It’s not every day that a major retailer offers you your own capsule collection, but for Sydney graduate Rachael Zheng, that’s reality.  The recipient of Australia’s most lucrative student fashion accolade,  she has secured the opportunity to design a capsule collection with Target and won a financial grant of $25,000 – not too bad for a 24 year old! We speak to her about the partnership, her design aesthetic, and what inspires her.

How do you feel being given the opportunity to work with Target, one of Australia’s biggest retailers?

It’s an honour and a privilege to get such a special insight into one of Australia’s biggest retailers, and to see how a big company works. To dress such a wide audience as well has been really important. It has been the biggest window of opportunity for myself.

Prior to your collaboration with Target, what has been your design history?

I’ve Spent the last 4 years studying a bachelor of fashion design and textiles at the university of technology (Sydney) Being such a comprehensive course, we learn everything from textiles and pattern-making to professional practise, where we learn to start up our own business, so it has Really built the foundations for me to do whatever I want in the fashion industry. Being a recent graduate I’ve really stepped into this role with target, designer with them for the next 6 months.


What inspires you? 

Art really inspires me- it could be anything form a Painting to a photograph. I usually try and encapsulate the mood and really bring in the concept of the artists artwork into my artwork. My graduate collection that was showed at the National Graduate Showcase at VAMFF was based on an artist named Ellsworth Kelly, a modern American artist.


What do you think is most important about your collection Lilt?

What I feel is there is a certain commercial element to my collection, still being quiet special at the same time. I think my collection is very easy to wear, its sophisticated and elegant and I think that appeals to a lot of people, especially an Australian audience.

Why ‘Lilt’?

Basically, that was a word I found amongst Ellsworth Kelly’s quotes he says he “likes to bring in lilt a cadence to art’ so its just more of an adjective to describe the way the fabric moves and the mood of the collection.

Explain the design philosophy behind your collection?

Sophisticated, chic and super easy to wear.

What do you think should be in every woman’s wardrobe?

That’s a tough one! I would have to say, and be a bit cliché, definitely a little black dress.


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