By Melissa Keogh
The rickety windmills and rolling tumbleweeds of Mundoora in South Australia’s Mid North are a far cry from the thumping catwalks at Paris Fashion Week.
But a 22-year-old emerging designer from the small country town, 21km from Port Broughton, will debut her label Dark Thorn Clothing in the fashion capital in 2018.
Oxford Fashion Studio invited Tori-Anne Gill to showcase her collection on an independent runway coinciding with one of the world’s biggest couture events – Paris Fashion Week.
Oxford and its team of curators review 40,000 designers every year and invite a select few to appear on the runway of one of the world’s four biggest fashion shows.
Tori-Anne says she is “nervous but excited” to travel to Paris to showcase her collection Highland featuring edgy yet romantic designs.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” she says.
“It feels like it’s not real.”
Tori-Anne created Dark Thorn Clothing four years ago in a shed-turned-studio in the back paddock of her parents’ farm.
In August 2017, she was travelling in Europe when she received an invitation from Oxford inviting her to debut at Milan Fashion Week.
But with only a month or so to prepare she declined the offer and shifted the invitation to Paris, 2018.
Designing the pieces from Mundoora, Tori-Anne sends the Victorian era-inspired designs to her Sydney pattern maker and seamstress.
“I design and pick out the embellishments and fabric selection from Australian wholesalers,” she says.
“I like to stick with wools and silk.
“The garments are sent back to me and I quality control them to make sure they’re all perfect.”
Tori-Anne describes Dark Thorn as “dark, romantic and mystical” and says 75% of her customers are from the UK and US.
“Australians have a different fashion sense to Europeans who like more elaborate clothing,” she says.
When she’s not designing garments, Tori-Anne is helping her parents on the farm by cleaning sheep troughs or moving machinery.
“I usually dress in daggy clothes, jeans, boots and an Akubra,” she says.
“I’m pretty confident I don’t want to move anywhere else.
“I think the key is to stay true to yourself … it will set you apart from the rest.”
Tori-Anne has launched a GoFundMe campaign in hope of securing $30,000 to put towards runway fees, photography, models and showroom costs.
To help out visit the GoFundMe page.
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