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fashfest designer profile: character


Image: Character

Image: Character

Name: Holly Squair

Label: Character

Web address and/or FB address:,


Where are you based? 

I am based in Canberra and Sydney. My hometown is Canberra where I studied design but I am currently living in Sydney completing an internship at ‘Billion Dollar Babes’, a high end women’s label.

How did you get into fashion and what do you love about it compared to other types of design?

I have always wanted to be a designer, even since the age of 8. I completed the Design Degree at Canberra Institute of Technology and am now taking my label into the commercial world. I am starting this process with showing for the first time at Fashfest. It’s a very exciting opportunity.

Who is your target audience?   

My target audience is a niche market of fashion savvy women aged 60 plus.  These women want clothing that has a point of difference that cannot be found in chain stores. They want to wear statement garments that are attention grabbing. Sometimes eccentric, these always fabulous have a lot of character.

How would you describe your aesthetic, and what can people expect from your collection at FASHFEST 2014?

The Character aesthetic is bright and bold with refined and elegant silhouettes. The fabric prints I have designed especially for Fashfest 2014 are based on the Art Deco movement and garment silhouettes are based on the flared sleeves and kimono-styled fashions that were popular during the this wonderful period.

What’s your design philosophy?

The Character design philosophy is to bust the myth that mature women dress a certain way. The myth dictates that women over 60 years of age have lost their desire to be well dressed and so end up wearing bland, boring clothes.  The Character collection is anything but boring. Bright colours, attention-grabbing patterns and silhouettes and cuts that flatter the mature body types meet the desires of Character’s special niche market.

More and more, ideas of sustainability and ethics are explored by fashion designers, how is this reflected in your own label?

The Character label is based around sustainable principles. Originally using zero waste pattern making techniques I have now moved to a commercial platform, but remained focused on sustainable manufacturing with minimal waste in mind.

Character garments are produced with a slow fashion movement in mind. Garments are designed with an ageless silhouette that will to stay in fashion. Quality fabrics and construction techniques also mean the garments will be worn for many years irrespective of trends.

What do you look for when casting models, and how can a model help articulate a particular ‘feel’ or aesthetic?

Character’s niche market is referenced when casting models and models are chosen who have personality and ‘character’.  A mix of mature and younger models is used together to promote the idea that wearers are ‘young at heart’ when wearing Character garments.  Character customers always dress to impress and so models are always styled to leave a lasting impression.

Do you think the Australian fashion industry supports emerging designers?

The fashion industry is a hard industry to crack so it’s wonderful that Fashfest is so supportive of emerging designers. Through Fashfest, local and national industries are given the opportunity to view and support emerging designers. This is something emerging designers may are often not able to do themselves.

How can your designs be purchased?

Character plans to sell at boutique fashion markets but also welcomes custom orders. Queries can be sent through the the Character facebook page or by email on: [email protected]

Do you have any advice for someone considering fashion design as a career path?        

Being a designer can be very rewarding. Seeing your designs on the catwalk is a special thing, but it’s hard work and you need to be very committed.

What night are you on at Fashfest?        

Friday 2nd May, I look forward to seeing you there!!


Fashfest will be held at the Canberra Airport, 30 April to 3 May, in a beautifully designed space, with a massive atrium, stunning architectural elements and a modern industrial look. Tickets are available exclusively from the Fashfest website, and are fast selling out so get a move on, have a great night and support local and home-grown fashion talent!

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  1. Pingback: Feminist News Round-up: 03.05.14 | lip magazine

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