NEW Zealand designer Karen Walker has been named this year’s City of Joondalup Urban Couture ambassador.
Walker is best known for her eccentric and elegant style, which has generated an international following for her eyewear, jewellery, bags and fragrances.
Three decades after establishing her brand in a home studio at age 18, her designs are now available in 38 different countries and at more than 1000 stores, including Barneys New York, Liberty London and Harvey Nichols.
She has also dressed celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Lorde, Rihanna, Yoko Ono, Gigi Hadid, Florence Welch and Lena Dunham.
Walker said she was delighted to be the ambassador of the City of Joondalup program that supports emerging and graduate designers.
“I am really excited to be coming to Joondalup to see the raw talent that Western Australia has to offer,” she said.
“It is always invigorating to see what students are making when they are still in that creative phase before they start to consider the technicalities of ready-to-wear and bulk manufacture and the complexities of running a business.”
Walker said she remembered when she first started her brand in 1988, having just graduated from fashion school.
“I had $100 to my name and I made a shirt,” she said. “Back then, there were no online shops or platforms to sell work through.
“For the students coming out of fashion school and participating in Urban Couture, it is so important to learn how to run a business.
“At 18 years of age, I knew nothing.
“The first five years was total cottage industry and just trying to figure it out, totally winging it.
“My main piece of advice to students is to trust your instincts and get all the information in front of you and make sure you listen to that little guy in your head; he is usually right.”
Urban Couture, now in its seventh year, will be held at various locations until April 2.
This year, the program has formed partnerships with tertiary fashion schools at Edith Cowan University, North Metropolitan and South Metropolitan Tafes, and Curtin University.
This will culminate in the Emerging and Graduate Capsule Runway Showcase where 10 designers will present their collections at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City on Wednesday, March 22.
There is limited capacity for this event.
Register at www.joondalup.wa.gov.au.