In this feature, a selection of guest contributors respond to an image or material artefact (typically a garment or accessory), that represents Queensland fashion. Each item is specifically chosen by The Fashion Archives in collaboration with collections and with a particular contemporary practitioner in mind. As a result, each Remember of Revive is a bespoke response and can take many formats and styles.
Maison Briz Vegas is the design partnership of Carla Binotto and Carla van Lunn. The pair revive discarded clothes through a time-consuming process of hand-sewing and hand-printing to create playful and conceptual fashion collections. In keeping with their particular approach to creating new garments, The Fashion Archives invited the designers to source a vintage item with a Queensland connection as inspiration for their Remember or Revive response. They uncovered a number of souvenir tea towels at a local antique store, and utilised their imagery as source material for their latest collection of garments, called ‘Trashtopia.’
In the following written response, Maison Briz Vegas explain their interest in retro souvenir imagery and its relationship to the style of Queensland:
“Maison Briz Vegas prints can appear sweet and playful but closer inspection will often reveal a darker, more cynical narrative. The prints for our recent resort collection “Trashtopia” drew inspiration from vintage holiday and beach style, particularly mid-20th century California style, an iconic era that certainly influenced Queensland and especially the Gold Coast beach culture and fashion.
During our research we unearthed some retro tea towels at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre, depicting Australia and Queensland as sunny and exotic paradises. We loved the naive and utopian depiction of Australia as a tourist destination and the amusing attention to detail in these tea-towels.
Our new print designs drew inspiration from this genre of the souvenir scarf or tea towel, and Hawaiian prints. We also appropriated the happy typography from one of these tea-towels on our marketing material.
Unlike the vintage Queensland tea towels, our prints depict a dystopia, a Summer holiday on an over-heated planet where the world’s oceans are polluted with enormous amounts of plastic that is killing marine and bird life. We try to address environmental issues through humour and symbolism, here linking the golden era of American-style manufacturing and consumerism, with today’s climate and resource crises.
Our garments are made entirely from the fabric of secondhand clothes. We use our prints as a way of transforming waste textiles into designer fashion.”
Original work and written response by Carla Binotto and Carla van Lunn, 2013.
Published in Issue 6, on November 5, 2013.