Student Designers The New Up-And-Coming

With close-knit support, an abundance of skills and more local talent than our little city can handle, home-grown designers are far from few. Student designers in particular are popping up on street corners, bursting from local markets, tucked away at the back of boutiques and sprouting from community events.


Queensland University of Technology Bachelor or Fine Arts (Fashion) student, Tess Gard, founded and runs label 1989.

1989 is a basic women's wear collection featuring wearable, minimalistic, and fresh designs. Tess employed the idea of creating basics which can be repeated year after year while mixing up and experimenting with different fabrics and textures.

Tess feels the Brisbane fashion industry is the right place to grow her label.

"Everybody knows everybody and it's very supportive. The Brisbane industry isn't as competitive as say Sydney," she said.

Following a five week stint in India last year, where she produced her first collection, Tess wants to produce locally, using the vertically integrated system.

"It basically means everything in the production process is done in-house. It means everything is under my control and I know everyone I work with, I can see the processes happening," she said.


"I was in India for five weeks but only saw about 70 per cent of the production process. When I returned home, it was difficult because communication really broke down.

If I was to go back to India, I would have leather goods such as pouches outsourced. I had some made by a guy last time and they really need that level of expertise."

1989 encapsulates current trends while maintaining a significant point of difference. Colours are minimised, shades are kept naturally vivid and subdued tones are in abundance. Combined with the soft relaxed cuts of the currently prominent sportive trend, almost-tranquil colours work wonders for toning down a wardrobe for the winter months and creating an easily-styled aesthetic.

Tess intends to keep the label local to Brisbane but popping up in Melbourne isn't out of the question.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I love, creating."