Next generation fashion photographer, Maleika Halpin, creates #nonewclothes campaign


The aficionado of prose and pictures, Maleika Halpin, an Aussie girl from a beach town, Brissy or Brisbane, has frequented more backstage shows during the past couple months than she can ever dream of. She hopped around Australia, from Brisbane, to Sydney to Perth, as well as enjoying the fun in the sun at Fashion Week in Fiji….she’s definitely in full swing. Seriously aren’t we all in awe of this girl’s talent already or what!  Taking amazing photos just comes naturally to Maleika. Her shots really do say a thousand words. When the flash goes off, her photos come out so raw and good. (no. better. adjective. it’s that good) She captures those moments that you wish it was in slow motion so you could relish every minute of that experience. Trust me I was there.

Let’s find out more about this 20 year old Brissy babe.

1.  How did you get started as a fashion photographer?

Am I? a Fashion Photographer? I guess like most beautiful things in life, I was certainly blissfully unaware at first. Making that definitive choice to persevere with photography past the point of ‘hobby’ found me in the throws of clients, deadlines & fashion weeks. I was incredibly fortunate to shoot for Fashion One at Fiji Fashion Week last year, & since then I’ve really endeavored to nurture those working relationships and foster them into flexible & creative avenues & opportunities.

Toni Mativeski Dress Rehearsal, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. April 2013.

2. Best moment shooting?
Getting stuck backstage at Jayson Brunsdon at this year’s MBFWA. Catching the girls in mid-flight as they darted straight off the runway, in behind shrews of photographers, shoes in hand. The elegant drama left me completely breathless with some of my favourite images shot to date 🙂 Those moments of flow are what any creative dreams of.

Untitled-1-1_zps20ac6278Jayson Brunsdon, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, 2013_DSC0041c_zps5a893002

3. What’s your gear?
I’m a minimalist, so I really try to work within my means, with what I’ve got & what I can afford; I still shoot with my first camera, my Nikon D90,  & am saving to invest in good quality glass. My favorite lens to shoot with is a 50mm 1.8, beautiful little point & shoot that really trains the eye.

4. Do you have a particular journalistic style?
I hope not to be definitive just yet. I’m totally serious about documentary photography though. I guess you could say I am “seeking truth & colour”

5. Do you have a photographer idol?
Damien Nikora, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, & Will Davidson

6. I heard through the grapevine you’re big on creative writing –  tell us more about your blog?
Yes! House of Avalon. it’s really just a creative cultivation of my inner ramblings, a space I get to share my photography, styling, & creative ideas; as well as my cumulative reflection on art, music, culture, & technology. I’ve tried to keep it honest, candid & an extension of myself. My 20 plus followers are all very loyal.

…….I have also begun a new style blog initiative called “#nonewclothes”. I won’t be buying any new clothes for 12 months & will be reworking what I already own, & blogging it! It’s a style blog with a conscience! It’s really my endeavor to renegade against consumer society, whilst raising awareness for human rights in sweatshops. I want to run community clothes swaps & eventually help fund a photojournalism trip to Bangladesh, to visit & document the aftermath of the Rana Plaza & tell the tragic story that is at the expense of our wardrobes.



Don’t get me started… my life is a living oxymoron.

7. Funniest thing that happened to you on the job?
I couldn’t name JUST one, I’m pretty much an awkward disaster cake waiting to happen. Being self-contained at such beautifully organized events always calls for many unwarranted mishaps on my behalf. Maybe photo bombing Gary Pepper on National morning news?

8. If you could blow an insane amount on camera gear; what would you buy?
I would invest in old film cameras, a dark room, a creative home to shoot in, a fantastic assistant & more time!

9. 5 things you can’t live without?
My camera, my car, my family, silence & the sun

10. Where can we find you next month? What projects have you got coming up next?
Perth & Fiji Fashion weeks are next on the agenda, & anything beyond the immediate horizon is TBA 😉

Browsing on The House of Avalon is a fashion, hot, sexy goddess haven with a dash of damn fine quality rambles. Absolutely love it. Can’t wait to see more & her #nonewclothes campaign is definitely the new revolution of blogging with a conscience.

Photo credit: Maleika Halpin. BY Kiki Dhitavat


Curated Talk: Eco D the Aussie staple.

