“You can’t build a reputation on
what you’re going to do.”
Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company

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Screenhaus ACCESS 3 Newsletter Feature Article.FEATURE STORY – Donna Sgro, ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and the Shinmai Creators Project

Donna Sgro, Sydney fashion designer – has recently ventured into Japan with the Shinmai Creators Project. One of 5 designers choosen worldwide she has just completed her collection (shown in part at the last OPENHAUS) and just featured at Japan Fashion Week – Her collection will be on the 1st floor podium at Isetan Department Store in Tokyo from 10th June.

See shots to the left of some of Donnas’ latest collection ‘Octopus’s Garden’

Here – we ask Donna some questions about th e ride so far.

SH – Q – Could you tell us about The Shinmai Creators Project and how you came to get accepted
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DS – A – I found out about the SHINMAI Creator’s Project via a UK designer networking website I am part of – www.notjustalabel.com. The competition offered such an amazing opportunity for new brands to be introduced into the Japanese market that I thought it couldn’t hurt to try out. The competition offered a budget for Japanese fabrics, the full production of a catwalk show at the 8th Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo, business support with sales exhibition at JFW, accommodation and travel for the designer and assistant. There were about 60 applications received around the world and originally the committee was looking to choose 3 brands to introduce. We needed to submit a portfolio of work, information about our brand and reasons why Japan was of interest to our brands. We also needed a recommendation from a past professor at our university of study. As it happened, I was contacted in early October last year after the 3 applicants had been chosen to see if I would still be interested in coming to Japan as JFW had decided to in fact take 5 brands as they couldn’t decide just on 3. This was such amazing news to me and I was flown to Tokyo 2 weeks later to visit Japan Creation to source fabrics for the range.

SH – Q – How do you create a collection – can you give us an insight into your latest collection ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and how it came together –
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DS – A – As a fashion and textile designer, I always design with fabrics or textile applications in mind. I started with a strong visual theme for this range derived from images I had found of the strange creatures – such as mini octopuses and jellyfishes – that live in the deepest, dark sea. Sourcing my fabrics was critical to how the range came together. I was looking for fabrics that had qualities that would communicate about my theme – fabrics that had liquid effects of reflection and fluidity, and fabrics that could layer together and be seen through to give jellyfish like effects. I also wanted to punctuate the range with popping colours, details that would link back to the creatures of the sea that can illuminate and disappear so quickly into the darkness. I received sponsorship from several Japanese companies for fabrications for the range, also from Shindo the textile trim company. Some of the trims have light reflective qualities and may appear to be seen at night. I was also still wanting to tie the range together with a strong textile print, so worked on a design derived from the textural skins of squids and octopuses to create my Squid Print – which Screenhaus printed in different colourways across different fabrics I sourced from Japan.

SH – Q – These things take on an entirely new light when you’re in the thick of it – after months of making, liason and packing and sorting here in Australia – how was Tokyo?
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DS – A – Ha! Everything I could hope for and more! Tokyo is an amazing city and one I know I want to return to many times again. I feel I have only had a small taste of a place that would continually reveal itself every time you return. It is such an energetic city, one that is a real mix of technology and tradition. I have had such a wonderful experience meeting with all the Japanese companies who have assisted me throughout SHINMAI and received such generosity from people I hardly know that want to support my brand, it has been quite humbling. Tokyo was also such a great place to make new contacts with the other designers who participated in SHINMAI, we all really had a great time.

Donnas’ website is at – http://www.donnasgro.com

The Japan Fashion Week /
Shinmai Creators Project link is – http://jfw-o.jp/en/shinmai/index.html