story / SARAH WRIGLEY
photography / BYRON SPENCER
stylist / IMOGEN WILSON
model / Rachel Rutt @ Chic Models
ALL CLOTHING KARLA SPETIC
Australian designer, Karla Spetic’s namesake brand challenges the constraints of the trend-determined fashion world. Her aesthetic is strangely seductive and unexpected as she draws inspiration from unique sources ranging from the work of pop art king Roy Lichtenstein to that of Miuccia Prada. Spetic stays true to her artistic identity while remaining accessible
and down to earth.
Your designs are playful, light, and unexpected. Can you talk about how fantasy factors into your work or how important a role imagination plays in fully conceptualizing a look?
When working on a new collection I usually have a character, a girl, in mind who embodies the idea behind the collection. This is really important in my work because it lets me become that girl escape into a fantasy world during the design process, in turn bringing the collection to life.
How do you deal with the stress of the temporality of the fashion world and the constant battle with being relevant? Do you abide by trends or do you just let your creative instinct lead you?
It’s important to know what is current in the fashion world but it is sometimes hard to break away from being absorbed by it and being able to disconnect in order to focus on your own fantasy. This is why I don’t buy magazines as often anymore as I feel it leads to collective consciousness. I prefer for my creative instinct to lead the way and focus what is close to me and relevant
in my mind.
Who are some of your style icons? What inspires your aesthetic?
It could be anyone at any given moment. It just depends on my mood and my desire at the time.
Do you have an ideal woman in mind when you are designing—a woman that embodies the Karla Spetic name?
Every collection is different but I always have a different girl in mind. I can’t say it would be one girl with certain qualities who is my labels ‘type’ of girl. I like the idea that she changes every season and grows.
What was your entrance into the fashion world like?
It was not planned it just seemed to have happened. It must have been in my sub conscious! I have always loved the arts and expressing myself creatively and it seemed like a natural progression after graduating. I think the fact I had a lot of people around me at the time, encouraging me to head in this direction made an impact, and made me take it more seriously that I
had initially planned. With such a vibrant crossing of different cultures, can you describe Australian street style
and fashion in general? Would you say in plays a large part in inspiring your work?
Do you think Australian fashion gets the recognition it deserves?
I think we have a very relaxed approach to fashion here in Australia. We are not as affected by the ‘hype’ that surrounds label overseas, and this I think transcends in our work. As far as recognition goes, I think knowledge and international support of Australian labels is becoming more prevalent. People like Taylor-Tomasi Hill, Natalie Joos, Susie Bubble, Candice Lake, Christine Centenera, Stevie Dance and so many others have all contributed in their own way to putting the Australian fashion industry and it’s designers on the map.
Can you name some of your favorite designers, current or from the past?
I really admire Miuccia Prada because she is fearless. I am fascinated how she is able to make ordinary and unattractive ideas so beautiful and desirable.
Your pop art pieces featuring Lichtenstein prints are amazing! Can you talk about how art and fashion combine for you?
I feel that art is very important in the fashion world. There is so much of it, which inspires my mood when approaching a collection. It’s often about the art and the artists as well- not just the by product of the work.
I read that you escaped Croatia during the late 1980s break up of Yugoslavia. If you don’t mind my asking, can you talk a little bit about your experience, your background? How does this turbulent past make you feel about your accomplishments as successful designer now?
I don’t really talk about this as I was quite young when it happened and I don’t remember.
Who were your favorite designers when you were young?
I never really followed fashion when I was young.
What is the biggest fashion fantasy you can think of?
I never thought of being included in a NY Magazine to start with! The prospect of expanding my brand at the moment is quite exciting- as I guess in a way- a fantasy.
Who has your fantasy wardrobe?
Natalie Joos. Which is incredible because she has worn some of my pieces during the fashion week circuit and she looks incredible every single time. Like they were made just for her.
Who would be your fantasy person alive or dead to dress?
There are so many wonderful people that I would love to see wearing my clothes. Miroslava Duma,
Poppy & Cara Delvigne, Karen Elson. Oh- and Grimes.