TALENT Q&A: Davina Reichman
Davina Reichman is an amazingly talented Australian-NYC entrepreneur & fashion scene queen. Strong and confident in both her various businesses and her creations, Davina is definitely one you should keep your eye on!
Get to know more about her work and passions in the following interview we had the pleasure to do with her.
Women’s Mafia (WM): You moved to New York not so long ago and you already have established your name in the NYC fashion scene. From your impression so far, is there a big difference between Australia and New York in the way the fashion industry works?
Davina Reichman (DR): Globally, fashion-industry eyeballs seem to fall on the American market. Catwalk shows are dominated by American designers and the ‘seasonal’ trends seem to surge from the northern hemisphere into the southern hemisphere.
The Australian summer dress runs in-line with the beach lifestyle, healthy frames, originality and natural spirit. Even though the very latest Australian fashion trends are taking into account the designs of New York’s most recent fashion week, Australian designers are developing their own take on this, creating designs in which the climate remains temperate and sunny, where it never snows and the locals play beach volleyball till the sun sets.
Australia’s international reputation for generating some of the dynamos in the fashion scene is gaining greater momentum. Initiatives such as Being Born Again Couture and Austrade are helping to raise the profile of Australian fashion, particularly our emerging designers, and serve to highlight their design capabilities to the New York fashion industry. These events include retail buyers, fashion editors, stylists and agents and serve to foster links for Australian designers in NYC.
WM: Where do you find your inspiration?
DR: I am either designing practical, functional clothes or eccentric, quirky couture garments. The focus is on the crazy, yet the beautiful; the obsessive, yet the controlled.
I am a fashion entrepreneur, amongst other things. I find cool concepts that have never been done before, like my first in the world iClothing range: iPad compatible clothing with pouches like kangaroos and koalas. The iTee and iDress are a hands free way to store your iPad on the move – a stylish solution to carrying the iPad.
Now that I have lived in NYC for under a year, I carry a more global vision – it’s like 10 cities in one. The excitement is just exhilarating. The streets of Manhattan shape my ideas.
WM: What would you say to a young person who wants to make it in the fashion industry?
DR: Develop your own style and break the barriers. Innovate: don’t blend in with everyone else. Like so many glamorous jobs to which so many aspire, there’s a lot of hard, exhausting work, but it is worth it.
Be polite and pleasant to everybody, no matter what their position. You never know when somebody you have met could be the key to your future.
WM: You certainly cover various aspects of the industry, from design to management, producing fashion shows and even public relations. What’s your favorite part of your work?
DR: My favorite part of the job is when fashion designers that I’ve worked with make a name for themselves, thrive and be successful.
Recently, Natalie Imbruglia said of a Being Born Again Couture collaboration, “It is one of my favorite pieces”. It was very gratifying to have a result of one of my shows get such high profile attention. When I am able to take such talented people as Michael Lo Sordo and Chris Horder, and help them get the attention they deserve, that is very rewarding.
Nicola Finetti, an Australian fashion designer collaborated with the artist Guy Peppin for Being Born Again Couture. They followed suit, creating a Being Born Again Couture range by Nicola Finetti Spring/Summer 11/12 by creating Arrow Peplum Full Circle Dresses and Pastel Mermaid gowns shown at Australian Fashion Week 2011.
Natalie Gruzlewski wore the Being Born Again Couture Finetti/ Peppin gown to the Logies in Australia in May.
I am so proud of Finetti and Lo Sordo to take that extra leap into wearable art.
WM: If you could work with any person, in your field, alive or dead who would it be and why?
DR: I would time-travel to the 1950’s, when Dior and the prime of Givenchy and Balenciaga were ubiquitous. I would work with Coco Chanel, the couture designer who revelled in expensive simplicity. Chanel set the stage for modern fashion by creating a signature style, brand awareness, and a social buzz around herself like no one had ever done. What I admire most about Chanel was her ability break from the pack and set trends rather than follow them.
WM: Why fashion? Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do?
DR: I have long dreamt of working with fashion, designing one-off pieces for my own personal collection. I used to be in the corporate world but I have always followed my own path and instincts when it comes to design, creating styles that are whimsical, contradictory, yet confident with appealing feminine aesthetics. My passion is fashion – I live and breathe it. I always wanted to start my own businesses. I wanted to do something new, novel and creative.
WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
DR: I am always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities.
Women’s Mafia can assist to forge a solid connection to emerging women designers who have been seeking out a woman who knows what’s what in the fashion industry, giving you valuable advice on producing fashion shows, marketing, PR and events.