Dominique Portet Winery

Seen first on Couturing

There’s nothing more romantic than a day spent ankle-deep in a vineyard, sipping on some of our state’s finest. At Dominique Portet, this rural fantasy is only one hour away. Nestled deep within the Yarra Valley, The Dominique Portet winery produces some of our state’s finest wines and eagerly compliments them with a traditional selection of light lunches, French pastry and of course, coffee.

Couturing was delighted to speak with head vintner, Ben Portet, who has carried on his family’s tradition. “We have a long family tradition of winemaking originating in Cognac, France in 1720. The Dominique Portet wines are a continuation of this, bringing tradition and innovation of winemaking to Australia, so the wines have a European feel with an Australian openness.”

As Melbourne stays consistent with its warm summer weather, a trip down to the winery with a tasting included, might just be the remedy to cool you down. Sampling their most recent consignment of the best-selling Fontaine Rosé and perhaps adding a bottle or two to your cellar, Ben Portet suggests a casual refreshing accompaniment of “a salmon terrine and a glass of Rosé, perfect for Australia’s current climate”. And with the picturesque backdrop of the Yarra Valley Ranges, it’s no surprise why Dominique Portet is so highly regarded. Ben’s tradition in the winery is to, “produce wines to match with food.

Ben and his family’s extensive knowledge of winemaking has evolved through experience and traveling through many of the world’s most notorious vineyards. As well as being fluent in French, Ben translates his cultural experiences through his wine to the customers. Ben recommends that, “wine should be subtle and versatile with food, it should not overpower any meal. And most importantly drink it and enjoy it.” One thing in particular that Ben and many other winemakers have noticed is that “we in Australia are very open to new ideas, whereas old world countries can take longer to evolve. Our innovative spirit and respect for tradition help us to evolve quickly and produce wines that can be compared to any other quality producing area of the world. The young generation often travel, and return with new ideas that add to our strength as a region.” With this continuous adaptation to such a fluid industry, it’s no wonder that wineries like Portet are so internationally well-received.

Dominique Portet’s luscious greenery also brings an influx to their Barrel Room, “where private functions – large or small – can be held and catered for. Barrel tastings and winery tours are also available.” Weddings are also held at the winery and if you were to stand before the maze-like rows and breathe in that uniquely sweetened air, it comes as no surprise that many couples find this the perfect location for their special day. Ben recently held his own ceremony amongst the vineyards, adding a wonderful milestone to Portet’s already rich history.

We left Ben with one final question, asking if he had always desired to be a winemaker or if it was more to uphold filial tradition, Ben replied, “when you grow up amongst the vines I think it’s in your blood.” And after experiencing a full day at the vineyards ourselves, I can guarantee it’ll be in your blood too.


Interview with MISO


Amidst frantically shifting studios and moving to Japan, Couturing managed to sit down and have a chat with awe-inspiring artist Stanislava Pinchuk, also known as MISO. Being just 24 her work has been inspired across Australia and parts of the world. While she jumps from place to place and country to country, she still calls Melbourne home. After being a resident for over fourteen years and always being inspired by Melbourne’s artistic scene and beginning her artistic exploration at only 14 through street art and graphic design.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I’m a visual person, the answer comes through my drawing and comes through in my work, and it is already through the drawing. I think it’s self-explanatory to people who see my artwork. But I also like to leave it open, if I wanted to use words, I’d use words.

You’re not from Australia originally, what made you move to Melbourne?

I lived in the Ukraine, and moved here with my parents fourteen years ago, but I’m all over the place but Melbourne is always where I come back to. I’m gone maybe six months of the year but I love coming back. There’s a great way of living, a great support network. I find it really supportive, I don’t think I would have stayed in Australia if I weren’t in Melbourne.


You’ve done some collaborations with designers such as Tailfeather and Warren Harrison, how has that influenced your style, how has it felt for designers to recognise your talent?

Yeah, working collaboratively is great. I didn’t go to art school, so it’s great to have designers and artists who make utilitarian products, so it keeps me going, because there’s also people that expand you as an artist technically, and push your expertise and foresight. It does push me and making compromises for your designs, its quite a learning experience, but it’s also great because I’m self-taught and those collaborations really keep me going.


Is there any specific designer you would be really keen on collaborating with?

There’s so many people’s work I admire, these shoes I’m stitching now are for a Gorman runway show, they’re just a one-off but collaborating with her would be amazing and seeing what she does. But it’s quite hard to start naming things; I’d like to work for Penguin, Colette and Opening Ceremony.


You and fellow Melbourne artist Ghostpatrol have done a few collaborations and shows together, how did you two first meet?

