Stella Reardon, a 20-year-old currently studying at RMIT University, is the founder and designer of the brand new Melbourne fashion brand Heroines.
“My first year out of high school in 2021 was largely spent at home during the Covid-19 lockdowns. This is when I started to make and sew clothes. I quickly grew passionate about fashion design and swapped my degree from Psychology to Fashion Design in 2022,” explains Stella.
“Since then, I have started a small brand named ‘Heroines’. This name captures how I can take inspiration from the heroines of literature and film, and encourage women – and all people – to be courageous and chase after their wildest dreams.”
A DEVELOPING DREAM
Although Heroines appears to be well on its way to being a bona fide brand, Stella describes it as not yet being a complete product yet.
“I am yet to launch Heroines as a real ‘brand’ with a website, shop etc. However, I started the Instagram page at the beginning of 2022. One of my goals for 2023 is to increase the quality of the garments so that I can set up a website and start selling my pieces,” says Stella.
“Initially, I created an Instagram page to share with friends what I had been sewing. However, since starting Fashion Design at university and wanting to begin my own label, I have begun posting small projects that Heroines has been a part of.
“This includes projects with stylists, personal projects, or more candid, at-home shoots of garments. I think the biggest challenge is increasing the quality of garments to an industry standard.
“This is especially hard because I use a wide range of materials that are often upcycled from old clothes, furnishings or bedding. These can be difficult to work with due to shape and existing seams. Another challenge I expect is the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into setting up a business.”
Stella has that she is inspired by “anyone who has made it as a successful designer”, but that her “all time favourite designer is Alexander McQueen”.
“ … For his sheer ability to comment on the state of the world through fashion. His honesty and creativity is something that will inspire me forever,” Stella explains.
“More recently, I am very inspired by Mowalola, who has become very popular for her ‘Burglar’ SS22 Collection. She is also very talented at sharing her thoughts on the world through design.
“I would love to be able to share my inner thoughts and ideas through my designs, but it is certainly a difficult task!”
A REFLECTION OF DISCOVERY
“As I am still discovering myself as a designer, and always will be, my brand is simply a reflection of this. As I experiment and learn new things through design, my brand mirrors this,” Stella says.
“I think that as I discover parts of myself and experience new things in life, my designs explore these things as well. I would like to be able to pinpoint one concept behind my brand, but in reality, it is constantly morphing and growing as I do.”
According to Stella, the aesthetic of Heroines is still being defined and clarified, and she expects that this will continue to develop.
“Currently, it is very ethereal and feminine. I love to make clothes that look somewhat magical. I do this by sourcing unique materials and giving them texture through a variety of methods,” Stella explains.
“I love how light reflects off certain textiles, especially when texture is given to them. This has been something that has built up my aesthetic over the last year, and I am very excited to see where Heroines goes next.”
As with all emerging fashion brands, Stella has sustainability inculcated in the DNA of the brand: “As a designer, I am very focused on reuse in my practice. I am committed to repurposing used or dead stock textiles – clothing, bedding, furnishing materials).”
“Sustainability is constantly at the forefront of my mind and is something I will continue to improve as my brand grows,” says Stella. “I also make all of Heroine’s garments by hand, by myself. I want Heroines to remain an artisan brand as it grows, where garments are hand-made locally, with superb quality.”
As for the future of Heroines, Stella admits that it is hard to see clearly since the brand is really at the early stages of development.
“It is difficult to pinpoint my long-term goals for Heroines, but I would definitely like to go down the slow-fashion, artisan path. I think the world needs more purpose and care when it comes to creating and consuming fashion.
“I think that Heroines can be a part of this change, and it is exciting to think of the endless possibilities for this brand. I would also love to take Heroines to Europe and explore the fashion world there.”
To keep up with Heroines’ development, follow the brand at @h3roines.
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All images shot by Lux. Read more about their photography journey: Discover an underworld of subversion with Melbourne photographer Lux