Sarah Kalwy's Inspiration for Indigenous Design

The Inspiration behind this piece was inspired by our Indigenous culture portraying our national flower, the golden wattle and our iconic Sydney opera house.
‘I Really wanted to capture the Australian spirit which is why I went The golden wattle has long held a symbolic meaning with Australians especially our indigenous culture and was an important tool used as a source of food, medicine and wood’. She has created the body suit by hand crafting and sewing hundreds of tiny wattle leaves and flowers from neck to toe. The sails of the opera house was created from thermoplastic, vinyl and hours of pattern making, heating, molding and fussing. The headpieces is a collection of Australian natives using thermoplastic and foam to create the shape for the flowers to sit in to.

Sarah believes sourcing all materials from local Australian business is very important aspect to her design, ‘I think we all need to support Australian business more! I have spent the last two and a half years building up my business, creating wedding gowns, providing alterations and one off designs. I have found the best advertising can be closer to home Australia has a lot to offer and I would like to showcase this on a international platform.’

The green and gold is recognizable on a world stage as is our historic opera house.

I have incorporated inspiration from the amazing Australian Designer Jenny Lee, I'm sure your all aware of Jenny lee i have attached some of her designs, the first piece- Wattle, mohair, designed by Jenny Kee, Australia 1977. Photo: Sue Stafford (my design at the end)

Inspiration, Flattery, Copy Cat, What do you Think???

More than ever we are seeing interpretations of Millinery skills let me say maybe being interlaced. During Spring Racing Carnival last year, now a good friend Leeanne Symes wore an Australian Inspired Mohawk. During Magic Millions I met Niki Lea Williams, (aka Pegi Lee) who made the hat and she told me of the story of how she researched Mohawks and came across Paris Kyne and I wearing hats she aspired to make and had seen many images.

Niki is a self taught Headwear maker and she dares not call herself a Milliner which I think others who are Milliners should respect her for this. Most of the Milliners I know have been in the trade for 20 something years and have gone through very rough times when hats were hardly worn. I think there are allot of people who have amazing talent, but I think it is important to be mindful of the people who constantly make hats 9-5 every day and have to sell them with overheads of shops and the like.

Going to Royal Ascot, I thought Ladies Day is about Big Bold Hats and asked Niki Lee to remake the Headpiece as I like things to be distinctive of my style and asked for a couple of different placements. I don't compare myself wearing the hat to Leeanne as the hats looked totally different and go Niki for taking a risk that is not traditional.

Yesterday on the 'Today' show in Australia, a Miss Australia competition has come up to showcase Australian Design. The Hat is remarkably similar to Niki Lea although does show a few differences.

What makes me wonder is, why was Niki not considered when this was being constructed or a collaboration? So many times I will adore a hat, but in all honesty I can not afford it. I love Philip Treacy Hats, I love Stephen Jones Millinery and I am blessed to own a very few of these pieces, but they are few and far between as the price tag is higher. That is OK, because they are amazing talents and their hats are so beautifully crafted and I love wearing them. This does not stop here, all the hats I wear, I adore and they are part of me, with Niki Lea's hat being called 'Matilda'.

Not at any time would I ever go to another person and say “Can you please make a hat similar to this person?”, Why on earth would you do that??

I really think it does come down to your personal ethics and depends if you like being in designer fakes or rather pay for 1 fabulous item and cherish it. I think we really have to value our Artists, Milliners and Hatmakers that are artists for the head. I have heard of many stories of Milliners say that someone has come in with a copy of someone’s hat asking for it to be made for a cheaper price and the Milliners with integrity and 'old school' say, “Why not go to who made it?”

Is it just me???

Please, these people have overheads and work hard, they put their heart and soul into what they do. My site, I have put heart and soul into and it is compromised by others, that is OK, they cannot steal my heart, but they do a darn good job at trying to steal intellectual property.

Can we all draw a line in the sand where we say, “This is enough!”


Yes, the cheaper Chinese mass production will take place in the market, but as long as I am around I feel that we have to say, please have integrity and make your own creative pieces, whether it be in dress design, Millinery and Hatmaking, Visual Art, Music or Websites. It is not flattery!

