Weave – The Couturier with a Heart of Hip Hop

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Her designs are for the fearless and feminine. Women who believe in themselves and charter their own destinies. Women who wear a multitude of titles ranging from business-woman, mother, warrior, creator. Her designs are truly reflective of the very essence she embodies as the creator of the design and conceptualized styling brand By Weave. Her name is Weave and she is the proud designer of an innovative and inspiring high end Australian fashion brand that caters to the woman who knows who she is!

With close to 20 years in the fashion industry, Weave’s passion for the aesthetical pleasure of simply creating for artistic sake has served her sanity well over the years, cleverly avoided the stressful pitfalls that breed within the industry. Her brand is more than just a fashion label, but more of a designer styling and concept brand that serves the high end fashion clientele as well as the world of local and international celebrity. By Weave has been worn on red carpets from Sydney to London , LA and beyond by the likes of music artists Natalie Basingthwaite, Maya Jupiter and The Veronicas to name a few, all having donned stunning pieces by this very creative yet humble designer, whom has also recently styled international hip hop US artist Aloe Blacc. Not bad for a girl from the country town of Oakbank in Adelaide, South Australia. From her small town upbringing Weave moved to Sydney and began creating pieces that are now taking the fashion world by storm with her sublime collections landing on the catwalks of Hong Kong and Australian Fashion Week, worn in blockbuster movies like The Sapphires and splashed across the fashion pages of the industry’s leading magazines, heralding in a new legion of fans of this empowering label.

Adding to her design resume, Weave is also a couture wedding dress designer, creating mesmerizing pieces guaranteed to please the most demanding bride. With her hand in the design process from beginning to end, Weave is the consummate fabric artisan when it comes to her personally designed and hand crafted wedding dresses. It is this work ethic and passion that shepherded this designer through the ups and downs of a tumultuous industry and kept her ahead of the game. So how does this multifaceted designer combine her love of hip hop for the lofty heights of couture fashion and celebrity outfitting? She sees the pairing of music and fashion as a perfect hybrid, gaining equal amounts of inspiration from both yet fusing the two together to create the perfect union. A hip hop gal from way back when, Weave proudly heralds herself as a purist when it comes to the music genre and as a throwback to her first label Cyber Thief, hip hop is the soundtrack to this designer’s creativity. Her journey in hip hop and fashion is not only inspiring but encouraging for anyone dreaming of launching their own fashion label.

The ‘rag trade’ is ruthless and unforgiving at the best of times, where only the strong thrive and survive, much like its counterpart to the music industry, itself glamorous on the outside, yet impossible to define within. Weave has been able to navigate the murky waters of what truly counts to be a fashion designer with originality and a tenacity to break away from the fray. She has created a brand that looks good, feels good and honours the design simplistic of form, function and fabulousness and it is my hope that as you read her style journey thus far you will capture the true essence of this brilliant designer.

Thanks so much for your time Weave – how are you and how has life been treating you?

Your very welcome Maxine and thank you for reaching out to me. I am wonderful at the moment, have been living in the country now for two years so that has been very calming and have found a lot of clarity by stepping away from the city. Being a creative, a business woman and a mother, I like the space to find the peace I need to manage it all effectively. 

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Credits: Photo – James Can’t  / Stylist – Jennifer Smit

Congrats on your global success of By Weave creations, a simply stunning and empowering collection of high end fashions designed by your creative self. How was your By Weave brand started and what has always been your main drive and vision with this creation?

I began my business when i was 15, I lived in Adelaide and new i was going to be a designer at a very early age. I lived in a country town in Sth Australia called Oakbank. It was beautiful, we grew up on a thoroughbred breeding stable, where mum and dad were always attending functions for the races and industry, so were always dressing up in fabulous seventies fashion and going out to entertain international guests and racing elite. I loved watching mum dress up, she was beautiful and i just adored the clothes. There was also a lady in the town that travelled around the world as a hippy and she wove beautiful textiles. I used to ride my pony down to see her and it was called ‘the Oakbank Weaver’! I was besotted with this and between mums high end seventies fashions and the local weaver I was sure it was clothing and textiles I would create.

I then moved to the city where i discovered hip hop. A crew of English boys had arrived in Adelaide, (B.U.M posse. British underground music) breakers artists and mc’s. They wore brightly coloured hip hop gears that I’d never seen before living in country Sth Australia! I was hooked. The music, the art the culture. The opening up of the world through these elements just made me so excited to discover the world and find out what I could do to contribute independently. I started making bomber jackets out of old bubble skirts and pieces of leather i had, So that’s when I officially started my business, got into fashion school at sixteen then moved to Sydney at seventeen to complete my diploma. I then had my daughter so things slowed down a lot in terms of business, but i was very young, very poor but full of gumption and determination. I struggled on independently and moved into a fantastic warehouse in Surrey Hills full of musicians and artists, My daughter could ride around on her trike and I could be surrounded by music art and fashion. My favourite things. We were very free and happy. My Hip Hop label ‘Cyber Thief ‘was born throughout this time. It was a beautiful collaboration of amazing artists, breakers and mc’s. All influencing the very underground label. I didn’t ever want it to become commercial. It was a pure statement of the times. Pure hip hop then was respectful, inspiring and a voice for youth. I found so much connection to it as it was my family at this stage. I started creating stage costumes and my craft became a lot more refined and i moved into high end women’s wear many years later, i grew up and so did my label.

