Interview With Upcycling Designer Charne Esterhuizen of MAAK Clothing

Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

Coming from South Africa, I never had the experience of being taught fashion. It wasn't considered an important subject in school curriculums. I was only exposed to fashion when I immigrated to
Australia in 2009. I was in year 10 when fashion was one of my elective subjects. I found it incredibly interesting and exciting to be able to create, construct and deliver something that expresses your creativity and pushes boundaries.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

MAAK Clothing is a small independent label located in Canberra Australia. The label has been operating since 2016. During that time MAAK has had the opportunity in working with extraordinary people - artists like Vera Blue, Hands Like Houses, Boo Seeka and Hayley from the Jezabels, all of which had garments designed and made for their shows.

The label has also had international success through coverage by ABC News, Vogue China, Career Codes magazine and local media like CRUZ MEDIA and Win News, just to name a few.

MAAK is passionate about working with a client's individuality and encourages others to be themselves and express their own identity. MAAK’s diverse ranges and unique styles gives a positive attitude to the wearer making them feel confident in their surroundings.
Our customer clienteles are individuals aged between the ages of 18 to 35.

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

Yes I have, I used old damaged leather jackets and upcycled them into new jackets. I altered old garments and changed them into a modern style. I feel that upcycling can add another element to the overall style. In fact I usually purchase second hand clothing and reuse them.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

I love layering, repetition and textures I want to create an outfit that is wearable but still very unique, I want the viewer to look at my outfit and say, " I can definitely see myself wearing that".

This ready-to-wear series is aimed to encourage others to recycle and upcycle their garments and seeing the potential within something you never thought would ever have a second life.

Left Vera Blue - Right BOO SEEKA

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

I only make one of a kind garments and don’t mass produce. I use technology in my design processes where I can and always think of what the future of fashion might be. I look at ways where I can change the way we consume and discard, looking at the possibilities of where we can improve fashion waste through technology.

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long-term dreams?

Refining research with future fashion, utilizing 3D printing in sustainable manufacturing processes to prevent future fashion waste.

Vancouver Fashion Week - March 2017
Links - 
Career Codes magazine tear sheet