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Weekly updates

Sydney based label Vanishing Elephant have recently launched their debut womenswear range, in addition to the brand’s highly successful menswear collections. VE Designers Huw Bennett, Felix Chan, and Arran Russell have collaborated to design a collection of cool, simple, and feminine pieces which have been created with the same signature modern style for which VE have become known for. We chat to designer Huw Bennett about the collection…

One would think that managing VE, a widely celebrated and successful men’s label (locally and abroad) would be both very fulfilling and time consuming. Why the decision to branch out into womenswear?

Stupidity? Naivety? Probably a little of both…

It was a fairly natural progression for us though. We’ve bandied the idea internally for a while, and it just felt like the right time for us to go for it.

The shapes that VE present in this collection are simple, feminine, and wearable, but at the same time reject ideas of femininity with boyish stripes and colours. Can you tell us who the VE girl is? 

That’s one question we’re still working on. We have a woman in mind but are still tweaking our exact interpretation of her. She’s a little more matured than our man at the minute and is quite sure of her style and appearance. Halfway there?

VE’s signature style is present in this collection, with modern aesthetics, simplicity, and a boyish charm. How did you go about translating this look into the women’s garments?

We worked on marrying fabrics from the men’s, comparing silhouettes where relevant and looking at styles that were timeless meets everyday staples in our mens, and then looking at how that crossed over.

What are the key pieces in this collection? Do you have any favourites?

The slim fit cotton pant, an extension of our men’s chino. The button up collar silk dress, which is all elements VE new and old. And the women’s desert boots, which are a great mix of our men’s meets women’s.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

A lot of visual references that looked at how girls dress and evolve with age/through the ages, plus a couple of handsome girlfriends.

Your varied roles in fashion, including stints at Ksubi, Mambo, and a collaboration with Stüssy last year show your ability to adapt within the industry. Has VE the womenswear range been a difficult transition for you or did it come naturally?

It’s definitely been a learning curve and to a degree we entered the whole process with no preconceptions or expectations. It hasn’t come easily but we’ve learned a hell of a lot.

Do you have any favourite Australian womenswear labels?

Lover and Bassike are the labels that spring to mind. We really admire what they do and how true they stay to who they are.

You’ve had a lot of success in doing what you do. Do you have any advice for those wanting to pursue a career like yours?

Have a clear idea of who you are and who you want to be. Just knowing what you want to achieve is half the battle in any industry.

What is one piece of knowledge that really stuck with you that you often come back to in your career?

Things are never as good as you think they are, and never as bad as you think they are. And cream.

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