Meet Diana Rikasari, who collaborated with us by upcycling 6 one-off pieces from past Gorman samples, making them into unique pieces that represent Gorman’s love of prints and doing things a little differently. These items have gone up for auction for a week, with all proceeds going to Clean Up Australia, an organisation that is empowering Australians to protect our environment by reducing our waste. We had a chat with Diana about how she first started upcycling, what inspires her, and what individuality means in fashion.
How did you first realise upcycling was something you wanted to do?
I've always wanted to learn how to sew and make my own clothes since I was little, but only had the chance to learn and start doing it around 2 years ago. There is joy in creating something from your own hands, knowing that each little detail was made by you no matter how imperfect it might be.
I actually only started upcycling when the pandemic hit early last year and was having trouble getting access to fabrics and other materials due to the lockdown as supply shops were all closed. I started to just use anything I have or could find at home and realised how even more exciting it is to actually challenge myself like this: creating from nothing new, assembling broken pieces, reimagining the old. I never looked back ever since.
Where do you draw your inspiration from in your upcycling creations?
Instead of planning and developing a design first, I work the opposite. I like to see what's around me, visit thrift and secondhand shops, ask friends whether they have something they no longer use or wear, and work from there. My designs are based on what materials I can get in my hands. I improvise as I go. Through upcycling, I want to minimise waste and therefore utilise waste and transform them into something useful and wearable.
Creating fun prints using colours is a big part of Gorman - what inspires you to use bright and playful colours in your work?
Bright, vibrant colours simply make me happy. I believe that dressing up should be fun and therefore we should wear colours that make us happy. I want the clothes that I make to bring joy whether when worn or when simply being hung inside your bedroom.
How important do you think individuality is in expressing oneself through fashion?
It's...everything? I mean, how else to dress if not to express our own identity? I think it's important for us human beings to really practice self-love and not take our true self for granted. Being kind to yourself also includes allowing yourself to wear the clothes that you want, that reflects you, and not what others think you should.
How can we maintain individuality in our sense of style while being environmentally conscious?
Find your fashion identity and be more genuine in recognising styles or pieces that you really love - don't simply fall for a trend just because it's trending. Buy clothes that you will keep and wear for a long time, build a wardrobe that you truly love and cherish, learn how to mix and match, don't be ashamed to repeat outfits (just a little change in accessory makes the whole look different anyway!), be more aware of the products you buy and learn how, where and what they are made from. When a piece of clothing no longer fits you or no longer sparks joy, consider upcycling it and giving it a new life!
How do you use fashion to find joy in the everyday?
Joy is found in the little things that make us smile. Like a bright yellow button, or a fun polka dot print, or a red zipper, or a fun slogan on a jumper. When we appreciate these kinds of details, what we wear will bring us joy. Let fashion bring joy to your every day.