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Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF, was announced as the winner of the Brisbane Fashion Month Accessory Competition. Read her exclusive interview with Fashion Weekly.

Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF, was announced as the winner of the Brisbane Fashion Month Accessory Competition. Read her exclusive interview with Fashion Weekly.
Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF

Brisbane Fashion Month 2017 saw an array of fashion creatives come together to showcase their best designs. The Brisbane Fashion Month Creative Competition promoted emerging talent within the fashion industry. From designers, illustrators, stylists and photographers – there was an impressive line up of talent recognised and celebrated.

I sat on the judging panel alongside Meredith McMaster, Sarah Timmerman and Adrzej Pytel. The general public also voted for their favourites and to say the competition was tough would be an understatement.

Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF, won the Accessory category so we caught up with her to learn more about her winning creation and design journey. Read our exclusive interview below.


Congratulations on being chosen as the winner of the Brisbane Fashion Month Fashion Accessories Competition. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind your winning piece?

HI: I love nature. Beauty that can be seen wherever you look. There is simplicity yet complexity in a flower, butterfly, cloud or rock. This makes designing easy when you are inspired by what surrounds you.

Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF, was announced as the winner of the Brisbane Fashion Month Accessory Competition. Read her exclusive interview with Fashion Weekly.Helen ILIFF's winning creation from the Brisbane Fashion Month Creative Competition
Details: The set consists of a neckpiece, cuff bangle, earrings and two rings in Sterling silver. The neckpiece is set with an amethyst and garnet, cuff and earrings with garnets and the flower ring has 18ct yellow gold balls in the centre of the flowers.

What was it like receiving the news that you were chosen as the winner of this category?

HI: Utter disbelief when I first found out. I was excited to have made the finalist selection and very happy to have reached this stage. Then to be told I had won…I still feel like it is a dream. I had to reread the email many times to try to convince myself that it was real. I had entered the competition to show my students at The Goldsmiths School, that the work we teach is of a very high standard. Winning was far from my thoughts, having fun was the priority. I was even more excited when one of our students from the Goldsmith School, Tracey Wilford, also made the final five in the Accessories Category along with me.

Was there a significant moment that sparked your interest within the fashion industry?

HI: I fell in love with the beauty of gemstones while I sat watching my neighbour facet stones as a child. This love continued but what I could do with this passion seemed to be a question that may have never been answered. By chance, I found out about The Goldsmiths School. Here, my love of gemstones was directed to the creation of jewellery incorporating beautiful gems. Having wonderful teachers have made this journey a joy.

Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re creating new jewellery piece?

HI: As I said before, mostly nature. I also love movement, so this leads me to explore designs that incorporates a degree of kinetics. I find myself regularly seeing shapes or the flow of movement that can spark an idea, which becomes a piece of wearable art. Since starting jewellery design, I look at things around me differently as my mind is constantly seeing features within my world that may become a part of my creations. It’s a bit dangerous when driving! Joking!

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

HI: I believe freedom is representative in my designs. Freedom with movement, flow and shape. That’s what is so good about being inspired by nature. Nothing in nature is “perfect” and this is the freedom I love to work with. I can’t be “wrong”.

Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF, was announced as the winner of the Brisbane Fashion Month Accessory Competition. Read her exclusive interview with Fashion Weekly.
Emerging Accessory Designer, Helen ILIFF

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as an emerging designer?

HI: The biggest challenge is finding a market for my work. I must admit, I find creating easy and tend to forget that I need to sell these creations. I hope by winning The Brisbane Fashion Month Accessories section, I become more confident in my work. I think this may be a reason for not pushing myself into selling.

Who would be your dream client that you’d like to design for one day?

HI: People who appreciate one-off designs as I only make something once. Don’t get me wrong, I can and do make variations on a theme. But that is the fun in my work…I get to do something different each time I make a piece of jewellery.

When you’re not designing and creating accessories, what do you like to get up to in your spare time?

HI: I teach goldsmithing as The Goldsmith School in Bardon, which I love. The creative juices flow when you are surrounded by people doing what you love. I also play piano and have had several students. And I spend time with my family and friends. Currently, I am studying for a Diploma of Gemmology through The Gemmological Association of Australia. That keeps me very busy, but one year to go.

What’s next for you?

HI: My husband and I will be moving to our house in the rainforest in the Whitsundays once I finish my diploma. There, I expect to find plenty of inspiration around me. And, hopefully, many happy customers!

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