Since winning the SA Emerging Designer of the Year award last year, things have taken off for designer Alexandra Ireland and her local label, Necia. Recently, Alexandra was selected as a finalist in this years Launch Your Label Australia competition held in Sydney, where her collection will be judged among over 200 entries. We had a chat with Alexandra about the up coming competition and her journey so far.
What it would mean to win Launch Your Label Australia?
Winning this competition would be absolutely amazing for Necia. Just the exposure I will receive from showing my collection in Sydney is overwhelming, let alone winning the amazing prizes!
How did this journey all start for you?
I first became interested in fashion design when I was studying visual arts at university where I discovered my love for sketching and textiles. I studied an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE SA for three years, and decided to enter the Adelaide Fashion Festival's Emerging Designer Competition a year later. Winning the award has opened many doors for me and I am now looking forward to showcasing my collection in Sydney next month.
Necia is a women’s ready to wear label for the confident, sophisticated woman who is looking for practical pieces with an interesting design feature or detail. Modern silhouettes meet clean tailoring and interesting fabrication to create beautiful yet unique designs.
Who is the ideal Necia girl and why?
The ideal Necia girl is confident, stylish and driven and is not afraid to express her personality through her clothes. She is a woman who can make an outfit her own.
What has been the highlight of the Necia journey so far?
I think the biggest highlight so far would have to be winning the South Australian Emerging Designer Award last year. It has opened up so many opportunities for myself and my label, and of course being selected as one of 6 finalists in the Launch Your Label Australia competition.
What are the benefits of being a designer from Adelaide?
I think the Adelaide fashion scene is becoming bigger and better every year. Being an Adelaide designer, there are so many great opportunities and events for emerging designers to showcase their talent. I feel that SA has helped me to gain some great exposure and contacts that I may not have made so easily interstate.
What are some hurdles you’ve faced along the way and how did you overcome them?
I have had to overcome many hurdles as an emerging designer. Sometimes I can be my own enemy in a way that I often design above my knowledge in patterns and sewing, but it’s all about learning and problem solving. I don’t think it’s as satisfying and exciting if there is not a bit of problem solving along the way. A lack of funds has always been a hurdle that I have had to face, but it’s all about compromise, and making it work with what you have. Obstacles are a great way to learn from experience and grow stronger.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am working on a five-look collection for the Launch Your Label competition. This is definitely the biggest and most important project I have worked on to date. The amazing list of prizes and fantastic national exposure would really help me to take the next big step in the growth of my label. I am also working on a collection for the Adelaide Fashion Festival in October.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
There is nothing quite as striking as a crisp white shirt or tailored jacket. I am very inspired by those around me and have recently been keeping an eye on what women are wearing for work wear. I take inspiration from something I have been looking at or thinking about for quite a while and the ideas gradually builds from there.
What are some current, key seasonal trends?
Peplums are big right now and will be even bigger in the Spring/Summer to come. I have used this trend in several pieces of my collection. It is such a feminine and sophisticated look.
How do you see Necia in five years from now?
In five years from now I hope to see Necia set up in a larger studio space, maybe with a few team members on board, producing on a larger scale and stocking in several boutiques in Adelaide and interstate. It's a long road, but I am determined to get there.
What is some advice for an aspiring local designer?
Work hard! You need to be passionate and driven in what you are doing. It is not easy. Take every opportunity that you can to get yourself out there. You never know where an opportunity will take you and what fantastic contacts you will make. Also, social media is a great way to market yourself.