I guess him and I just liked a lot of each other’s work before we ever met. We met in Melbourne briefly at a show, then we kept in touch and he moved to Manchester and we’d do art trades back and forth, like wheat pastes or stickers and I’d put things up in Melbourne for him and he’d put them up in Manchester for me, then he came back to Melbourne and we just started sharing a studio and working together with loose collectives and projects.


Do you think living in Melbourne has helped you in many ways with being in such a creative city?

Yeah, definitely. I always feel like I’m here at the right time and the right place. It goes back to like I said before, it’s just so supportive and a great community of like-minded people. There are a lot of older artists who enjoy sharing work with good things to say. It’s not a competitive city, I don’t think I’d have the studios, or the job or the recognition that I have if I wasn’t in Melbourne.


You just had a solo show in Sydney, what was the response like differing from how a show in Melbourne goes?

Yeah, I really like Sydney. This is the second show I’ve had there, but I love it. I feel like it’s a much more commercial scene, and a lot older people there compared to Melbourne, much more expensive. But It attracts a different type of artist, with different mediums and interests. It’s quite distinct from Sydney in that way.


What’s your favourite place to visit in Melbourne?

I keep my head pretty low here in Melbourne, although I drink a fair bit at Cavallero, Yvon House, quiet places, Labour in Vein and Hells Kitchen.


Your homemade tattoos have been linked across sites like Tumblr and Twitter and have been quite famous. Do you have any passions to work on that more?

It’s a fine line, I’m pretty torn with the tattooing at the moment because, I don’t want to take it more seriously, outside of money. I think it’s really important, I’m not really comfortable tattooing strangers compromising my designs for people I don’t know. And keeping my tattoos for my friends for trades, it’s nice because I know what the person is about they know what I’m into, There’s a really implicit trust when you tattoo someone, I’m just not quite comfortable to bring people into my space and put something on them that’s there for life.

With sharing and posting my tattoos online it’s something so personal to me, it’s surprising how many of them are copied by other people it’s really uncomfortable and considered for one person. My friends and I can usually meet half way with the designs, money for tattooing implies a lot of compromise and people have the power to order your designs around a lot more which I’m not comfortable with. It’s something I’m not sure where it’s going but its increasingly becoming a big part of my art practice.


Why did you start tattooing?

I first started tattooing because I felt my work was really ephemeral, whether it was street art or installations it goes to someone. My work is also pretty unaffordable, it commands a certain price range that’s quite high, so tattooing just became a really fun hobby where I’d tattoo my friends and they’d be basically getting a piece of my artwork that’s on them for life and it’s really cool and special and also for them. It was something I’d do briefly at the end of the night but now it’s merging into my artwork.


Your pinprick drawings are pretty similar in the method for tattooing, without the ink; can you explain the process and similarities of those?

It is a similar technique in terms of hammering or piercing a surface with a needle, also disciplined and severe, but meditative. The tattooing is painful for the person getting the piece but the pinpricks are more painful for me. There’s a lot of parallels, tattooing which is pretty messy and chaotic, but the pin prick drawings are white, and clean, I can see them coming together slowly and it might be something that I use in the future.


Do you have any advice for artists who want to follow your steps and get recognised as you are?

I’d say my biggest piece of advice would be to let go of your ‘hours’ in terms of showing something and not destroying something because it took them so long, or it has so much detail, which might mean it has much more meaning because it of the hours invested in it which isn’t necessarily the case. I’ve been cautious about letting that go and not being precious about my time and my hours and efforts. And destroying my work even if it is something I don’t like, because it took me so long. I think that’s really important, and destroying work and just letting go. I haven’t kept anything I make and I think it’s been really helpful to me. There are some people who can finish something in a second that could be miles better than something someone else took five hours to do.


How did you start making money and actually put the title forward as an artist, was it always something you had been passionate about?

I started doing a lot of street art when I was around 14, I think I was at the right place at the right time doing that then, there was a lot of support and attention from it, so people were a lot more open and wanted to accept my pastings or submitting it to different places and publications as well and group shows. When I was 16 I started doing freelance jobs and graphic design, that’s where I started making money. Group shows turned into solo shows which turned into commercial shows then people flying you across Australia or the world to do some things, it’s a little ball that keeps rolling. Graphic design helped me a lot, and moved me into a studio when I was 18. Word of mouth and having a web presence really influenced my publicity as well.

Interview with Lani Mitchell


First published on Yen magazine

Simply making it as an artist today is already a feat in itself, but as a female and as an abstract painter, it’s an uphill journey. However Lani Mitchell has already trudged through the New York snow and made it look easy. It takes 4 days per enamel coating to dry, and more than 5 layers used. As I spoke to Lani I could see the layers of her paintings reflecting her mind’s intricacies. The drawn out process of strong emotions is what makes her art so unique.
I met up with Lani to discuss her recent shows, finding herself in New York and her recent collaboration with Melbourne artist Banoffee.


