EFWA2018 Upcycling Challenge Interview with Regina Bochat

Please share a bit about about the journey that led you to embrace fashion design as a career.

I have always loved clothes and fashion for as long as I can remember. I think it was something I inherited from my Dad and his sisters, who always appreciated well made clothes and shopping at department stores. Growing up, I loved playing dress up, especially at one of our close family friend’s house as they had the most exquisite dress-ups including wonderful ex-dance costumes.

As my baby sister got older, we played endless games of dress up, doing our hair and makeup for photo shoots, emulating one of our favourite TV shows - Absolutely Fabulous. We had a little children’s plastic sewing machine which we loved making Barbie Doll clothes on. I got my mum to teach me how to sew on her machine out in the back shed and spent many afternoons altering my clothes.

As I got older I liked finding unique (and cheap!) clothing at op shops. I have always loved expressing myself through what I wear and admired others when they did the same. I love bold, authentic, stylish fashion choices that tell a story about the wearer - making an impact.

Through high-school I enjoyed studying drama, sewing in home economics, art, and craft classes. In my final 2 years, while focusing on University Entrance exams, I chose to study mostly sciences to help with my physiotherapy degree.

I completed university and worked as a physiotherapist for 5 years. However, Fashion Design had always been my ‘dream job,' one I never thought I could make a reality. But as I started craving something creative as a way to express my unique perspective, and seeing my partner pursue his dream career as a filmmaker, I decided to take the plunge and look into pursuing fashion.

Last year I started volunteering with Eco Fashion Week Australia, and this year I enrolled in a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts- majoring in Fashion Design, at Edith Cowan University in Perth.

I know you are currently studying at Edith Cowan University. Talk about the highs and lows of studying. What do you find easy? What is a challenge? 

It has been really interesting coming back to Uni to study Art after doing such an intensive degree as Physiotherapy. I find Uni such a joy as designing, making, and working creatively is so fulfilling. I always feel better no matter what kind of day I was having. Also, coming in with a big of life experience, and knowing 100% I want to be there and make the most of it, is really empowering.

Challenges can be trying to work in a way that is completely new to me coming from a science background where there is usually 1 correct answer. I like to accept all challenges and push myself to develop my design skills. It can be very hard when you start work on making something and realise you were on the wrong track, that you need to step away from it and start something fresh. You have to not your ego get too bruised but focus on growing as a designer. Of course another challenge is time as I am also juggling work and other commitments to pay the bills etc.

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

Currently I am just emerging as a designer. I am looking forward to using more upcycling in future work, and would like to work towards zero or minimal waste practices. I would like to make Avant-Garde pieces for events, and all of my pieces will tell a story as part of a concept. I would love to create annual or seasonal collections, as well as doing custom work. I look forward to seeing where my journey will take me.

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

As I mentioned, I used to upcycle my own clothes as a school student. For my 19th birthday, I found a beautiful vintage skirt at an op-shop that I worked with a seamstress to upcycle into a party dress. I have recently de-constructed and re-constructed a skirt and top into one garment for a university project.

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

My approach and inspiration for this piece relates to my family, where I grew up, and conservation. The audience can expect scale, 3D, tactile, and earthy themes in the piece.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you and what you hope to offer the world of fashion?

I will offer my passion for garments and the knowledge that power that what we wear can have on us and others - it is a form of communication. I will offer stories and messages, a window into who I am as well as a vehicle to spread awareness about what’s important to me.

What's next for you? What are your long term dreams?

Next I would like to enter a larger collection into Eco Fashion Week Australia. I would also like to finish my fashion degree and continue to create beautiful garments long term. My biggest dream is to show in Milan Fashion Week.

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