Meet Alexander Bourgazas – award-winning fashion graduate with passion and purpose

Meet Alexander Bourgazas – award-winning fashion graduate with passion and purpose

Alexander Bourgazas is a name to watch as an emerging designer with huge talent and a passion to change the fashion industry for the better.

The RMIT graduate recently completed a Bachelor of Fashion (Design), (Honours) and won the prestigious 2020 Melbourne Fashion Week Student Award that includes an internship with Melbourne Fashion label, Arnsdorf.

Alexander shares how he overcame several challenges to reach this exciting next phase in his life and reveals the inspiration behind his outstanding collection.

Tell us about your background and interest in studying fashion and design?

My journey into fashion started early on. I always liked graphic design and art in high school and enjoyed being creative.

In Year 10, I started screen printing t-shirts and selling them out of my locker!

I had an early insight into designing something from scratch, selling it, and having people wear and respond to my work, and then designing more items based upon that feedback.

That was a nice dialogue that I started to develop for myself and I got a sense of the importance of understanding the customer. 

I still run that label today.

When I got to Year 12, I found out about this course at RMIT and that fashion can be a career.

Award-winning fashion graduate Alexander Bourgazas designed a collection focused on understanding the construct of masculinity and exploring male vulnerability. Award-winning fashion graduate Alexander Bourgazas designed a collection focused on understanding the construct of masculinity and exploring male vulnerability.

What are some of the challenges you’ve met along the way?

The all-boys school that I attended didn't have fashion as a subject, so everything was completely new at university.

When I started the course, I hadn’t done anything with sewing or pattern making and I found that quite difficult.

I had to repeat my first year (twice!) and reached a crossroad where I had to ask myself, ‘do I give up or keep going?’

I felt that this was the universe pushing me to my limit, but it still felt right so I decided to invest and believe in myself and keep going.

The fact that I could get to honours, let alone win anything - that has been exciting.

I also acknowledge the incredible support from my family, teachers and student cohort.

Our student group has been tightknit throughout and watching how everyone started and evolved has been quite an emotional journey.

A model wearing one of Alexander's final year garments that features his 'Kouneli' collection mascot, the rabbit. A model wearing one of Alexander's final year garments that features his 'Kouneli' collection mascot, the rabbit.

Tell us about your collection and what has inspired you?

My final year collection focused on understanding the construct of masculinity and exploring male vulnerability.

This collection is entitled ‘Kouneli’, the Greek word for rabbit, which is from my heritage.

In the animal kingdom, the rabbit is a vulnerable animal.

The choice of a rabbit as my collection mascot was a way of trying to reposition the idea of vulnerability in manhood, by portraying the mascot in a new light, and representing vulnerability as an empowering quality.

I wanted to make clothes that reflect a positive and hopeful future. There’s a fair bit of self-reflection in my work.

As I have grown to comprehend the idea of masculinity within my own life, these ideas have informed and expanded my design practice today.

I’ve had a very strong interest in tailoring and my collection is heavily grounded in classic menswear archetypes including suiting and tailoring.

I wanted to decode those archetypes by creating subtle gestures such as detachable components through juxtaposing different archetypes in one garment.

For example, the college jacket that I designed is based on the suit that in the history of menswear has quite a classic silhouette.

But at the back of the jacket, I’ve incorporated pleating and in western codes of dress, this is quite a feminine expression of womenswear.

However, pleats have also been evident in many different areas of the world, including the fustanella, a Greek skirt worn by military men.

It was important to me to take archetypes from two different worlds and put them together as a way of indicating this idea of ‘masculinities’ as opposed to the singular ‘masculinity’.

There’s not just one outlook for what it means to be a man.

I also designed an overcoat which has the ability to be broken apart from the back, to create a handbag or waistcoat.

The jacket was designed as a way of symbolising the multiplicities that can exist within the wearer, by giving them the choice to control the way they wish to be seen.

 

A model wears garments designed by fashion student Alexander Bougazas A model wears garments designed by fashion student Alexander Bougazas

What are you looking forward to about next year and beyond?

I’m so thankful to have won this internship with Arnsdorf and I’ve been fortunate to meet Jade the creative director and the team beforehand.

They’ve got a great set up and a very hospitable and kind team of people.

I’m very excited to learn from them.

It’s refreshing to see a brand in Melbourne, that actually makes garments in Melbourne.

What are your hopes for the future industry?

The fashion industry needs a lot of work and I think it is dependent upon my generation and emerging designers to change that for the positive.

Over-purchasing stock and never using it is a big issue.

In many areas, there’s also a lack of creative integrity and making things just for the sake of it, without things being thought out properly.

That’s the biggest thing that I want to help change. 

I’d like to tell people my age to work with integrity and if you believe in something, then you can make it work the right way.

I hope we can bring a different approach to designing and do what feels right, without worrying about what others may have done in the past.

We’ll create a much more organic fashion community if we can do that.

Congratulations to RMIT’s Class of 2020. This year’s graduating class is like no other: strong, resilient, and inspired. RMIT is excited to welcome the graduates into our global alumni network, spanning more than 140 countries and 400,000 alumni.

Story: 
Kate Milkins
 

08 December 2020

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08 December 2020

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  • fashion
  • Student experience
  • Awards
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