So you lived in New York for several months, tell us about New York?

Before I left I emailed painter Max Gimblett asking if he had any shows or classes on while I was in New York, he said no but to come and visit his studio. He mentored me while I was there, it was a very intense and crazy time. But I had the opportunity to have my first show Chrysalis.


And what was your Chrysalis show about?

It’s a state of metamorphosis when a caterpillar is at the stage turning into a butterfly. For me it was a period of transition and really emerging as myself and as an artist.

When I got to New York it was freezing cold, it got dark at 5; it was depressing. Just before I left I started seeing a guy and it was this feeling of longing, but I’d been planning this trip for 3 years and I needed to do it. The show reflected the side of me that wanted to be in Melbourne and the side of me chasing my ambition and the feeling of being torn and uncomfortable. The colour series was very much greys, blacks, whites and shapes in separation. I was torn between this heavy feeling of heart and mind. I don’t know how but I was doing some really good paintings in New York


I find that when I’m writing or drawing, sadness or emotional states go through a different channel, like something that just needs to get let out.

Yeah, I found it also really cathartic too. I think in New York because my emotions were so raw and real, they had nowhere else to go. When you’re content you don’t get that rawness or that edge that you want, people can just feel the work lacking or falling flat.


Definitely, so what else inspires you or what themes are you more drawn to?

Life, situational things, narrative; I’m an extravert and grew up in a huge family, so I really thrive on communication, conversations and relationships. I see my work almost like a dialogue between two people on a canvas; there are a lot of suggested forms communicating.


And so how do you know when a painting is done?

This is going to sound weird but when the painting doesn’t need me anymore. When I’m out of the painting; when I’m separate from it. It plays on my mind until it’s resolved.


The message behind Chrysalis seems so powerful and really resonates with you, what were the inspirations behind some of your other shows?

Skin was about loving someone and giving so much love to someone as women do. It involved skin tones and indulgent, intense colours. It was really voluptuous and showed forms merging.

My most recent show Helm was about taking charge. Being at the helm of your own ship, and the realization you’re in charge of your own destiny. Your success in the arts is up to you. It was inspired by one of the former actors on Lena Dunham’s Girls who had made a comment saying ‘I can’t wait for a man to be at the helm of this TV show.’ That really stuck with me.

And Swoon is my next show, a lot of magnolia tones, whites and resins. Basically, doing things that make you feel good and giving a shit about yourself, essentially.


Tell us about your recent collaboration with Melbourne artist Banoffee?

She’s been a friend of mine for a while, one of my brother’s best friends. We always talked about collaborating. I suggested we do something more emotive or performance-based and we came up with the idea of making a body suit out of paint skins. It was all made of thick enamel paint that we peeled it off plastic. It really inspired a different way of painting for me – now I’m thinking of doing a series of clothing for women.


Your works also feature themes of femininity, fluidity and power. Why are you drawn to these and how did they start flowing through your work?

When I was at art school I was doing abstract paintings that was done in the 60s by New York artists, mostly men so people didn’t find it relevant. I still feel it’s an entirely different context. It’s the 21st century, I’m a woman, I’m empowered and I can do whatever the fuck I want.

I just think that being a woman is very significant to me, especially now and especially in this age. Male artists would be put up on a pedestal and their female counterparts would simply be in the background. That masculine-driven artform of abstract is dead to me.


What female artists inspire you?

Helen Frankenthaler

Lee Krasner

Louise Bourgeois

Tracey Emin

Frida Kahlo

What sort of music do you listen to while you’re painting?

I’ll find music really affects my mood, the doors I’ll just go mental it depends what mood im in if it’s a sunny day, I’ll listen to reggae.

Is that a good thing? Sometimes just to get a vibe.

Do you have any desire to try out any other mediums?

I’ve been recently dabbling with photography (With a very shit camera) but always taken an interest in it and learn about the technical side.

I used to walk around with a camera and film everything.

But clothes is definitely the next thing.


Thinking Outside

First published on Writers Bloc

There seems to be an unspoken rule, that as writers we must have ideas flowing like a continuous fountain. To the uninitiated, it appears that we’re sitting on an abundance of thoughts just waiting to be romanced into words, and that the only problem is stringing them together (oh, how I wish).

Mindfulness is a lingering buzzword. However, being mindful and present is one of the most useful tools I use when ideas run dry. It may sound like pseudo Instagram #inspo philosophy, but most of us rarely do it. We live in a world which we look at, but don’t take in. By paying attention to external surroundings, you open up a world of potential ideas. It takes conscious thought and observation to bring these ideas to life, but the following advice is a guide on what has worked for me.

