Greatness can occur at any moment in time. For Becky Chau and Gavin Lowes it was running late to the first day of uni and forced to sit in the front row of the lecture hall. Fashion history was made. Ever since graduating together from RMIT University in Melbourne, the best friends have gone on to create their label, Neo Dia. A modern, clean-cut and edgy prêt-à-porter label that aims to redefine the modern woman, gathering inspiration from works of some of the greatest architects and artists such as Gehry and Bauhaus, to name a few.
For a label that is only two years young, their creations have already been seen draped on some very well known faces including Andrej Pejic (aka Jean-Paul Gaultier’s muse) and singer songwriter Kimbra. They have also had their ‘Rhythmic Algorythm’ collection grace the runways of Amsterdam Fashion Week, described by Vogue Italia as ‘a new day for Australian Fashion’ and also featured in Harper’s Bazaar Australia.
Neo Dia is once again showing at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, so I caught up with the super-duo to have a chat about their involvement week and what they have installed for us for Spring this year.
1. How did your label ‘Neo Dia’ come about?
We always had extremely similar design aesthetic and throughout Uni we would constantly be throwing ideas around in the classroom, and on our train trips to and from RMIT. We had both always wanted to start our own label eventually, but it was only after we left uni (that) our close friend and stylist, Jam Baylon, would always say, “You guys should start a label together, and I’m styling your lookbook!” that we decided to begin Neo Dia, and it has been an amazing journey since!
2. What are some of the design principles you two always stick by when designing any collection?
When designing our collections we always use high quality fabrics and aim to create garments (that) are clean, modern and tailored. Our collections are always very directional, so we spend a lot of time in the design development stages so we can develop new silhouettes, as well as reinvigorate classic garments in modern ways.
3. So your spring/summer 12-13 line is called ‘Temporal Tangent’. What exactly does this mean and why did you decide to name your collection this?
‘Temporal Tangent’ came from the idea of manipulating, capturing and traveling through time, which are quite strong themes through Dali paintings. We really wanted to create a surrealist feel throughout the collection and explore some of the ideas and images that Dali has used throughout his work.
4. What inspired your spring summer collection? What’s the story behind it?
‘Temporal Tangent’ was heavily inspired by Surrealist painter Salvador Dali. We took elements from paintings as The Persistence of Memory inspired by the molten lines andThe Elephants, with its golden and vermillion red sunset and the elephants’ over exaggerated proportions.”
5. Before you start any collection, do you have any rituals or steps you take to gain inspiration?
We are constantly looking at artists, performers and also scientific imagery and technology. We spend hours researching and compile libraries of images and colours that really begin to set the direction for the collection. From these sources of inspiration, we then begin to see a trend in colour or shape emerge. Once we start looking at fabrics, a whole new element begins to inspire through drape and manipulation and this really sets the direction for the collection.
6. I know you guys have shown your collections in Amsterdam Fashion Week as well as Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Can you describe the difference between these two runways? Was there one that stood out more for you two?
It is extremely hard to compare these two runway experiences, as every runway is different. Amsterdam was amazing because we showed alongside extremely inspiring, up and coming, experimental designers from across the world, who are doing some big things overseas. However, MSFW gives so much support to local designers and Melbourne truly has an incredible talent pool that could show anywhere in the world. For us, another great aspect about Melbourne and Australian fashion weeks are the close relationships formed between the production crew.
7. I know Neo Dia is once again involved with MSFW this year, showing your spring summer collection in the Tomorrow’s Heroes runway. How has the lead up to the show been for you guys as designers?
It’s been pretty hectic, we have meetings, fittings, adding extra couture pieces into the collection and a lot of events to attend in the lead up to MSWF and the runway. Furthermore, amongst all of this we are finalising our Winter 2013 range and organising a lookbook shoot and an exciting videography collaboration!
8. Your label has been featured in Vogue Italia and Harpers Bazaar Australia and you have dressed some very famous faces such as Andrej Pejic and Kimbra. What would your advice be for a designer who is just starting out and still new to the industry?
Work hard, network and be tenacious!
For more imformation or to view their past beautiful creations, visit www.neodialabel.com
They are also debuting their Spring collection in the Tomorrow’s Heroes Runway on Thursday 6th of September and tickets are available via ticketek.com.au.