Stefania Zanon is the creative mastermind behind Melbourne based label, ZANON. At just 21, she has a bachelor degree under her belt and a popular label that has graced the catwalks at some of the country’s most prestigious fashion events.
The last to let on about her reputation, Stef’s easygoing nature and humble opinions of her own achievements are refreshing. Her passion for the fashion industry is infectious and when she describes her label as “bold, unique and definitely not for the faint hearted” – she’s not wrong.
For a girl that has loved fashion for as long as she can remember, studying a Bachelor of Fashion at Box Hill Institute was a natural choice. Her graduate collection was handpicked from thousands to showcase at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in 2014 and most recently; ZANON was showcased at RAW SPLENDOUR in Melbourne on June 12th.
It’s not always fun and games for Stefania though, as she often finds herself faced with the predispositions of success at such as young age. But, not one to be stifled, Stefania is prepared to strive for as long as it takes to establish herself and survive in the fashion industry.
When it comes to designing, there’s no shortage of inspiration for Stefania, “When I have a blank sketchbook and a sharpened pencil at the ready, it really doesn’t take much for me to feel inspired!”
And as for what motivates her, Stefania designs to tell a story: “It’s all about expressing myself, each collection has a different inspiration and tells a different tale. I wanted to make a bold statement with the collection I showcased at RAW Melbourne, so I used strong digital prints. The initial inspiration came from space exploration and developed into a desire to discover and understand the unknown, which then grew to encompass female empowerment and an ideal that bold, complimentary clothing gives women the confidence to succeed.”
Although the boundaries of her designing talents know no limits, she feels very strongly about the locality of manufacturing and still makes every ZANON garment in Melbourne: “Overseas manufacturing has almost wiped out the art of patternmaking and construction in Australia. I’m not giving up though, and admire Australian designers that continue to push for onshore manufacturing to support local industries.”
Stefania’s ethical and forward-thinking responses continue to surprise me, and she explains that quality over quantity is a key strength of her brand: “I love the interaction with customers and hearing their feedback on the styles and fabrics that are used in each collection. For me, the customers are THE most important part of a fashion label and if I do open up a store one day, I will be sure to interact with them on a daily basis. Quality and customer service are so important.”
Besides holding her customers in such high stead, Stefania looks to her fashion icons on a regular basis for encouragement too, and Melbourne designer Toni Maticevski inspires her to face adversity with courage in a country that has only really joined the global fashion stage in the last 10 years. Stefania shares Maticevski’s thoughts on the city’s supportive creative network, “Melbourne is one of the best cities in which labels can expand and designers can grow. It isn’t easy to break into the market in any city, but in Melbourne, the public is much more welcoming to new labels and fresh design aesthetics.”
With such a positive outlook and ingrained passion for fashion, I think it’s safe to say that Miss Stefania Zanon is destined only for brighter lights and bigger things. For those who struggle to understand the fashion industry, take a page from Stefania’s creative book: “Fashion is the one constant in my life that continuously surprises me. It is forever changing and as a designer, it pushes me to expand my creativity on a daily basis. I like a challenge, so fashion works very well for me! The unpredictability of the fashion industry is what makes it so special.”