Above: Leeanne Symes wearing Niki Lea (Pegi Lea) Headwear on Melbourne Cup Day 2014

Above: Anna Mott wearing Niki Lea (Pegi Lea) Headwear 'Matilda' at Royal Ascot 2015

Above: Model for Miss Australia Competition wearing Headwear by Sarah Kalwy


6 tips to elongate your body that you can carry through to Fashions on the Field

How to look taller 101: Create a long, vertical line with as few visual interruptions as possible. (The end.) Higher-cut vamps hide the front of the foot shorten the leg line, while skin-baring styles extend it à la swimsuit models who get on their tippy-toes as they exit pools.


 If you're going long, go floor-length or just a hair above—half-assing it with a midi or awkward ankle-length hem chops up The Line. Bonus tip: Roll up too-long shirt cuffs to expose some extra wrist and forearm because flopping fabric.

 Left Salma wants you to look at her belt and shoes. Right Salma wants you to admire her lip color while trying really hard not to acknowledge what's going on in that keyhole. Either way, Right Salma is successfully guiding your gaze upward so you can't tell she stands only 62 inches high.


It's all about scale, this one. Besides being bad for your back, proportionally dominant bags can dwarf petite bodies. See how much more correct Kate's lunchbox looks next to her frame?



Takeaway #2: Show more skin—all over. An updo or short cut draws attention to the neck, which is like a lightening rod for the face. Too much hair is just plain distracting.



First, NEVER GIVE UP YOUR CULOTTES. Second, if your trousers cover your heels without dragging on the ground, 1) it will look like your legs run from your waist all the way to the floor, 2) you could be wearing platform Skechers and no one would know, and 3) hooves. *clomp clomp*




There's NO Honour Amongst Thieves – It's a Copy Cat Kind of World Z.Goodman

There is no honour in copying, there is no compliment paid. Write an article for me without the expletives she said...fine here goes.

I've been in the industry semi officially a short time. I've been creative my whole life. We all have drawn Aladdin on his magic carpet and Mickey next to Minnie but when does the word 'copy cat' come into it and how can we protect one another from plagiarism?

From the dawn of time when the first lion cloth was donned I'm sure there was an outcry as fashion evolved to the ownership of a style, cut, idea. Before technology there was word of mouth a client hinting at a certain design to her French seamstress which she had seen on the runways of Paris but could not afford. Then came fashion magazines, the aeroplane and the internet. There was no longer boarders restraining the industry lines, they became crossable. Social media has been a god send for some and detrimental to others. Where business can explode and a new trend set growing a name into a well known home brand the dark side of the industry rears its ugly head. Those who copy and make a profit on the back of others who sat for months plotting and planing just how they would launch themselves this year, next season or evolve the world of fashion these are “Copy Cats”. Sadly I now bring us to the niche industry of millinery. A VERY SMALL close knit community of creative who strive every season to redevelop the wheel I may say. Here in Australia the community consists of some 200 or so well known milliners and a fair few amateurs who in them selves just dabble and dip their big toes in the pond. Every year there is a trend to follow set by the runways of NY, Paris, London, Melbourne and other city greats and every year there are a handful who just couldn’t think for themselves. You are not doing yourselves a favour by repeating another’s vision you are actually stumping the growth of our fine industry! How can we evolve if we just imitate colour for colour shape for is true this is how we originally learn from a child, we watch and copy BUT at some point we develop our own instinct, our own editing system and from that point we become individuals! So what right does another have to our design? Sadly there are no copy right laws to protect us only our circle of friends and family to sooth us when we weep or social media to voice our so colourful opinion. Do we name and shame or do we move on to better things?