Eco D 1Eco D was always a staple of mine while living in Australia… they have a great variety of home-brand basics from Tees to jumpers as well as gorgeous pieces from Michael Lo Sordo to Ginger and Smart for your formal dress. Everything you need in one store!

Effortless, affordable, chic, urban/contemporary with a touch of eco-friendly selection can be found throughout all ECO D stores.

Kiki talks with the Eco D’s PR manager, Olivia about Aussie fashion, online shopping, and her secrets to making it in this industry.

Eco D 21. So what’s the story behind Eco D? How did it all start?

Eco D is a family-run business, which started 15 years ago. It has now become one of the leading multi-label retailers in Australia with 12 stores nationally.

2. What is Eco D all about? What is your aesthetic philosophy?

We’d like to create a unique shopping experience for our customers in Australia bringing the best selection of local and international brands that are not readily available elsewhere. We also place a lot of emphasis on an exciting product offering that has multi-dimensional attributes, and not one distinct style.

We also brought in our own designs and production of casual basics to serve our customers’ lifestyle and needs like simple T’s, cardigans and jumpers etc

3. What kind of brands are you stocking right now? and how do you choose your amazing pieces from all over the world?

The mix is quite diverse and right now we’re currently stocking exciting brands like Manning Cartell, Ginger and Smart, Toni Maticevski, Maison Scotch, J Brand, Watson x Watson, Michael Lo Sordo, Equipment, James Perse and Paige.

We are always working on broadening our product offering to accessories as well, striving to become a well-rounded one-stop shop!


4. How does Eco D embody the Australian fashion identity?

The Australia way is like no other, as often as I travel and as much as I adore the adventure, we live in paradise…

This is reflected in the causal way we dress, so the way Australians shop is reflective of our lifestyle. This is embodied in the way we buy at eco d by working mostly with natural fabrications and styling that can be worn effortlessly from day to night.

IMG_79875. Eco D through the years have become quite a staple for many Australians, what do you hope to achieve in the near future? Any exciting projects coming up in the near future?

We are working on a lot of different collaborations with designers who are important to us. We are really enjoying the process of building the collections together. They are super special as the products are all limited editions and these will unfold from the month of July for the SS13 season.

6. Because Aus/Nz is so far away from other fashion capitals…  What’s the online fashion/shopping landscape like in Australia? How important is it now to have an online store?

It is a growing business and means now we compete globally we encounter the same challenges that all retailers now encounter.

We have just recently launched an online website and in the middle of a revamp. But I find that a lot of people tend to buy from international shopping websites rather than Australian ones.

The online shopping landscape is quickly transforming the shopping experience and local stores need toe be adaptable and make changes like marketing and PR as well.

IMG_79717. What fashion items are your go-to staples in your closet?

My Isabel Marant shirts, drome leather leggings, Rick Owens leather jackets, vintage furs and Ann Demeulemeester ankle boots… LOVE 😉

8. What’s it like working at Eco D?

It is a really wonderful environment we are a small team of 5 at head office and work closely together on a day to day basis…

IMG_80399. How did you get started in the industry? I heard through the grapevines as a buyer? Let us in a little on your journey so far from OC & NYC?

I actually started out in Berlin, I did an internship at BLESS post RMIT where I did a BA in Fashion Design and it grew from there. What I initially intended to be 3 months, turned in two years in Berlin. I worked with a lot of amazing people in the Bless family and gained invaluable experience buying for the A.P.C stores in Germany along with the Anberg which is a series of high end multi brand boutiques. I returned to Australia in 2008 as Buying Director for HUSK and then went on to buy accessories and womenswear for Opening Ceremony. After returning to Australia I meet Felicity through a mutual friend and the rest is history so to speak…

IMG_804310. Any tips for the girls who want a career in fashion? especially as a buyer?

Take chances anything is possible if you want it badly enough, it is an ever changing and challenging industry. The rewards are endless as is the excitement…

11. Anything other fun stories you’d like to share with us along the way?

Meeting Walter Van Berindock whilst working at Bless and selling the collection to him WILD!!! Paris Fashion week dinners are always fun you make so many great friends through buying/travelling and it’s the one time you are altogether working on your favourite thing, in that magical city… crazy stories mostly involve flight dramas not so FUN!!!



Curated Talk with LalaBazaar

During my week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, I got to meet with the amazing marketing gurus of LALABAZAAR. So I snatched Toya for a quick interview to get to know the freshie online shopping destination a bit better!


