having shot backstage for all the high-end couture houses like Chanel, Dior and Prada.
“It’s been insane, we have an overwhelming amount of support,” Grace says.
The Line Up succeeded in raising the entirety of their budget in the first five days the campaign was released to the public. Not forgetting to mention the long list of sponsors they scored for the event, including Green Kettle Brewery, Four Pillars Gin, Cobs Popcorn, Creffields Digital Print, Made Group, Making Media, Nelson Alexander, Design Make Produce, So Textiles, makeup by Yves Saint Laurent and hair by Redken.
With a thesis to write, graduate collections complete, countless emails to reply to and a group chat with over 100 messages an hour, there’s much to be done before that bottle of Green Kettle Brew can be popped.
“You’ll be putting in zips and replying to an email simultaneously,” Alinda says.
Because they’re students too and they understand that money is often, at times, nonexistent, they’ve made pricing options to satisfy our sad little bank accounts.
“We wanted it to be affordable because know that most of the audience is going to be our peers. It’s the price of a coffee,” Madeleine says.
The show’s definitely worth forfeiting one morning’s dose of caffeine for.