Look Up and Jot Down

Our attention can be limited – among the Buzzfeed articles and dog-walking-on-its-hind-legs gifs, we forget to look up. We think we take the world in, but it’s mostly momentary glances up from our phones in order to dodge something; hearing something odd or someone bumping into us – even then, we only look up because the world has broken into our personal space. We go through the day thinking about lunch, what we’re doing later, the future, the past… and we don’t take in the present. This is where writing things down helps a lot. Jot down what you see. Even if it’s just in your phone notes – it really helps cement an idea and view it clearly to help it grow.

Get among it

I’ve found that studying or working somewhere central sparks all kinds of writing inspiration. The CBD provides thousands of strange conversations, weird and wonderful people, and scenarios that you can accidentally stumble upon, and that can make for great ideas. They don’t need to be groundbreaking – for instance, a while ago I saw a man walking with a big bouquet of flowers. Let me show you what my writing mind did next:
Who are they for? What if he trips over and the flowers fall on the ground, ruined? What If I bring another character into the mix? Or put the man and his flowers in a different location? Maybe a happy, chubby Labrador could come waddling over and eat them. Huzzah! A story idea.

Public Viewing

Cafes & public transport are prime spots to find inspiration for your writing. It’s particularly useful to “overhear” the ridiculous conversations that go on. My favourite over-hear was a drunken businessman talking to his mistress – you know when you’re drunk on the phone and you think people can’t hear you, but they definitely can? It was one of those. He wobbled and slurred his words as he pleaded for her to come over, and then proceeded to ask how ‘Geoff’ (presumably her husband) was going. It was excellent. And everyone else was completely oblivious to it.

Forget yourself, and become a floating sponge in life – really watch the way people interact. This means everything – body language, mannerisms, the way people talk on the phone, their tone, right down to the location.

Pay especially close attention in intimate spaces or places where you find yourself spending uncomfortable amounts of times with others in a confined area – public transport, waiting areas, and the like.

Find your angle

To find a way to make use of what we’ve observed and noted, it can be useful to try to align these things with our own values. What do you think about it? What do you have to say?

“How does this person feel about this situation?”

“How would someone else feel about this situation right now?”

“Why does this occur in society and how do I feel about it?”

For both fiction and nonfiction writers, this questioning can help you find an angle – a way in – to your story.


It’s too easy to ignore cues, zone out and think of ourselves, but noticing life and thinking about it is something we already do. If you feel short on ideas, you can tap into this reflective part of yourself. Practice being engaged with your surroundings and feeling present, and allow this to connect you with your creativity.

Be present, listen, watch, observe. Ask more questions and seek answers. Ask yourself ‘why?’

The Illusion of Instagram

Written for SPOOK Mag

Instagram is the world of the seemingly attainable, yet it’s a faux-reality shown through a 1:1 square window into someone else’s life; a window where we choose to display only the good and the glamourous to validate self-worth through materialism and numbers. But this false life becomes a place of envy and insecurity for users who see Instagram as the reality, and a breeding place for negativity, spending money and hours to continually evolve and create their online image to keep up likes and followers.

 We’re shown only what they want us to see, displaying lives built on ambiguous Instagram page descriptions – “Style. Positivity. Explorer of Life. Eater of Kale. Raw Life *peace hand emoji*” – photos of perfectly flat-laid brunches and numerous branded products and clothing that Instagram “bloggers” or “influencers” seem to just have. Hidden behind a haze of exaggeration as you’re left scrolling and wondering: what is it you actually do? A fake world that conceals more than what a few shadow and highlight adjustment can – and that a certain pose, outfit and material items will dictate your likes, and apparently your hierarchy in the world.

The fact that we can dictate what our followers see is already an obvious sign as to what your own followers are seeing. Why would you show them the time you ate a whole pizza to yourself when you could show them the time you spent $200 on a rad new outfit? But to younger or impressionable users part of the problem is a lack of transparency. Influencers and bloggers who seem to have fashion products that pops up out of nowhere and the vagueness of paid advertising.

Instagram envy can become a breeding ground for self-loathing over the lives deceptively ‘better’ than your own, A small window that displays only 1% of the genuine reality, the filter choice and VSCO cam edits, but the PR company, plethora of emails, money spent, sponsored advertisements and deals made between the ‘influencer’ and the product. Bloggers hardly adhere to guidelines to inform users of the weeks of preparation that’s cropped out of the square and made to be seen as ‘Oh yeah this? This was just given to me, #nbd.

