Glycerine Collection by Rokk Ebony

The starting point for this collection was people – asking them questions and having conversations. I wanted to discover where people thought fashion in Melbourne was headed, and how they felt about it. I spoke with a range of people; colleagues, stylists and clients from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and generations.

The common thread throughout these conversations was that there was no common thread – everyone had a different opinion, not because they were out of touch with fashion or trends, but because the thing that makes us all individuals is that we are unique. There is no one, right answer.

This is what I love about Melbourne. It’s one of the few cities I know where, for example, you don’t see everyone wearing blue shirts just because blue shirts are ‘in fashion’. People are free to be individuals, doing their own thing and creating their own look – and it’s acceptable for them to do so. It’s not like high school where there were clearly defined cliques based on interests and the fashions that went with them (goths, punks, jocks, band geeks etc). Out in the world, we’re shuffled together like a deck of cards. Depending on how we’re feeling, we change our look from day to day, or take elements from different fashion ‘genres’ and mash them together to make something that’s our own. It’s what excites me about working in the fashion industry.

I believe that to research and develop a new fashion project, you have to look to the past. This is where I found the inspiration to create Glycerine – not only the hair, but also clothing and make up. By being able to draw on a variety of styles and eras, I was able to identify elements and details that not only inspired me, but that I was able to recognise on my friends, clients, peers and people on the street.

As my storyboards started taking shape and became more refined, I had to decide who I wanted these women to be and what I wanted them to represent individually and as a collective. I was motivated by the feminist movement taking place not only on the streets of Melbourne, but in fashion and our culture as a whole. I didn’t want to objectify these women, rather promote them as independent, empowered, equal, free and yes, desirable.

I chose black turtlenecks for these women for a number of reasons. For me as an artist, it was a timeless and consistent piece of clothing that spanned decades and genres in my research. It is subtle and comfortable – not flashy or exposing. I wanted to highlight the hair as fashion.

In the past, I have spent a lot of time making the hair perfect – seamless and structured with limited movement. But to celebrate fashion and individuals’ interpretation of it, I wanted some imperfection and to experiment with different textures and shapes and add movement. I injected colour to enhance what I had created and make the hair leap from the page. I feel that each of these images is unique, and can stand alone or make a cohesive collection that I’m extremely proud of.

My goal this year was to challenge myself and do work that took me out of my comfort zone. I believe that as artists or anyone working in a creative industry, we need to keep pushing the limits and reinventing ourselves to promote growth not just as individuals but as an industry.

Hairdresser: Scott Condon; Colourist: Charlene Fernandez
Salon: rokk ebony, South Melbourne, Australia; Photographer: Elizabeth May Kinnaird
Make-Up Artist: Sarah Baxter