Having joined QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Fashion Incubator last year, Brisbane-based designer Monica Tovar is adding a third collection to her repertoire of internationally influenced fashion that will be available in 2015. Continuing to develop her label on the basis of cross-discipline collaboration, Tovar has preserved her passion for working with fellow creative practitioners in structuring the brand around what she is passionate about in both creative life and reality.
“We are always influenced by our heritage and experiences,” says Monica of the Latin influence of her collections. “My passion for my heritage, my interest in travel and my experience of living in Australia all complement and influence the inspiration for my work.”
“This year, I have found that being immersed in the Australian culture has been very nourishing for me. The people and landscape of the country has influenced me in a way that will bring an interesting outcome in the development of my label.”
However it’s not only the surrounding natural environment and culture that influences Monica’s designs, but the “fulfilling” experience of growing her business as a whole in the collaborative setting of the Fashion Incubator. With an opportunity to interact with industry mentors and gain constructive advice on how to strengthen a creative business, Monica has since utilised this mentorship in transforming various ideas about fashion, art, culture and heritage into an equally tangible and commercially viable product. As she explains, “being surrounded by people who are genuinely interested in your growth and with a similar outlook creates an environment of support and motivation to strive to achieve.”
It’s this hub of creative collaboration, support and conceptual development that has assisted Tovar in the formation of relationships with the wider fashion industry, having recently forged the significant transition into fashion retail. Now stocked in several boutiques across Queensland, the element of physical retail in Monica’s business is integral to the longevity of the relationship between garment and wearer, and is sure to continue with the imminent launch of Monica’s ‘Cumbia Passion’ Spring Summer 2015 collection.
Influenced by a traditional Colombian courtship dance, Monica has again sought inspiration from her Latin background to produce a visually enticing and aesthetically advanced collection, whilst maintaining the fundamental goal of producing wearable clothing. Employing the figure of a female dancer embedded in a mix of watercolour-based backgrounds as a main character in the printing process of the fabric, the collection focuses on movement in an artistic form – a technical development by Monica as a fashion maker in addition to conceptual designer.
But the most exciting element of collaborating with industry mentors is, according to Monica, the comprehensive opportunity to refine your creative discipline whilst learning of the intricacies of running a business in a competitive market. “Technical mentors have been a crucial advantage to the business when making decisions around the minor details for each garment,” says Monica. “All of those minor details, when critically addressed, create something of a higher quality.
“When working in a creative business, innovative ideas can often be unrealistic from a budget perspective. With a constant need to channel these ideas into an achievable and commercial framework, mentors play an active role,” says Monica of her growth from emerging designer to business owner within the Fashion Incubator.
“Collaborating with industry mentors has been a nourishing experience to the business,” she continues. “When starting up a business, a new question arises every minute until you close the first cycle. Mentors have been very good at presenting exploratory questions that have helped me to build the foundation and vision of the company.”
“My goals are in place to create a label that believes in collaborations and a ‘working together to create greater outcomes’ view; a label that envisions a business as a way to live, to spread ethical and community values, and a way to display artistic skills.”