The Graduates

With designers like Jaime Lee, Zhivago and Dyspnea hailing from our side of the country, there seems to be something in the water in WA…  and it’s coming directly from our fashion schools! We go ahead and take a look at the most promising fashion design talent in WA, with our XF Gradmate Award, recognising the top 2013 graduates from Central Institute, Polytechnic Institute, Edith Cowan University and Curtin University.

Photgraphy: Dhyan & Benjamin


Charissa Schlink
Polytechnic Institute

Drawing inspiration from vintage vases and textural peonies, Charissa’s final collection titled, Flourish, was all about discovering charms in quirky treasures but then giving it an opulent twist. She mixes delicate gold trim with beautiful blooms and vintage style polka dots all in exaggerated feminine silhouettes leaving every piece looking like a mixture of Marie Antoinette meets Nanna’s Closet. Not a stickler for rules or taking fashion too seriously Charissa’s collection has a super fun and light hearted approach, with just enough detail and handy work for it to look high end.



Meg Isabella Hewett
Edith Cowan University

Having been taught sewing by her grandmother, Meg has dabbled in dressmaking and textiles all through her youth and her experience and knowledge shows. Her graduate collection, Niesko, took influence from the scenic landscapes of Mount Niesko in Japan but was done in a very subtle way, with Meg using textures, tones and images to tell the story. The showstopper in the collection was an amazingly grey mix woollen dress, with lengths of fabric, interesting pleat work and a snow-like hand- embroidered embellishment at the hem of the dress. The discrete details in this subdued collection, gave it an almost ethereal quality, making it a stand out from the pack.


Jessica Wang

Central Institute

Ever had one of those dreams that feel so real even though something ridiculous is transpiring?  This is exactly what Jessica Wang’s graduate collection, Lucid Dreaming, centres around – a state where the mind is awake and where dreams are like reality. Colours pulse unexpectedly through her garments like brain waves on interesting textures such as PVC and sheer organza, but then small hints of grey add a calming effect to all the action. What kept this collection fresh was Jessica’s unexpected experimentation of shapes and movement, creating new and daring silhouettes which you can imagine easily being rocked at fashion week by the likes of Susie Bubble or some other effortlessly cool but OTT blogger.



Kezia Soedjono

Curtin University

Kezia may only be 20 but her knowledge and love of couture finishes makes her work feel like she has been in the industry for a very, very long time. She has an interesting vision, with her final year collection a presentation of beautiful but unconventional wedding-like dresses in avant-garde textures, featuring three-dimensional forms and innovative fabric manipulations. We were frothing over her sheer mesh panels, dramatic organza folds, dense hand beading and delicate appliqués, but the best thing about Kezia’s pieces was the movement, with all dresses bouncing ever so lightly. Definitely keep an eye on this girl, as we are dubbing her the next Matechevski.