Wannabe users try to chase that dream by spending above their means to flatlay an outfit fresh out of its box, only to be tossed aside onto something better in a month. That $200 sequin halter and sandals looked great in that pure white and marble flatlay, but now it will forever live in the back of your closet whilst lusting after a $200 Daniel Wellington watch that you saw a girl with 200k followers wearing just to stay relevant which becomes a never-ending cycle of validation through others.

The deception is this illusion that all the ‘cool kids’ have banded together, while those are left out of the loop to continue lusting after the idea of free cocktails, blogger friends and making money while doing… whatever it is they do.

I suppose it’s much less glamourous having a group of 20-somethings standing with their friends in a new season jumpsuit (advertising) and a wool hat (advertising), against the backdrop of a pink sunset, drinking cocktails at a bar (advertising) with the caption cheapened by ‘#SPONSORED #PAIDAD #AD #DRINKRESPONSIBLY,’ or the reality of the 40 other shots of a half-blink, or hint of cellulite that’s been posed so meticulously out of the photo – but followers have the right to know. Then again, these influencers don’t want the appearance that they’ve ‘totally sold out, man’. They want to maintain the fantasy of the edited warm-tones of the blogger life, even if it means misleading and exaggerating their image, and it keeps the wannabes continue wanting because of its illusory easy attainability – ‘cause how else are you going to keep followers?

However quixotic and star-sparkle emoji the Instagram illusion is it’s definitely easy to buy into when you consume the honey-soaked, never-ending good vibes as reality. But as your parents said back in the 90s: “not everything you see on the Internet is the truth.” That truth is the weeks of preparation and tonne of photo editing, emails and company endorsements. These people have the following to dictate what to show or not to show, and the good is always more interesting than the bad.

Ethical Fashion at MSFW

The tingle of prestige and the sense of audacity you get in a brand-new outfit doesn’t need to stand binary with ethical practice. As Melbourne’s fashion elite clink their glasses to swiped credit cards, the shriek of a yearned dress on sale, the bitten nails of anxious designers that come with this year’s MSFW. The question of ethicality and sustainability becomes an ever increasing question on the glossed lips and fresh minds of fashion week participants.

In a bid to open up the question to a now curious audience MSFW is tuning in to questions and firing them back at its recipients, including the designers. In an effort to consider honesty in designs, manufacturing and sustainability from students and consumers to industry veterans.

To create awareness, you need an audience. ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ and ‘I Dream of Denim’ are two events by Box Hill Institute Flinders Lane campus running during MSFW that aim to percolate discussion as well as educate emerging designers on the importance of ethical production by using only upcycled materials. I spoke with Debbie Pratt, Head Coordinator of Fashion Design at Box Hill Institute, about the MSFW events and why fashion students need to engage with sustainability principles from concept to consumer purchase.

With the increasing awareness of fashion’s current sustainability approaches, or lack thereof, it’s reassuring to see projects and opportunities like this among MSFW which itself can be a vortex of product waste and unethical brands. It’s a slow progression but it is one indeed. As more and more media begins to surface with the likes of Hessian magazine, films like The True Cost, Slow Living magazine but it’s projects like these that encourage students, as the potential future of the fashion industry to consider the procedure from concept to retail sale as a tangible item to be sourced, costed and manufactured – even potentially globally, and of course, innovation in upcycling and still maintain appeal among buyers.

With over 2000 lives lost in India, factories slowly being shut down and questionable ethics on some of the biggest names in Australia, and the world it’s no wonder consumers are becoming dubious on the whereabouts of their garments. This is why Waste Not, Want Not plans to instigate discussion on sustainability and ethical manufacturing in the world of fast fashion. Pratt explains, ‘the fashion teachers decided it is very important to educate our students and explore how sustainability can be incorporated into the design process and think about design differently. It allows the students to engage with their designs and think outside the box from standard perils such as materials and reinventing a trend.’ It’s not just about environmental factors but health and wellbeing, workers exposed to harsh chemicals, low wages and terrible working conditions just to save a few dollars is something that needs to be considered too.

Although the challenge of upcycling and using only recycled materials is a daunting one, we can look at the likes of Alexandra Hackett who has built her emerging design repertoire into upcycling showing consumers that ethical fashion isn’t all beige organic cottons, miss-matched materials and over-locked edges.

As well as this, both ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ and ‘I Dream of Denim’ enable students to think about the shapes and silhouettes they create, challenging standard design and societies general structure of fast fashion. ‘I Dream of Denim’ makes use of off-cuts from locally produced and ECA accredited label, Nobody Denim, as well as second hand jeans. Within the projects, these usually discarded fabrics are used as embellishments and students explore various materials and natural fibres  and how they can be used in their designs.

