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Bright Lights From Down Under
Posted by Laurie van Jonsson | September 4, 2012

As Melbourne Fashion week makes an appearance this week (Sept. 3-9), I’m excited to head down to see what new lingerie brands stand out. (Dita von Teese showcased her range ‘Von Follies’ last March at Melbourne Fashion Week.)
  
A walk down Brunswick Street is littered with so many independent designers it seems near impossible to pick out my favourite. But two stand out: Hopeless Lingerie by Gabrielle Adamidis and newcomer Light Years by Annika Seidel.

Having owned an independent label myself, I’m always fascinated about the person behind the label. So today I catch up with these two Melbourne designers to learn more about their designs and a little more about themselves, and what it takes to become a lingerie designer in Melbourne.

HOPELESS LINGERIE 

Hopeless Lingerie (www.hopelesslingerie.com.au)  debuted in 2008 and was featured in Marie Claire earlier this year. It launched with a very soft and romantic collection, however Adamidis is not afraid, much to my delight, to let her label evolve, and her designs have been much harder and tougher as of late. Each season, Hopeless Lingerie keeps reinventing itself and gets stronger and stronger. I look forward to where it will head next.
 
LvJ: Did you have any formal lingerie design before launching Hopeless Lingerie?
Gabrielle Adamidis: No. In terms of lingerie I am completely self-taught. I studied art history and then fashion after high school. We learned how to sew and make patterns, but there was no lingerie component whatsoever. I have had to figure that all out for myself using the skills they gave me. It has been a lot of trial, error and frustration!
 
LvJ: What the hardest part about being a designer in Australia?

GA: I feel very isolated in terms of the lingerie world. I would love to be in New York, or London, where the industry is much bigger. I am very grateful for the internet — where I can interact with people — but it’s not the same as being in the same city. It is also very hard to find supplies here; the market is so small so it is understandable, I suppose. 
 
LvJ: What three things have inspired you lately?
GA: The Beach, German Expressionist cinema, the work of Frank Stella. 
 
LvJ: What do you love about your studio?
GA: It’s at home and it looks out onto the beautiful green backyard.
 
LvJ: What is your favourite part of the day?
GA: The morning, when I make my coffee and settle in to sew for the day
 
LvJ: What 3 things define beauty to you in a woman?
GA: Uniqueness, intelligence, confidence.

Here are some examples of Gaby’s recent works:

LIGHT YEARS

Light Years (www.lightyears.com.au) launched earlier this year with such a breathtaking collection that you would think Annika Seidel had been doing this for years.

As with all new labels, those that have been there will appreciate the time and dedication that goes into a launch of a brand and Seidel’s story is no different. With no contacts in manufacturing or retail, she worked on her brand for two years before launching Light Years earlier this year.

Designed to fill the gap between boring basics and ultra feminine styles, her designs use angular seaming, colour blocking and subtle stud details to keep the garments interesting without being girly.
 
LvJ: Did you have any formal lingerie design before launching Light Years?
Annika Seidel: No, I have no formal lingerie design training. In previous jobs I’d designed textiles, menswear and sleepwear, so I had an idea of the design and production process, but had never designed lingerie prior to this project. Nobody was making the kind of lingerie I wanted to wear so I thought I should do something about it.
 
LvJ: What is your dream?
AS: To go to Iceland! Maybe next year… 
 
LvJ: Do you listen to music while you work? If so, who?
AS: I alternate between listening to music and watching documentaries online. Lately I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean, Gnarls Barkley and Paul Simon and watching the Sunday Best series on ABC.
 
LvJ: What three things have inspired you lately?
AS: My first visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Tassie a couple of weeks ago, classic movies from the 60s, and The Apiary’s amazing ideas for the next Light Years film.
 
LvJ: What is your favourite part of the day?
AS: Getting a hug from my boyfriend as I wake up in the morning.
 
LvJ: What are your top goals in your brand?
AS: To create cool, fun lingerie for girls who fall between the cracks of mainstream fashion.  And to have a good time doing it! 
 
LvJ: What three things define beauty in a woman?
AS: Confidence, a sense of fun and a great sense of style.

Here’s a look at pieces from Annika’s debut collection.

Laurie van Jonsson operated the independent label Vanjo Lingerie from 2005-2009, and is the author of the new book How To Become A Lingerie Designer. She lives in Melbourne.

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