The level of creative talent coming out of Canberra right now is truly inspiring and exciting to watch. From the outside it may look like an effortless, over-night success but behind the scenes the work required to make it in any creative industry is enormous, particularly in fashion.

To be a successful designer requires skill, vision, patience and hard work – this combination of requirements are all evident in Charne Esterhuizen, the designer behind Maak Clothing. Charne designs with incredible innovation, using 3D (soon to be 4D, but more on that later!) to create amazing and unique pieces which push the envelope on wearable art. Charne also works closely with musicians, including designing for The Jezebels, Boo Seeka and Hands Like Houses.

Charne is nothing short of inspiring and I was lucky enough to borrow five minutes of her time to talk all things fashion, design and Canberra…

Charne, tell me about MAAK Clothing and how it came to be…

MAAK started when I was in my final semester of my fashion degree, but I officially launched MAAK this year. I guess that year between my degrees and starting my label was a time for me to reflect on what exactly I wanted to achieve with MAAK. I always had a love for fashion and the construction of garments.

What lead you into fashion design?

Coming from a South African background, it was hard to decide what I really enjoyed at school because the only subjects offered in college there was math and science. There weren’t any fashion subjects available to me there. At the age of 16 I arrived in Australia and I started a class in fashion design and instantly fell in love. I’ve achieved a lot since then, working with amazing people and learning a lot about the industry.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently printing a 4D dress, the first of its kind in Australia! 3D printing has been a major influence in my work and I am interested in 3D printing manufacturing because it can provide recycling and up-cycling within the fashion industry. The fashion industry itself produces tonnes of waste each year with garments made from synthetic fibers, dyes and non-degradable objects.

It is so important to buy local, buy organic and buy recyclable garments. I am producing this 4D dress with my fellow sponsors, Aussie 3D and Jaeger John Vallejera at Crux Media. We are partnering up with Wollongong University to get this dress printed locally and the final dress will be visible to the public in a month or two.

Describe your design aesthetic…

Working with a range of different creative people my design aesthetic ranges, I love working with layers and telling a story with my garments.

Who or what inspires you?

People inspire me, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. It drives my creative thinking. That is why I love working with musicians, they are all so different and push me to test my ability.

What does Canberra mean to you and your work?

Canberra provides a great living space where everything is easy to reach, not to mention the fashion industry is growing really quickly here. Because MAAK is only a small brand, Canberra is the ideal place to begin to build a consumer base. In the future I would like to expand across Australia.

Favourite spot in Canberra?

Braddon – I love the vibe, the culture, the scenery.

What is next for MAAK?

MAAK is currently fundraising to head to Vancouver Fashion week in March next year. This is my second invite after being unable to attend the first time and I wouldn’t want this opportunity to pass a second time. I will be launching a F/W collection for both men and women and incorporating 3D printing into my designs.

Image credits:
Makeup artist: FZR
Photographer: Aphrodite