Alexandra Deam, founder of independent label DIS/OWNED, explains how RMIT’s Master of Fashion (Design) is helping her build a successful, ethical practice.
The past few years have been busy for Deam. She has been working as a designer for social enterprise The Fabric Social and founded her own independent label DIS/OWNED while completing her Master of Fashion (Design) at RMIT.
Through her label she explores the value of consumer by-products, reintroducing undesirable materials into the fashion system alongside playful social critique.
Deam's designs will grace the runway at CLASH, RMIT’s Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Show to be held at Melbourne’s iconic MPavilion on 16 November.
How has studying a Master of Fashion (Design) at RMIT benefited your career?
A masters degree is slowly becoming the norm for successful designers, so studying the Master of Fashion (Design) at RMIT has been greatly beneficial for my career and has opened up an array of opportunities on an international scale.
The Master has not only advanced my academic understanding of fashion, but on a personal level the program has also allowed me to push and dig deep into my creative boundaries, enhancing my design practice and self-reflection skills.
Tell me about your design ethos. What underpins and drives your work?
My practice revolves around interpreting and challenging what materials can achieve or how they are perceived. As a practitioner working with an ethical set of values, I think it is important to have a multidimensional understanding of the impact of the practice and the resources that are used.
For me that means used or rejected materials as the core of my design work, and appropriating them to achieve the intended outcome.
Throughout the Master, my research has centred on the potential uses for found garments as both materials and subjects for design, questioning the perceived value of consumer by-products and developing methods to reintroduce undesirable materials back into the mainstream fashion system.
Why did you choose to study in Australia at RMIT as opposed to studying in Europe or America?
Coming from a more commercially oriented fashion background, I chose to study at RMIT to enhance my creative practice and explore an intellectual approach to design.
The intimate two-year program gave me the support and time to fully develop as a practitioner.
With considerable mentoring and resources, the masters at RMIT offered a far more personal learning experience than many European or American schools are able to deliver, as well as range of opportunities for creative growth.
Although we can sometimes feel disconnected from the larger fashion industry here in Australia, that distance also provides us with a unique creative edge.
As developing designers, we have the opportunity to not only shape the future of Australian design, but also offer a unique perspective for international employers who may be looking for candidates with fresh eyes.
Story: Bradley Dixon