Within months of graduating from TAFE, fashion designer Emma Mulholland had a celebrity following. It started with Kanye West buying a backpack at Melbourne’s Alice Euphemia. And soon enough, Azealia Banks, Kimbra, Grimes and M.I.A. caught on.
From the get-go, Emma wasn’t afraid to develop a distinctive voice. Instead of imitating big names, she turned to Australia’s unique landscapes for inspiration. The stunning scenery and bright ‘90s surf fashions of her South Coast hometown, Ulladulla, are reflected in her kaleidoscopic patterns and macramé textures.
My all-time favourite designers are the late Franco Moschino and Gianni Versace,” she says. “Because they really pushed the boundaries, yet still made some of the coolest clothes I have ever seen. I also really admire Christopher Kane and Heidi Slimane for Saint Laurent.
But it’s not only in other designers that Emma finds her inspiration. “I’m inspired by anyone who is doing what they want. I also love seeing people enjoy my work – many of my friends and family wear my designs and that’s a nice feeling.”
That’s not to say her path isn’t without its challenges. “Working for yourself is really hard. You have to constantly motivate yourself and it’s a lot of pressure. I face the same issues as anyone else running a small business, from cash flow to invoicing to taxes! Balance is extremely important. You can't over work yourself or you’ll end up chasing your tail. You have to be really careful to not over spend and work out your priorities.”
Emma’s perseverance in rising to these challenges is turning her strong start into a successful, creative career. 2014 saw a collaboration with cult French street wear label Jennyfer, with the resulting collection selling out in 45 minutes. And in March this year, she received the 2015 BT Emerging Designer Award. Thanks to her passion and determination, incredible opportunities are coming her way.
This information is current as at 01/09/2015.