Lalabazaar is an online fashion Boutique based in Brisbane, Australia. Only just started in September 2012, they are growing faster than ever reaching over 6,000 followers across all online social media platforms. They currently stock Cameo, Finders Keepers, Keepsake, Minty Meets Munt, Three of Something, Shilla, Oneoneseven, Lola Vs Harper, Lala Luxe, Amilita, Joveeba, Chalice, From St Xavier, Lolita and Indie Nation.


Let’s find out what Lalabazaar is all about from Toya, and have a little peek inside their Brisbane office with a little behind the scenes snaps from their photoshoot! xx

1.     Tell me a bit about how Lalabazaar got started?
Lalabazaar was born from a love of Australian fashion labels and a general obsession with looking good! We continue to expand our range with new exciting labels that is coming in weekly.

2.     Any favourite cities to shop or favourite brands?
Our favourite brands are the ones we stock of course! We love our three biggest labels Cameo, Finders Keepers and Keepsake and one of us is usually wear at least one of those brands at work! We also have Three of Something and Minty Meets Munt that’s a little quirky and fun. We are also excited to get a new label called Zed Alliance for Spring!

Our favourite places to shop in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne, but why shop in person when you can do it all online these days!

image0043.     The things you can’t live without…
Chocolate, shoes and… our phones!

4.     What’s your secret recipe to such an immediate success?
No secrets here! We load new stock every week and are one of the few online fashion stores that reward our customers with loyalty points offering points every time they shop with us.

We try to create lots of original content… we shoot our own unique fashion campaign every month on location and produce behind the scenes videos.  We attend fashion shows and industry events for the latest labels and trends for the season to pass onto our followers through our blog, Instagram, Facebook and twitter posts!  There is never a dull moment at Lalabazaar!

5.     What’s your aesthetic philosophy at Lalabazaar? What are you usually known for?
We always want to offer our Lala customers the best prices online and our reward points help us do that.  The more you shop with us the more you save.  We love the creative side to fashion and hope to become renowned for our innovative monthly Cover Shoots, blogs and social media and original approach to fashion.

6. Where do you guys go to for your fashion inspirations?
Every month we go out and buy a HUGE pile of all the latest fashion magazines for inspiration! We LOVE following both high profile and local fashion bloggers to see what every day fashionistas are wearing on the streets. We keep up-to-date with the world of fashion so we can interpret the latest fashion news and trends and pass it onto our customers and followers!


7. Tell us what is the most exciting thing about Lalabazaar?
It is exciting to realise the impact we are having on fashion followers in such a short time.  People say ‘WOW, you only started 8 months ago! It gives us so much confidence to know we are on the right path and we have so many exciting projects on the horizon!

8. Do you think mobile and Internet change the way people shop?
A vast majority of shoppers are using their mobile phones to shop online. And our customers now use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook for their shopping! For us, this means it is all the more important to offer our customers the whole package.  We try to offer them with updates of the latest trends and must-have fashion items but also inform them about the latest hairstyles, lip colour, designers, runway shows and models just by following us on our social media.

9. So what’s next for you?
We have had an amazing 2013 so far and we can’t wait for our upcoming fashion campaigns.  We will also be introducing fashion stylists to the Lalabazaar team for a series of ‘how to’ fashion videos’ and taking on some more leading Australian fashion labels over the next few months.  We will be attending Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney and hope to see fashions from Lalabazaar on the runway as part of  Brisbane’s Festival in August!


I loveee their cute outfits and can’t wait to see more from them soon! Keep updated with them through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and shop away on their page 🙂

Pps. before I scoooot off…. I couldn’t help myself but picked out these 3 items from their website. They have found a new home in my wardrobe!


What Grace is all about: Chic yet accessible, Quirky yet elegant


Grace boutique opened its doors to the hungry-eyed Melbournians in 2007, delivering high street fashion to the loyal stylish crowd.  The founders of Grace boutique brought to the Aussie fashionistas a highly curated eclectic collection of pret-a-porter labels sourced from around the world.