‘Fast fashion is having a significant impact on the environment with a huge quantity of apparel being disposed of and going to landfill’ says Pratt. Not to mention the hazardous chemicals and water waste that goes into the manufacturing process. The awareness for young students and the public is important for both the designer and the consumer to change fast fashion and minimise waste, Melbourne is a city of listeners, and full of open-minds, so this is one step forward, all it takes is to shift their thinking.

‘It’s time we all start questioning where, who, what, and how designers and companies are sourcing and handling their procedures, we need to be educated on the real story of our clothing.’ Pratt closes. To add to this, as consumers we’re the lifeblood of the industry and we are integral to the fashion industry. This also counts for intellectual property of local designers. No change will be made unless education is instilled, but it takes those fresh ideas, innovation and reinvention to alter the minds of the masses. Waste Not, Want Not is great initiative to showcase the imagination of young minds and give sustainability a breath of fresh air.

When? ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ and ‘I Dream of Denim’ runs from the 30th of Aug to the 7th of Sep

Where? Centre for Adult Education, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Alexandra Hackett/ALCH for HESSIAN Magazine

It only takes one idea to change a perspective, and RMIT Fashion Design Student Alexandra Hackett is of the few who are redefining sustainable fashion. Forget wool blends, awkward hemlines and shades of brown. Alexandra’s adaptation on ‘upcycling’ fashion is a harmonic fusion of self-expression, hard work and forward thinking.

Hackett’s resourcefulness and skill at repurposing is one to envy – stuck on an island with her with a sewing machine and you will come out more chic than ever. As Hackett calls it – “trash turned fash,” these designs are physical symbols of turning waste into want. And it’s shifting the perception of sustainability to making ‘the unwearable, wearable’ one Astroturf bucket hat at a time.

Like most of her devoted followers, we became privy to Hackett’s designs through her Instagram, under the alias ‘Sheniqua.’ Hackett tells Hessian, “[The name] started off as a joke, but now I feel quite attached to it.” As she reaches her final project for graduation, her popularity is ever growing. Although, is the Insta-name ‘SheniquaDoezInstagram’ a title she wants associated with a potential label? “I think it is more approachable if it’s not professional. It attracts attention. People think, ‘who on earth is this??’ and then they see the designs and say ‘oh, actually, it’s not that bad.’” Hackett says.

Social media plays an important part for any young creative, but you can see how much time and ardor have been put into each one of Hackett’s designs. The fashion student is in her final year and has already got followers eagerly anticipating her next design.

When it comes to sustainability, Hackett isn’t one to preach at her audience, but adapt literal definitions to her life and her work. “I really like definitions because they can be interpreted in many different ways.” When questioned what sustainability means to her, Alexandra Hackett prefaced with the dictionary definition: “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level. Conserving and ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.” This definition is noticeably apparent when you thumb through Sheniqua’s Instagram profile (the modern day portfolio), you can see how ingeniously she conceptualises an evidently useless item into an expression of literality and revival. Through unconventional materials and broad-minded ideas, Hackett constructs seemingly impossible fashion of banana skin bras, doormat slide-ons, sealed ketchup packet jerseys and security tag sweaters as wearable art. The designs are met with both bewilderment and awe. They merge into something of a new entity; given another breath of life through regeneration; a simple idea is so inventively executed.

Hackett’s clothing not only has apparent style and aim, but also poses a question to the consumer. “Before they throw things out, I want to make them think ‘can I do something else with this?’ and just to get people to question ‘do I need this?’ before they buy something.”

Hackett’s literal designs of wearable artistic expression work well as one-off pieces, but how will Hackett produce these materials into a consumer context? “The key is finding the application in the fashion world that you can make easily and works well with the fabric – like the IKEA bucket hats, I can make them easily enough and they represent the idea [of sustainability] on a small scale.” Hackett says.

So are you always on the scope? “Yes. Always. Everything. Right now there’s a rubber mat over there that I’m eyeing off, I’m just thinking, ‘hmm what can I do with that? Would it be suitable on the body?’ It’s actually an addiction.” However, in the cutthroat world of #fashion it isn’t always endless inspiration and innovation, “sometimes I get really stressed that I’m going to run out of ideas one day, or that someone is going to create something before me.” And a similar thing happened when Jeremy Scott released his McDonald’s range for Moschino for AW14/15. Hackett had been producing McDonald’s sweaters and products long before the high fashion collection was debuted at Milan Fashion Week and was admittedly annoyed upon its release.

