Julian Napier is an unconventional designer. For someone who grew up thinking fashion was ‘stupid’, he has come a long way to launching his self-titled label, Julian Napier. He has designed costumes for Tara Simmons’ music videos and multiple Australian plays, and he’s shown at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival, with international acclaim.
Now based in a design studio on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Julian’s collections evolve around his ethical and sustainable approach to fashion, and his desire to design and create without limitation.
Eccentric and diverse are two words that come to mind upon looking at Julian’s work. His collections are extensive and unique, each independent of one another. Bold patterns and bright colours are the central focus of the ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Who I Am’ collections, which contrast to the classic silhouettes found in ‘Reflections’ and ‘Yin’. Despite the shift in small details or change of shapes throughout his seasonal collections, Julian’s dominant aesthetic remains consistent: theatrical and imaginative.
Julian’s design process is free-thinking too, and he refuses to limit himself to one aspect of fashion. It is this mindset that delivers interesting variation from year to year.
“I might focus on daywear one season, but the next might be more detailed with transitioning garments for the woman who moves from her business day to a cocktail party. My upcoming AW17 collection features a few evening gowns, which is new for me too.”
His delicate design process always begins with a general theme and one or two looks, and then the finer details come together. A particular sleeve, a certain neckline or a hand stitched finish may become the connecting thread, and the rest of the collection will then follow with the same feeling.
Julian also designs with an emphasis on local production and local sourcing, as it allows him to create unique, bespoke pieces while also supporting Australian suppliers.
“I believe in local production because it allows you to keep a closer eye on the quality of your garments, and oversee the whole process. I support local businesses and fabric suppliers because it allows me access to unique, quality items, and it helps support the community around me.”
Like many in the current fashion eco-system, Julian does sometimes struggle with visibility, and it’s a constant push to stand out in a flooded fast fashion market. His unique style and artistic designs will prevail, though.
“I think fast fashion is a waste of time. Sure, fast fashion is great for basic wardrobe staples, but they’re cheap, and everyone has the exact same thing. I don’t see the point in wearing the same outfit as everyone else. I create my clothes so that the women wearing them will stand out and not blend into the background, which to me, is the point of fashion.”
And he is right – the point of fashion is to express yourself, to connect personally and to make a statement, which is precisely what Julian’s collections do. Support local fashion and shop the full Julian Napier range at juliannapier.com.au.
The Fashion Advocate x