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Beyond the Bale : March 2019
The 2018 Woolmark Sponsorship Prize enabled student Valeska Dominguez at the Ultimo TAFE Fashion Design Studio in Sydney to access resources and knowledge to help her use Australian wool in her final collection. By supporting programs like this, AWI and The Woolmark Company encourage fashion designers to use Merino wool throughout their careers and therefore help support Australian wool’s premier place in the fashion industry. With twenty-five years- experience in graphic and jewellery design, Valeska Dominguez has turned her hand to fashion design – and she already has wind in her sails after winning the Woolmark Sponsorship Prize at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney. Valeska was supported throughout her final year of studies by being provided with connections, funding, mentorship and industry and fibre information. “Going into The Woolmark Company office in Sydney and meeting with the team there was really pivotal for me in designing this collection,” Valeska said. “I was exposed to a wide range of information and could view The Wool Lab which is compiled by The Woolmark Company and displays the current season’s best wool fabrics from around the world.” This exposure to the unique features of Australian Merino wool ignited her passion for sustainable fashion designed and produced in Australia – and her final collection created for her label VALESKA embodies this passion. It features 100% Merino wool knit jersey dresses, 100% Merino superfine wool suiting, 100% Merino wool crepe skirts as well as a range of wool/ silk and wool/cashmere blends. The collection has already attracted praise from throughout the industry. Valeska was awarded dux of her year at the Ultimo TAFE Fashion Design Studio and her collection will be showcased at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in May. Furthermore, the Powerhouse Museum (MAAS) has chosen to exhibit two of the VALESKA pieces as part of an ‘Australia’s emerging fashion designers’ exhibition from March through July. INSPIRED BY THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE Focussed on designing a quintessentially Australian luxury brand, the VALESKA 2019 collection showcases Australian Merino wool with its structural influences derived from the iconic architecture of the Sydney Opera House. Valeska explained that she was drawn to the Sydney Opera House as, like Merino wool, it holds an important place in Australia’s identity and the design draws on nature as inspiration. “As a Sydneysider, I have grown up alongside this magnificent building and have been intrigued by Jorn Uzton’s architectural approach. In designing the iconic building, Uzton turned to nature, designing the building to mimic the growth patterns of nature,” Valeska explained. “As a designer, the interior is every bit as inspiring to me as the exterior. I love the bold use of colour, most notably the famous purple staircase in the Northern Foyer, and the bold red used to upholster the Concert Hall seats. What is most intriguing is that these iconic interiors have all been produced will Australian Merino wool.” Valeska went on to research the place of Merino wool in Australia’s identity and found a rich history. “I believe Merino wool is our nation’s greatest natural resource,” enthused Valeska. SETTING SAIL FOR FASHION SUCCESS OFF FARM 29
In the Shops - March 2019