I want to be known for my work. I cannot afford the luxuries of millinery supplies and am given tit bits here and there. The rest I have strived to think out side of the box. I always went by the rule of thumb “who am I to stop educating the next generation???” ….with the aid of social media such as Facebook and Instagram I would post my “progressive” shots, just a hint of detail to tempt and tickle people's fancy. This regrettably has been my biggest down fall. Earlier this year I created a crystalline diamond head piece for Caulfield Blue Diamond Stakes Day....Obviously I have not reinvented the “diamond” shape, nor the origami 3d pattern I was able to find in a book I bought when my primary school closed their doors but the Mediplax (A plastic which when heated becomes malleable and can be shaped then when cold hardens and can be painted). I had used this for taxidermy for over a decade and the composition was clearly my own, I had not seen it ANYWHERE! I then was coaxed into making a few ready to wear pieces which would be quick and easy to colour for a client, were on trend and were a cheaper alternative so I remade my plastic diamonds and on a headband they went. Being quiet sick this year I had not launched on September the 1st as so many milliners had done but progress shots had been up since January and to my horror woke one morning to find a message board full of “I didn’t know you were stocking XXXX” and “LOOK is this yours???” and “Where's mine?”.....I turned to my work space and TORE UP my headbands, my heart and stomach sunk and there was little to do but apologise to my clients and return their money as I could not bring myself to be seen as a “Copy Cat” though the idea and the construction materials were mine. This milliner was some one I had paid a compliment to and had said if I had the money would happily invest in a piece of theirs I particularity liked as I have NO shame wearing and supporting the very industry I am trying to brake into.

Copy right laws state that just a 10% change to the design is enough to make it an “original” this can be an adjustment in colour, size, technical shape or pattern, but is this fair? Week by week clients write to me an ask me to “remake” a Philip Treacy or send me an image and say “I want this in blue”....well I promised not to swear while righting this so I will leave it up to you what you may think my response is. Yes I am hurting my business financially by putting my foot down but why would you want something everyone else is going to wear???? And how do we compete with industry greats such as China who churn out mass production which wont last you past your second glass of bubbly! Finally we contend with amateurs who offer up designs at such a price that it devalues what others strive to develop and maintained in quality standards. This is when an individual posts in one of these “recycle your race-wear” pages on face-book “I have this dress, show me your wears” originally these groups worked a treat and people were able to buy/swap for something new or find something to match and complete an outfit but has also increased the number of people saying “I want this for $100” or “I can make you this for $100”.

So the next question is can such a small community come up with the same ideas for the upcoming season??? Yes they can... ########, my self and *********** have all used the humble bamboo skewer to create flowing spirals...I'm the only one who has not posted my head piece as it was a piece I was going to wear for fashions on the field but the other two were already launched and worn...this was something I didn’t post nor am I friends with the other two milliner nor have I posted or seen progression photos...bad coincidence so this leaves me where again? Out of respect and honour I will not show the piece I have made and will somehow change it so I can see it evolve into something even more grand. So I ask you where is respect and honour from other milliners? Anywhere where creativity is needed phylogeny MUST be apparent. We would be at a standstill and the world so bland if as artist were to never germinate and nurture an idea. So I say, support individuality, do not as a client ask us to remake designs, show pride and blossom as an artist. BE KNOWN FOR YOUR WORK! And if copied a great man once said “As long as you can take one more step take it”.


Racing Fashion: "Something I love is art.  I believe that Milliners, Hatmakers and Designers are making wearable art.  I feel that we have to be able to vent our feelings when so hurt.  Not everyone will agree, nor will they think it is a place for a public forum, yet if you were copied how would you feel?  I think that it has taken allot of emotion and hurt for Zorza to write this piece and should be understood for what she is saying.  As we know there is no copyright in Millinery but I think as artists there should be some code of conduct or respect.  Maybe this is something that happens allot, but people do not say.  We are not wanting to name and shame, but we are wanting to let people know that people do hurt over something that someone may see trivial.  I ask you to practice mindfulness and not everything is about the bottom line in $, it is about creating what you love and believe.  I ask you not to judge, but to try and act in a manner that is not all about money, but about integrity and kinship in a very competitive industry."  

We are all FABULOUS

Living the life of Fabulous. Well I think it is a permanent state of being. I have no time to sulk, no time to worry what people think and no time to speculate. I am who I want to be and I feel fabulous. For most who know me well, I do have a quiet different side to me, but I still deem it fabulous. I think as we grow older in a world that is constantly obsessed with youth, weight and what is in fashion looks wise, you have to just breeze it off and realise that it is a part of life and it has no weight on your shoulders on who is doing what or wearing what.