As mentioned earlier, Alexandra Hackett is of the few challenging how we perceive sustainability. We’re no longer in denial about recycling and sustainable fashion – it can be transparent and outspoken. As Hackett has shown us, upcycling and repurposing can be chic. The greatest appeal she has with her audience is the perfect weave of candor and creativity.

Alexandra Hackett’s devotion and ‘never-not-working’ attitude to fashion and determination to slip through the gaps to global awareness is what has people taking note. It’s clear that Alexandra Hackett knows no bounds when it comes to recycling materials. From Chux wipe dresses to McDonald’s chip-bag clutches, the limit of her resourcefulness and invention it seems, does not exist.

Five Ingredients to Becoming a Baller for Pepper Passport (Three protein ball recipes with ingredients that you’ve actually heard of)


photo by A Conscious Collection via

First seen on PepperPassport

If you’re someone who does any kind of moderate exercise (or you just follow fitness #fitspo Instagram accounts) you’ll be aware of how beneficial a protein hit is an hour after working out. It maximises muscle repair, and keeps you satisfied and energised. And while we don’t all have access into a succulent T-bone steak straight after the gym; This is when you grab some (protein) balls and get on with it.

But, have you ever actually looked at the list of ingredients on the back of a protein bar/ball?!

Owing to the ridiculous blend of preservatives, freaky pseudo-foods and fake flavourings, it’s pretty much impossible to identify a single ingredient. And admittedly, it’s too easy to stay in blissful ignorance when the flavours you’re up against are Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel or some other faux delicious flavour – which is understandable – I mean – it’s cookies and cream we’re talking about…

As much as I myself love those oh-so delicious flavours, my priorities are more inclined towards the cheap and nutritionally packed.

If you’re thinking: “yeah, look, I could make my own but that takes time and effort which I don’t have. Ever.” Cool. But these recipes have FIVE ingredients. Each recipe can be done in under 20 minutes with no baking – and you know, it’s like, better for your body and health and stuff, no big deal.

Choc-Almond Power Protein Balls


  • 1 cup raw almonds or almond meal (or any other raw nuts such as walnuts, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • Coconut water (as needed)
  • Chopped cashews/chia seeds/desiccated coconut for rolling


  1. Put almonds/chosen nuts in a food processor and blend until fine (tbh, can also just use almond meal for this part)
  2. Add the dates in the food processor and blend together until you have a moist mixture
  3. Add the cacao powder then feel the mixture, it should be a fudgey, gooey consistency – if not, add small amounts of coconut water to the food processor until the mixture fudgy enough to roll into balls. (I used about a table spoon of coconut water)
  4. Roll them up and if you feel you need some extra texture, you can roll the balls in chia seeds, desiccated coconut or chopped nuts. (I used cashews)

Makes 10 balls

94 calories per ball
2.2g protein
6.8g carbs
3.5g sugar


5th March 2014

Client: Flair Florist and Design
3 Pages: ‘Home’ + ‘Wedding & Events’ + ‘Who We Are’


Say it with flowers: Flair Flowers and Design boasts the best quality in fresh, full blooming flowers. We provide a personal approach that uses innovation to capture sentiment and emotion within every design. Based at our iconic Burnley we’ve set the standard from all others for 25 years.

Our flowers fill your senses with colour, wonder, aroma and a blooming beauty that remains for weeks. Just as that of a delicate flower, our clients are precious to us; we aim to bring a unique and innovative approach to every flower arrangement and decoration. Just let our personal touch reflect what you’re thinking with exquisite colours and magnificent silhouettes.

We, sculpt, bind, entwine, glue, paint, balance & construct using an array of flowers, foliage, bark, fruit, wood, glass, ceramic, cords, wires, fabrics, ribbons, feathers – the elements to achieve the dream are endless… no matter your vision, we can create it.

Most of our suppliers and flower-growers are local – giving us daily access to the best and freshest produce possible. If you need something out of season or truly exotic; we also have access to suppliers around Australia and the world. There’s rarely an order we cannot fill, at any time of year.

Melbourne`s favourite florist for over 25 years!

Weddings and Events:

A visit to our studio is an experience. Constantly evolving displays provide great decorating ideas and incorporate foliage, and furniture for inspiration for any occasion. A sense of tranquillity pervades the welcoming oasis on 372 Burnley St, indeed.

From the simplest style to the most fantastic extravagance, Flair brings a fresh & innovative approach to flowers & decoration – and your next event.

Individually tailored for your occasion, our experienced staff look forward to designing your flowers with the warmth of chic elegance, or the bold adventure of modern style.

Consultation is by appointment only. We can then take the time to discuss in detail the design & direction your wedding or event is heading.

When planning your special day or event, put yourself in safe hands.



