May 2, 2012
Two young guns of the WA fashion world have revealed the trials and tribulations of making it big from Western Australia.
Designer Olivia Lee has been involved in Perth’s fashion industry for the past three years and is close to completing her fashion degree at Edith Cowan University.
“Western Australia used to be very isolated from fashion, but in the last few years it has improved, but still has a long way to go to catch up to Sydney and Melbourne,” Lee said in the wake of the recent Perth Fashion Week.
Lee described the WA fashion industry as “limited”, and said she struggles to find regular work.
“I would definitely consider relocating to somewhere like Melbourne, where there are more opportunities in this industry,” she said.
“I have found myself working very long hours, some unpaid, in order to gain as much experience as possible and be one step ahead in this competitive industry.”
The local industry is small and competitive, making it hard for models to make it big.
Ben Hall is a fresh-faced addition to the Perth male modelling scene, but is already feeling the pinch.
“It is a really competitive industry,” Hall said.
“It seems there is a great deal of models in Perth with limited fashion work.
“You need to be willing to do anything and go anywhere in order to build your name and portfolio.”
With many models moving interstate or overseas, Hall said he would follow the trend and travel to Europe where there was a “larger market for men’s fashion”.
The physical pressures and high expectations to reach the ‘ideal body’ are not only essential for female models.
“As a male model, I must keep within a 32-inch waist and always be in optimum shape as work may pop up anytime,” Hall said.
He upholds a strict diet, and describes his weights and cardio-fitness program as “extremely gruelling”.
With Perth Fashion Week now wrapped up, the next significant fashion event WA has to look forward to is the Perth Fashion Festival in the second half of 2012.
Photos: Holly Broockmann