I started ‘By Weave’ in 96 and refined my design aesthetic. It was always my dream to do high end, it was now I believed in myself enough to give it a real shot. It’s taken years for the cross over between hip hop and high end. It was not a normal transition but i knew it was right.

You have recently showed your line at the Hong Kong Fashion Week and also at previous Australian Fashion Week events – what would you say is the world’s perception on Australia’s fashion industry and how do you feel your creation By Weave fits in on a global scale?

I believe globally that Australian designers are gaining more and more traction as the designers have matured so much in their design aesthetic. It used to just be a few designers showing, now it’s quite the norm to see Australian designers on the catwalks in Paris, Hong Kong and New York. My label definitely fits into the global market as my collections are not aimed at the Australian market solely. It’s aimed at international women that are savvy, strong, stylish and sexy. Empowered, that doesn’t just come down to one area of the world. That encompasses women everywhere. With the technological revolution we are not so single minded now to be confined by borders.

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Credits: Hong Kong Fashion Week

Who were / are your fashion icons and inspirations growing up and if you could co-design a line with your favourite designer who would it be and why?

At fashion school i was captivated by Thierry Mugler’s pattern making genius, I was always trying out his crazy shapes to learn.. Each season has a new favourite for me, it’s like a musician with their records, you’re as good as your last record or collection, so there are definitely stand outs this season e.g. Givenchy 2015 is beautiful, the Japanese designers are always blowing my mind like Yumi Katsura whom I’m obsessed with!

How do you think fashion and music go together?

Music and fashion are best friends. It’s the vibe, the shows become a spectacle with the right music to create the ambiance or right energy. Bringing the audience and the show together to take you away to a particular moment Then you walk back out to reality. I’m always thinking of the song I will use when I’m creating a collection because it brings it all alive. My heart starts beating really fast!!

Are you an RnB / Hip Hop girl? The artists you enjoy listening to and do you draw inspiration from music for your collections?

I have always been a hip hop purist. RnB bores me but I am getting more into the future electro RnB sound because it’s deeper and more progressive. Hip hop has changed a lot over the years but the music still inspires me. I have progressed a lot in my music taste however and now I listen to lot genres that really get me dancing round the studio! I love deep nu disco, electro dub, anything deep and powerful really that can move me. Shallow pop and uncultured music bore me. I need to feel inspired by the beats and message behind it.

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Credits: Hong Kong Fashion Week

Where can people find your collections in Australia and how would you best describe the woman that would wear By Weave?

By Weave is going to be available on http://www.theiconic.com as of August 2014. It is also available on the e store http://www.by-weave.myshopify.com or by contacting the studio on 0415172401. The new summer collection will be available in August from these destinations. The by Weave woman is independent, savvy, in charge of her own world, not dictated to, a strong sexy woman.

What is your design ethos or mantra?

My mantra is a daily belief that I will stay true to myself, speak encouragement to those around me. Share the sensibility that we are all capable of being wonderful, beautiful, strong and in control of our own destiny. That’s why my clothes are strong and stand out. I want my women to feel incredibly beautiful when they put them on.

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Credits: Bridal image – photo: www.juliawheelerphotography.com
Stylist: Weave Dibden Neck

Your upcoming projects and new collections / shows?

I am currently working on the launch of The Iconic, The Summer Collection, and then I am starting the Northern Hemisphere 2015 Winter Collection for the Hong Kong Fashion week show. I am working on several couture bridal gowns also which is a wonderful side to the business. I get to meet amazing women and work with them on their most special day. A lot of the time the gowns are works of art, its such precious piece.

What keeps you grounded in an intense industry like fashion?

My beautiful daughter that has enriched my life completely, made me whole and shows me the true essence of being alive. To care for someone that you have created is the greatest love of all. Living in nature has given me so much peace, watching my daughter embrace nature , weekly walks throughout the beautiful forest, secluded beaches and being in crystal waters. Being surrounded by pure creative people that inspire me, my friends and family that I am so blessed to have. I keep out of the intensity of the fashion industry as much as I can, I like to be the creative person as an artist, not the PR person schmoozing. The quiet achiever so to speak. A good solid Capricorn mantra!

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For more information on Weave and her label By Weave visit: www.weaveworld.squarespace.com

Instagram : @byweave

Studio: 33-151 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay 2011 NSW Australia (Phone +61 415 172 401)

Blessings,

Ms Hennessey

First Photo Credit: Weave Dibden Neck & model – Hong Kong Fashion Week 2014

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