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Q&A: Yumi Morrissey, Fashion designer, on valuing fashion

Yumi Morrissey with Melbourne Catwalk Collection. Image courtesy @jocelynkhouw

Knowing what clothes to buy can be difficult, especially if you don’t know your style and you’re on a budget. It’s easy to go to the mall and get something cheap and on-trend, but maybe there’s more to buying clothes than simply following the crowd.
I wanted to find out what someone in the business thinks about fashion buying behaviour. I spoke with Yumi Morrissey, owner and designer, of fashion label Zilpah Tart. Morrissey has been in the fashion business since 2007 and her collections have graced the catwalks of FashFest in Melbourne and Canberra.
Q: Do you have any fashion tips for students?
A: Be brave, and find something that you think suits your personality. Don’t be afraid to wear things that are more courageous, because that’s the fun of fashion.
You need to figure what your style is, own it and wear it. Even if you have a basic outfit, like jeans and a white t-shirt, you should add something that expresses who you are. It might be a brightly coloured bag, or an awesome jacket, or some huge earrings. Those touches show a bit of your personality.
 Q: Can you be fashionable without having money?
A: Yes, of course you can but I wouldn’t recommend going to cheaper shops. You’re better off going to an op-shop and picking up some decent pieces there, or saving your money and investing in a quality piece that you actually love.
Value your clothes because if you love a piece, you’ll feel good wearing it, and it’ll last.
I remember the first expensive dress that I bought. I wore it a lot and I loved wearing it. It’s more than ten years old and it’s still in my wardrobe. I still love it.
Q: What makes a good outfit?
A: It should be practical, it should be comfortable, and it should look good. Because if it’s not these things, you won’t want to wear it. It’ll be a waste of money and end up in the trash, like a lot of fast fashion.
Q: What are the issues with Fast Fashion?
A: It’s cheap and you might think that you’re picking up a bargain but you’re not. It’s usually made from poor quality material, in sweatshops overseas, it doesn’t last and it’s filling up landfill.
There is a lot to factor in. You have to think about functionality, ethical sourcing, the environment and also the carbon footprint. You’re better off finding a local designer and supporting local business. Nina Gbor has done some research about this.

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