Sylvie Michelle and Lucy Licciardello both have a passion for clothing and expressing themselves through fashion. Often hitting the op-shops for inspiration and turning vintage into modern, their pieces are unique and one-of-a-kind.
How did you get into designing and making clothes?
Lucy: Well, Sylvie is the one who does most of the making of the clothes, and I tend to source out more vintage clothes and stuff like that. I did a TAFE Cert II course in sewing; to me, I just wanted to do something different. I loved it, and I’ve always dressed a little bit different anyway.
Sylvie: I have always loved clothes and will always just make my own, because it’s very rare that I can find something to wear in the fabrics that I like.
Have you always had creative talent with fashion growing up?
Sylvie: I used to dress up lots as a kid. I would try to dress up so that when my parents came home, they couldn’t recognise me! I’ve just always loved clothes and how a fabulous outfit can make you feel. I love anything pretty and girly, with lots of frills and ruffles, feathers and flowers.
With fashion trends changing all the time, do you find it hard to keep up?
Lucy: I’m actually a hairdresser, so I have to keep up with fashion and the current trends through my profession. I definitely love it, live and breathe it.
Sylvie: I only follow it to a certain extent, then tend to do my own thing. I don’t really follow the trends diligently; with me, I sort of just do what I like. I do follow it a little to get an idea of what’s going on and to see what inspires me at the time. We both tend to have our own personal styles when it comes to fashion.
Where do you get the inspiration for many of your hand-made pieces?
Sylvie: I like vintage style clothing, so I’m always looking at pictures of that style. I have a few favourite designers that I like to check out and see what they’re doing. I do a few things from patterns too, but I usually end up altering the patterns and changing them around to make them into my own design. A lot of my friends give me inspiration as well. We all like to get together when we can and shoot ideas off each other.
Lucy: Sylvie’s stuff is just really beautiful for all shapes. She makes pieces that really suit and flatter all body types and figures. Anyone can wear them and just look gorgeous.
When and why did you decide to combine your talents?
Lucy: We’ve always been talking about it and saying we needed to do something, so we finally decided we had to set a date and just go for it. I was so excited, because we had our own market stall. Sylvie probably takes it just a little more seriously than I do, because this is her number one passion. She could definitely do this as more of a career, whereas for me it’s purely for fun and a creative outlet.
Describe some of your designs; what makes them different and unique?
Lucy: When you’re finding vintage clothes, you have to look at what is well made and if you can alter it or change it. A few of the dresses that we have bought have been full length and long sleeve, but would be awesome as little mini dresses to make them modern. I found this one dress in a shop in Newtown; it was this ‘70s kind of muumuu dress. I tried it on, just messing around, but then hitched it up and thought it looked really cute as a little mini! So I bought it and wore it out one night, and I was surprised how many compliments I had on this dress that I had paid next to nothing for! We now have it in our stall for sale.
Sylvie designs and makes her own patterns, whereas I tend to embellish things by adding some patch work or stud work. I also want to do some cute little denim vests for summer with crochet lace and studs, to make them a little different.
Sylvie: I use a lot of vintage and antique fabrics, so a lot of the dresses are one-off pieces. The designs can be made again, but the fabrics are usually a one-off. I use lots of ruffles, frills and lace. I tend to do a lot of over the top girly kind of stuff.
Where do you source many of the materials for your range, and what are some of your favourites to work with?
Lucy: I found it was easiest to purchase the studs in bulk from the US through eBay; otherwise, it was going to be too costly for me. By the time I actually make something and spend time on it and you buy all the materials, it does get fairly expensive. The crochet lace can be found in most op-shops; there can be some beautiful lace found there.
Sylvie: I use a lot of feathers, which I buy online. I buy charms from Scotland to make the earrings that I do, and the fabrics I get from antique shops and also op-shops.
They are always great for finding beautiful and unusual fabrics. I also spend a lot of time rummaging through fabric stores to find new and inspiring pieces.
What do you enjoy about attending the wonderful Artist Market each month?
Sylvie: I love hearing people’s feedback on our stall. It’s been about three or four months we have been doing it now … just to see what people like and what they buy. It’s also great to see what the local artists have been up to and to see the creativity coming out of the area.
Lucy: I love talking to people. It is great, because everyone loves stopping and having a chat. I also love the vibe and the atmosphere from the markets; everyone is just in a happy mood.
Thank you Sylvie and Lucy.
Sylvie is currently working on an online store, which will be up and running soon! To check it out, go to www.sylviemichelle.com.au. Lucy can be found at Glasshouse Hair & Beauty.