The brain-child behind !!!!! (Five Exclamation Marks), Eugenie Meeker has already set herself as a name to watch in the Melbourne fashion scene.
Meshing psychedelic fantasy with a sprinkle of unicorn dust, Meeker’s new Autumn 2014 collection – I’ll Be Your Majik – brings together all the pop-tastic goodness of the 90s era whilst giving a modern edge through futuristic accents and modern appeal.
Couturing writer Thara Vidyaratne sits down with Meeker to channel the designer’s out-of-world brilliance.
Thara (T): How did Five Exclamation Marks begin? What was behind the conception?
Eugenie (E): I dreamt of starting my own brand when I was interning in Los Angeles last year. It seemed the right thing to continue being in an immensely creative and satisfying work environment. The name came about as I really liked the way all the exclamation marks looked as a logo when I was trying to register my business name. I was really drawn to the idea of having symbols rather than words, as I’m more a person of visuals rather than words.
T: Describe the !!!!! girl.
E: Cool, progressive, creative, independent
T: What does your customer look for when shopping your label and what do you provide that sets you apart from the others?
E: Comfort, function, versatility, innovation. My brand offers high quality, unique and versatile pieces that are produced locally at an affordable price point.
T: Tell us a bit about your background and studies at the RMIT Fashion school. What valuable lessons did you learn? What experiences did you encounter?
E: I’ve always been interested in making clothes and started doing so in primary school as I wanted to look cool and my parents wouldn’t buy me clothes but they would buy me endless amounts of fabric. Both my mum and grandma are killer sewers; mum made dad’s tailored work shirts and grandma made everything in her wardrobe; she even had sushi print kimonos, a metallic holographic cape and lingerie that she made.
I ended up studying Fine Art Photography at RMIT first but then was too obsessed with fashion so worked on a killer folio to get in to the competitive course. The 3 year degree equipped me with discipline, the skills to problem solve and mainly how to design collections. I learnt that you just can’t think about things too much and you just have to go for it and to not take notice too much of what the other students are doing..it’s just uni after all.
T:What have you learnt during you journey since starting up Five Exclamation Marks?
E: To stay strong in your aesthetic and ideas and to not be too self-conscious about what you’re doing and to listen, really listen to what people are wanting.
T: What setbacks have you encountered?
E: Ha ha ummmm….machine issues, tension! Um money and time, never enough time! Wanting to do so many things but on a small budget.
T: What positive experiences have you encountered?
E: I have felt really supported by all my friends and colleagues and it has made me really excited about establishing the brand. That even in business there are really humble and non-corrupt people out there and are willing to go that extra mile to provide a service.
T: You have stated that !!!!! produces locally with the upmost integrity and quality. Why do you think this is important?
E: It’s important to oversee the production and make sure it’s up to scratch. I’m really interested in employing people locally and being apart of the process. I’m not interested in fashion to rip people off or become rich and famous as that stupid association of being a fashion designer, but to make long lasting, trans seasonal and trans functional pieces. I want consumers to be able to rely on my quality of fabric and finish. There’s nothing more disappointing than spending say $200 on a designer top online to then get it and see the fit is wrong, the fabric is cheap and the finish isn’t the standard it should be. That show’s no integrity.
T: What is the inspiration behind “I’ll Be Your Majik”?
E: AW2014 I’ll Be Your Majik brings together fantasy references in conjunction with clean design lines and basic garment types to create stylish yet magical pieces. Function, comfort and quality fabrics are finely engineered to emphasise the magical elements that have been represented through screen printing, colour palette and embellishment. References include She-Ra, Sailor Moon and The Childlike Empress. The title comes from one of Def Fx’s songs, who were a psychedelic rock band from the mid 90’s.
T: What have you planned for !!!!! in the future? What do you hope to achieve?
E:I will be collaborating on an online store with a bunch of emerging designers for LMFF, which is exciting! Possibly collaborating on an exhibition with an amazing fashion illustrator. So many possibilities! I hope to have a comfortable place within the Australian fashion industry so I never have to work in a call centre/alterations/retail job EVER again.
!!!!! is having an exhibition coming up on 12th December at Cyclone Gallery. Check out their website for more details.