Olivia Goonatillake, RMIT

When asked about her first experiences with fashion, Olivia Goontallake reminisced about her childhood. “I have been making things since I was a little girl. I remember sewing clothes for my teddies and making dress-ups using my mum’s old rickety sewing machine, which sparked a life long obsession with creating,” she related. Now, as a graduate from RMIT University with an Honors degree in Fashion Design, Goontallake has applied her natural creativity with wise words from her mentors into the graduate collection shown at iD Fashion Week. “The most valuable thing I learnt was to let your imagination run wild and worry about parring it back later. To push the boundaries of what you consider fashion, how can you blur the lines between fashion and art?

The emerging designer presented five looks for the runway of iD Dunedin Fashion Week, which utilised a unique array of techniques and unusual materials. “I was especially inspired by special effect techniques such as silicone, body casting and resin, and I tried to figure out a way to translate these effects onto the body,” shared Goontallake.  “Throughout the collection, I used resin and fabric to mould rigid garments and body casting to create resin body doubles. The overall effect was jarring, and I loved that uncomfortable reaction.” Goontallake expressed her love for creating garments, and the creative process of making art out of nothing. “Being able to experiment with a tangible, physical product encouraged me to be more creative with what I was making. Making things is a lot more enticing to me than sitting down and drawing out ideas.” The emerging designer recognised the skill it took to design an outfit but communicated the important place she felt sewing and practical skills have in the industry. “If we were to lose the art of sewing, we would be losing a huge amount of knowledge that has been perfected over decades. These skills are invaluable.”