|(Photos by me, the last by Steven)
Last Friday I had the great pleasure of attending the exclusive showcase of the new 2011 collection from Megan Gale’s very own swimwear label, Isola by Megan Gale, held at the Sunburn at Broadbeach, on the Gold Coast. The collection itself was a stunning array of vintage prints, bright hues, high-fashion silhouettes and structured designs, lending the pieces perfectly to the runway. The eclectic mix of tropical, leopard, snakeskin and digital floral prints was balanced by structured silhouettes and sophisticated designs, forming a cohesive and entirely wearable range of summer separates.
As the official Isola blogger for the evening, I had the opportunity to speak with the lovely Megan herself about the inspiration behind the line, and she was all too happy to share some wisdom from her experiences in the fashion industry as well. So for those of you wanting some first-hand advice on surviving the industry from one incredibly influential woman in Australian fashion, read on…
What is the philosophy behind the Isola by Megan Gale range?
The way I want women to view it is that they can get a swimsuit with Isola that is a fantastic fit, and the reason why it is such a fantastic fit is the fact that we do the range with separates. You therefore have the ability to design or create your own swimsuit. You’re not restricted in terms of size or getting something that is ill-fitting, you can actually get the size that suits your proportions. Another benefit of separates is being able to create your own swimsuit in design and colour as well. There’s such a great trend in colour-blocking this summer that you can mix and match two colours, or plain with prints and really have fun with different styles.
Another thing I wanted to accomplish with this range was designing fantastic high-quality, beautiful garments for bigger-busted women. A lot of [my stockists] said they were lacking great summer beach styles that aren’t just supportive but also have hanger appeal, because for some reason the double-D styles that were out there were very heavy and cumbersome and almost like sports-bras and it was as if that double-D market had been forgotten about or neglected to a degree. So I thought one possible area that I could really concentrate on [was] making sure there were some really beautiful, stylish and sophisticated styles that are also supportive. And it’s not just women in their 30s, 40s and 50s; it’s teenage girls, and they want to be going down to the beach and wearing something that’s similar to what their girlfriends are wearing, like a leopard print or a snakeskin that has beautiful thin straps, and is not going to look like something that maybe their mum would wear. So I thought that was really something I should focus on.
How do you go about the whole creative design process for each line? Where do you draw inspiration from?
You do try to think of what trends are going to be moving through. Obviously Europe and the US are a whole season ahead so they kind of really set the pace for everyone, and you can see what’s going to be popular in terms of prints, colours and silhouettes. You can’t do everything, so you’ve got to try and decide what’s appropriate for Isola as a brand and what suits your particular customer as well. I mean, there were some trends where I thought ‘that’s just not Isola at all and I don’t even want to go down that path’ but then you think something might fit really well, like tropical prints and fruits and foliage, and these gorgeous citrus-y tones, then animal and leopard and snakeskin, and I think ‘that’s Isola, that’s something I really want to focus on’. That’s why the colours for the California Vintage story were comprised of three prints, because that is what I felt was the strongest trend for Isola.
Then, in addition to that, you look at silhouettes like the balconette bra, the high-waisted pant – the trends you know everybody is going to do, so if you don’t pick up on it you don’t look like you’ve got your finger on the pulse. Then again, [these silhouettes] are a little bit more niche, which is why I don’t put those in every single story because they’re not really a commercial style, but you still have to have them in there for those girls who are really trend-driven and want whatever the latest thing is.
What style tips are you most looking forward to utilizing this summer?
I think one of the most important things you can have as a woman is confidence. There’s no point in trying something if you don’t have the confidence. I think there are a lot of women who might like something but they’re doubtful they can pull it off, and once you have that doubt there it is never going to work because you won’t emit that kind of confidence or energy that’s going to carry you through with that style. Another thing is to really make sure you buy something that fits really, really well and that’s flattering. I think women sometimes get fixated on what size number is on the tag – don’t pay any attention to what’s on the tag, just make sure that it fits. I myself have sizes 8, 10 and 12 in my wardrobe because all designers have different sizing. It’s really important for women not to get fixated on what the size is: just make sure it fits and make sure you love it, have confidence, and everything will be great.
You have managed to carve out an extremely successful career in an industry where it is routinely difficult to find success. What has been the toughest lesson you have learnt in the course of your career?
I think the first thing, especially early on, was not to take rejection too seriously. That’s why they say you have to have very thick skin to be a model because you do get rejected a lot. Every time you go to a casting and you don’t get a job, that can send a message to you that something physically about you isn’t right – whether it’s your eye colour or your hair colour or your height, whatever it might be – and it could potentially wear you down and make you really self-conscious. I learnt really early on not to take those knockbacks too personally, even though it was deflating, and you know I got knocked back a lot in my first five years so you really just have to believe in yourself.
One of the biggest things I learnt too was to be absolutely professional at all times. I think with models, and anyone in that kind of industry, what is really important to remember is that you’re not any more or less important than anyone else on the job – everyone has their job on set and nothing gets done without every single member of the crew. So that’s something I would say to any young model: don’t believe that you are any more or less important than anyone else on a job, and always treat everyone with respect.
So what advice would you give young girls and guys looking to break into, and ultimately survive, the world of fashion? What would you tell a younger version of yourself now you know what you know?
Just don’t give up. If you’re really enthusiastic about it and you’re really serious about it as a career, don’t give up and don’t get caught up…with silly things. There’s so much more to this business – and it is a business. You really have to start to think of yourself as a brand and be really smart about the choices in your jobs, be smart when you’re dealing with your agent, be smart when your dealing with your clients, and really think of yourself as a business and how you are going to market yourself. You’re almost a product, and you really have to think like that. If I could have known that when I was 18 it would have been so beneficial. You have to think about [your career] in the long-term, and if you want it to have longevity you have to think about it as a business, not just something that’s fun.
Some serious wisdom from one seriously inspiring woman. A huge thanks must go to Megan for taking the time to chat with me, and also to the amazing Sunburn team for organising the event and making my blogging responsibilities a breeze.
Hope you guys enjoy my images from the showcase and the interview. You can shop the Isola by Megan Gale range on the Sunburn website here.