BY STEFANIE BLANCH
Daniel is currently the StoreManager at Hugo BOSS in Sydney Westfield.
Tell me about yourself…
I was raised in a little semi rural town in Western Sydney, which meant I spent a lot of time on my parent’s acreage property looking after animals and riding motorbikes. However, I always admired the cosmopolitan nature of the inner city and would go on shopping and food adventures to Surry Hills and Paddington regularly. While studying a Business degree at UTS, I took up a casual role with iconic Australian label Sportscraft. I decided to switch brands after a year and began working with SABA. I graduated from my degree and took on a PR internship, but I loved my time with SABA more and more, so I decided to take on a full-time role with the brand.
What is it that inspires you to work in the fashion industry?
The fashion industry in Australia is currently undergoing significant changes, making it a dynamic and energetic industry to be part of. I love that I can combine my creative flair and business prowess through fashion retail – its about more than just selling people something to wear. It’s strategic, but its also an artistic outlet. I feel innately connected to the practice of styling – I remember helping my mum put outfits together at a very young age. It’s something that’s always felt natural and comfortable, which is why I chose to pursue fashion as a career.
In addition to this, I believe the fashion industry has a lot more to offer society than the materialistic and shallow connotations it is often linked to. As much as people may deny it, what we wear is an extension of our identity and we can choose to communicate endless messages by what we put on in the morning. I have seen how fashion can empower social causes (Rick Owens comes to mind) or give us the feeling of optimism when times are tough.
You obviously love the industry, so what would you call your dream job?
My dream job is to be working with the best of the best in the international fashion industry, either as a senior buyer for a luxury retailor (like Net-a-Porter or MyTheresa.com). Id love to collaborate with the greatest in the industry and bring their vision into fruition in the retail space. It would be an honour to sit alongside Grace Coddington at a Dries Van Noten show discussing his use of print, and then to go off and pick pieces from the collection to sell to the Australian luxury customer. What excites me most about a role like this is the ability to feel so connected and involved with the art of fashion, but also with the opportunity to bring it to a greater audience and allow it to be appreciated.
Tell me about your greatest successes.
I’d probably say my greatest successes so far have been the smaller moments that have made me realise why I do the job I do. One of my greatest successes has been my work with a long term corporate client, Tourism Australia. Over nearly two years, I have styled the uniforms for their events team – coordinating the fitting, ordering and logistics process. I had to take so many factors into consideration, from the climate of the events to the different shapes of the staff and the overall uniform budget.
What do you find most difficult about this industry, particularly in Sydney?
The most difficult thing about the fashion industry is the inertia between creativity and commercialism – fashion houses need to be profitable for the creativity and art to continue, but without the creativity, profits may be short lived. Alber Elbaz (formerly of Lanvin) struggled with this so much during his time at that house. I remember him describing the turmoil he constantly felt when designing clothes, because some things looked beautiful to the naked eye, but had very little flair when photographed or filmed. His question was always; “do I design something that feels beautiful to wear, or something that looks good on the internet and gets world wide interest?”
Fashion is becoming increasingly saturated and everyone is fighting to break through the ‘noise’ and capture market share – which means the spirit of the art can sometimes be lost. This is becoming a growing issue in Sydneys retail space, with huge high street brands like ZARA and Topshop coming in and flooding the market with cheap and on trend pieces. In addition, social media and the phenomenon of street style has changed the priorities of the consumer, who now wants that ‘it girl’ piece for one season rather than a quality piece that can wear for many seasons. This has made it very difficult for Australian-based labels – because they don’t have the economies of scale to produce at the prices of the big stores or the brand equity to leverage the higher prices they charge.
Do you think the fashion industry in Sydney is changing? How so?
The fashion industry in Sydney is evolving at a rapid pace! Our city now has access to most of the big high street brands that are dictating world wide fashion – with more on the way. This means the consumer has more choice than ever before – we no longer play second fiddle to our northern hemisphere counterparts and we can access the pieces we’ve always lusted over but could never access from our isolated continent. I do also believe that Sydney is attracting a greater level of creative fashion talent and there is now a lot more interest in our city as a serious fashion capital.
Demographically, Sydney is not the small Australian city it once was. It’s a bustling multicultural hub, enriched by decades of migration from all over the world. Fashion is not isolated from this, meaning the cultural changes we have seen have also influenced the way we dress. This has happened in ways that the average person may not realise – for example, many Australian brands have needed to redesign the shape and size configurations of their garments to match an increasingly diverse range of customers. More recently, some high fashion designers have begun releasing certain designs and in-store installations during Chinese New Year, because this has now become one of the biggest celebrations in the Sydney retail calendar.
Daniel was the Senior Assistant Manager at SABA when the post was originally published on Word press in June 2016.