The concept was founded when the two Melbourne girls, Georgia Danos and Ilana Moses were en route to New York City. They lived to create Grace boutique’s presence of chic yet accessible, quirky yet elegant. They are the leaders in the fashion industry to provide fresh new brands that are not easily accessible for the many style-starved Aussies down under. (Unfortunately we’re about too long of a mile away from Intermix and Opening Ceremony)

The girls choose to offer the best array of brands catering towards the Australian market. Grace currently stocks Carven, APC, Rag & Bone, Anna Sui, MSGM, Equipment, Steven Alan, Thierry Lasry, Dannijo, and many more. They do buying trips twice a year to New York and Paris. Eugh. Dream job! Who wouldn’t want to jetset around the world to fashion shows and buy amazing clothes.

Georgia and Ilana put great emphasis on the fact Grace lets each brand has its own identity; every brand is special and unique in their own way. That’s why they chose them. Other than clothing they also have Italian toothpaste brand Marvis, letterpress cards and organic tea from Cali!


Georgia at NYFW outside Rag & Bone

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Kiki Dhitavat sits down with Grace’s fresh-faced PR girl and social media manager to find out more of what Grace is all about and the cool perks of being in fashion PR.

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 2.05.12 AM5 favourite things

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comme + thierry

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So tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into Fashion PR and any particular reason why you chose this career path?

I started off working in PR while I was doing a degree in Media & Communications, then went on to complete a Masters in Fashion and Textiles.  I’ve also been working in retail since I was 16.  I think I started at Grace maybe 4 years ago, and then came back about two years ago and have been here ever since!  I started off working in the store, and then my job quite naturally turned into something else, as I am really interested in social media and everything online!

Tell us a little bit about what you do day to day… Are there any cool perks about your job?

I love my job because every day is different, I get to do a variety of things from talking to customers from all around Australia (and the world!), to updating our Blog (, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram daily.   We are also in the process of setting up an online store, which is very exciting!  At the moment there is lots to do to get it up and running by the middle of the year.  I am very lucky to work with the best group of girls, which means that coming to work is always a pleasure.  We have lots of fun and it’s like getting to hang out with a big happy family.

Where do you find your main inspiration for your branding behind Grace and which pieces to stock? The world is absolutely your oyster…

Our inspirations and influences change all the time but we aim to mix and match a style that is consistent throughout every collection so our shoppers know who we are and what we stand for. Fashion changes all the time. Every season, trend changes really quickly and we have to change with the changing landscape of it.

For example, we started stocking Milanese label, MSGM, which does the most amazing printed numbers. The collection is absolutely ridiculously chic and we can’t wait to receive our next delivery as it flies out the door!  The pieces from our different labels are complemented by the Grace label, our very own line. And our Grace knits which we do each season have gained something of a cult following as well!

So would be a Grace girl? What kind of style would she have?

Each of our Grace girls has a different personal style.  That’s what is so great about Grace – whatever your own style is, there is something in the store for you.  It’s funny to see people who own the same item, but wear it so differently from one another.  I think it’s really about making a piece your own!

You mentioned that Grace is about to launch a brand new e-commerce website – what are your thoughts on how the Internet and mobile are changing traditional shopping landscape and customer interaction?

In terms of e-commerce, it’s becoming more important for a brand to have an online presence and be involved in social media. In order to be competitive in this industry, you really have to be constantly evolving, and this is just another way to move forward!

Everything to do with shopping online is immediate – you can click from a blog post to an online store and buy the item straight away. The beauty of technology is really spoiling us in many ways. It also certainly changes the way you are able to interact with your customer, especially with the role of social media. There is another way to respond and reach out to your customers, as well as closing the gap of advertising between a retailer and customer, specifically when your brand places high importance on brand loyalty like ours. Grace’s main goal has always been to give great service – we pride ourselves on being approachable, helpful and honest, and will carry this through to our online store.  Personal service is so integral in any retail setting, and it is our number one concern when entering the e-commerce world!

Any parting last words…..?

We have a genuine love for each of our labels, and it’s so nice to meet people who love the clothing as much as we do!  We’re all very close at Grace, and I think that is something quite unique in a retail environment.  We’re very lucky!

This wraps up my interview with the talented PR manager from Grace boutique in Melbourne. Grace has always been one of my very favourite multi-label boutique of all time since my high-school days. I can’t wait to see more of Grace online! Don’t forget to connect with them on Facebook: Instagram: and Twitter: here!


Big thank yous to Gemma for the interview and AMPR for providing information. Photo credit: Gemma Carmichael and Liz Mcleish of Street Smith at