Most of my day I will sit at the computer and look at what is going on, people doing their jobs, but life is really good for all of us. We are bombarded with News images that people are ill, dying, being shot, addicted to drugs, we have to look at what we have.

Many assume that my Near Death Experience was due to depression, drugs, suicide. I allow people to think what they want and really it is not their business unless I was doing myself harm, then as a community we should rally around people and not gossip but take active steps to support individuals.

When you are on one side of living and dead, there is no one else there to help and I seldom talk of these times besides with other people who have had the same experience as I believe that it is part of our personal journey that has to be embraced as a being. I am afraid of nothing and death is not really anything I think about.

I had a very bad chemical reaction to a drug used in hospital, it gave me a near death experience, but all I thought, is “Oh my goodness, I have been wasting allot of time.” Indeed 'Time', that is the key. This is something that we don't get back and most and almost everything I do in my life is about feeling good or making the space around me good.

Of course my family is paramount and everyone has issues that really get you down, with loved ones ill and taken from our lives. We can make a conscious decision to constantly live in a fabulous manner. This does not take money, looks, material possessions. In fact after I left hospital, I was bald and over 100 kilo. Many may look at someone and immediately look at them and notice their weight, which is probably a mechanism of pop culture and media. But when you have no clothes that fit you, you have been dumped, taken out of the home and the life that you had allot would feel grief and where to go.

All you have is the positives. I was drained of finances and I would never expect my parents or anyone to pay my way, so what allot of people may see as my life that has been given to me on a platter, I ask you to think again, but if you feel that way, your compassion would not get you past what someone else is to perceived to have and you have not. I am as happy as I am the day I was given my life and my opening of my eyes.

I do walk into a room, I get excited and I love to see what is going on. Every moment you never know what you are going to be greeted with, good or bad, but if you decide to look at the things that are 'bad' as learning experiences you soon learn that there is no bad or even good. It is just being.

As I say, I am fabulous and believe that we all are fabulous. We are all individual and have so many different characteristics. What someone sees as rude, another will see with direct concise information. It depends on how you reflect on how you see the world looking at you. Here is he key, “It is not about you, It is about being you”. We are all running in our own little universe that we depict that someone is doing us wrong or hurting you, but really we have no idea how we are being perceived. I constantly have to convey to people especially as I get closer to them working with or close friends, that I am totally dyslexic and my brain just processes things differently. Something that is incredibly easy like right and left can leave me in a melt down that I will get so confused that I just look with no idea. People think I am joking, but it is that severe, yet I can do other feats that some would not dare to tackle.

Through my journey, I have always believed that my journey is evolving and my philosophy is evolving. Racing Fashion is all about being fabulous and embracing all. There is no age, no size, sex, religion or regimented of what you are expected to be. In fact even when differing on subjects leading to arguments and sometimes ill feelings. This is a time to look at yourself, see how and why this person affects you and just choose that you are not meant to spend time with them.

Often people that I don't get along with are totally shocked when I talk to them, but really if they are there I will speak to them and acknowledge their presence as they are still there. I am not going to stand like a 5 year old and put my hands over my eyes and pretend they do not exist. That is not evolving. We have to agree even though we may have differences that it is OK and we don't all have to hold hands and skip in friendship. So many people equate money to happiness, have a look at the Dalai Lama. (Although I still cannot understand why he was a judge on Masterchef??) Basically if you believe you are wealthy in spirit, that is all you need.

You don't need money to laugh,

You don't need money to have empathy,

You don't need money to love,

You don't need money to be happy,

You don't need money to express creativity.

All these things are easily and readily available. It is a choice, what do you choose.

If you choose to not be fabulous and happy, that is your choice, but in making that decision, don't go out of your way to make the people around you unhappy. If you can take something away from your personality, take jealousy away. Try and evolve your own being into a productive member of society for the positive. There is no such thing as immediate, there is journey and destination, are you ready for your journey? Will you recognise your destination?



Take steps today to enjoy and not compare. We are all individual and have the choice to be who we want to be. To me, you are fabulous, even the people who get you down, they are there for a reason and let the be. Just because someone is miserable that does not give them the right to make you feel horrible. Go on your journey.   

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