Every garment has a story

Carol Saffer

Fernanda Covarrubias is a Melbourne-based clothing designer tucked in the corner of the Preston Zly bespoke shoe shop on Elgin St.

The clothing racks that mark her territory within the store are crammed with a colourful array of garments that Ms Covarrubias describes as “unique, dazzling, yet stylish”.

She created her eponymous brand, locally manufactured using deadstock fabrics, in Mexico.

Thirteen years of experience in the fashion industry and her passion for fashion and fabric craftmanship were the drivers for bringing her clothing brand to Carlton.

She met Johanna Preston, co-owner of Preston Zly, at the launch of her label.

It was Ms Preston’s suggestion to use the space in her store, and six months ago, she moved in.

Her garments are handmade and transformed in her studio with a timeless design, a solid individual identity, and a story behind them.

She said, “they highlight women’s beauty, and most importantly, help them feel empowered and comfortable in their skin, despite age, ethnicity, or body shape.”

“I understood the power of clothing to communicate a message of personal authenticity,” she said.

“My garments are designed for women who want to be noticed and stand out in the crowd.”

Like many small fashion labels, the small quantities and made-to-order garments she produces for her clientele preclude her from having her garments made by local clothing manufacturers.

“So, I design the garments, create the patterns, cut and sew them and using recycled, pre-loved and fabric offcuts deliver to the customer something that no one else will have.”

The women who shop at her studio are in the 30-to-50-year age group and do not buy their garments at shopping malls or large department stores.

They come to see Ms Covarrubias for clothing that will make them look different.

Every detail of her creations is carefully designed to express part of her story, the materials, and her clientele’s story.

“I have accessories and scarves from $100 to around $240, or you can spend more than $1000 for a one-of-a-kind coat,” she said.

Each garment she makes has a story that she wants to share with every owner.

Tucked carefully inside is an NFC button; tap the button with your smartphone to reveal the story in detail via a web browser.  •

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