Who We Are:

Flair flowers & design established 2001 – led by Aly Eastmure & her team of exceptional & talented florists, has been wowing professional & private clients all throughout Melbourne & beyond since early 2000.

Having trained & worked for 13 years, with the late, great, Kevin O’Neill of Toorak Road, South Yarra, Aly is proud to list Kevin as her greatest mentor.

One thing Kevin taught me was: “never be afraid to use your imagination”

Aly also gained international experience and inspiration with leading florists abroad.

Flair flowers & design aims to bring a unique and innovative approach to flowers and decoration, with a warm and personal touch & strong emphasis on attention to detail.

“A polished perfection that is second to none.”

Our active clients and preferred supplier partnerships include: Mariana Hardwick Couture’, Perri Cutten, Stuart Rattle Interior Design, Palace Cinemas, The Cranlana Project, The Hotel Windsor, Mansion Hotel & Spa, Hilton South Warf, Bursaria at Abbottsford Convent, Bayleaf Catering, Truenergy, Enterprise 500 Victoria, Hawthorn Football Club, Shell, Sussan Corp, Transit, & VACC.

Mexican Madness for Couturing

Hola, Couturing compadres! It’s that time of the year to dust off those ponchos and pull out the good tequila, because its El Grito time! Mexican Independence Day this Sunday the 16th September, and if you’re anything like me and love a good excuse to eat disgusting amounts of delicious food, mix up some margaritas, all while in $2 shop moustaches then read on.

But if you’re wondering what to do and how to plan it then don’t worry because I’ve complied a list of Mexican fiesta ideas for you and your amigos’ to enjoy on this fine Spring Sunday.

Forget the messy fish bowls at Taco Bill; this is all about authentic Mexican experiences and the real deal quality food in Melbourne.
To start us off in this Mexican celebration; Trippy Taco located at 234 Gertrude St, Fitzroy. Trippy Taco is a Mexican mash-up of dirty street food and home-cooked vego and vegan Mexican; wrapped up and handed to your table in a foil-wrapped burrito of delicious. Exotic spices, fresh ingredients, rich, wholesome flavours garnished with the perfect amount of cheesiness and happy service – what more could you ever need?

Also, friendly tip: their chilli fries are must.

Please note: Do not go here with someone you want to impress.

If you’re after a bit of flavour and perhaps some tequila to keep you company, you’re your next destinations is: Senoritas located at 16 Meyers Place, this restaurant a zesty twist on authentic Mexican. Perhaps a little less cheesy than Trippy Taco, it’s a bit on the higher-end, but well worth the extra change. Again is gluten free and vegetarian friendly. Senoritas pays homage to the vibrant, colourful Dia de Muertos and rich Mexican culture through its décor and its food. Their homemade tortillas, slow-cooked pork, cactus salads, are just the beginning, bursting with succulent (hey, hey) flavour, modern spices and texture. An evening not to be completed without a cheeky tequila shot – Hey, it is Mexican Independence Day, after all.

But maybe you’re the type who wants to skip the food fiesta and head straight for the alcohol? Next up is Little Blood located on Level 1, 272 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. If there’s going to be a classic Mexican tequila stop on your route to a drunken Mexican hat dance, then this is it. With numerous sombreros fixed onto the roof and single-man hammocks perfect for lazing on while you drink, the bar has a perfect appearance of a classic Mexican shack, and, of course, the bars own favourite kind of tequila- the Tequila Tromba. Bar staff with an incredible knowledge of their tequila range, and a large array of elaborate cocktails and authentic tequila drinks to choose from you and your friends will be well on your way to swinging bottles of tequila and dancing the Mexican hat dance in your sombreros like true amigos.

If all else fails and your friends are into more of a DIY Mexican fiesta then don’t stress because we’ve got a great way to get a home Siesta kick-off is to crack open that old bottle of tequila or even some Kahlua, and have yourselves a good of a party as any!

What you’ll need to do:
1) Head to a local $2 shop to stock up on novelty Mexicana items; such as ponchos, moustaches, sombreros, inflatable cactuses, candles and of course the Piñata!
2) For food, head down to your supermarket and put everything from the Mexican section into your trolley, and include ingredients for your special own taco, nacho, burrito and quesadilla recipes and don’t forget the alcohol!
3) Decorate your dinner table/kitchen/lounge area with all things Mexican and to create an even better vibe, YouTube some Mexican classics.
4) Cook everything up (see Google for answers)
5) Eat until you’ve utterly lost your self-respect and you’ve managed to get more food on the poncho than in your mouth
6) Toast to your amigos for sharing Mexican Independence day, then get drunk and enjoy the fiesta!

Now to thank Mexico for its beautiful, wonderful food (and country, of course)! Diviértete!