Gary Bigeni Is Back


It’s my first ever Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, so safe to say, I’m pretty excited. Walking into Carriageworks is like inhaling some sort of beautiful chaos; there are aesthetic people in unqiuely styled clothes in every corner, some chatting to their friends, lattes in hand, while others are snapping photos of eachother in a way that screams: we do this every day.

The first show I sat down to see was Gary Bigeni, who has come back to AAFW after being diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017, with an inclusive, gender netural collection that is simply brimming with joy.

His highly anticipated Resort 23 collection features hand-painted pieces in silks, cottons, glitter, Italian jersey fabric and vegan leather pieces, each item is made to order and an archived pattern of previous work.

“Coming back after a few years off, I came back and was just like: “I wanna do things that make me happy”, and that inspire me y’know?” Gary Bigeni tells POPSUGAR Australia when we catch up with him backstage his AAFW Resort 23 show.

“I want people to have fun, I want them to feel free to feel however they want to feel in this collection. Whether that’s sexy, playful, moody… I want them to enjoy themselves.

“We shouldn’t take ourselves — or life — too seriously, we should just enjoy oursleves, who we are, and what we’re about, and go with it. I really hope this collection reflects that.”

Full of colourful, hand-painted-to-order prints, bright highlighter colours, transparent shimmer and a mix of flowly and figure-hugging silhouettes, there’s a look for everyone in Bigeni’s collection.

His use of diverse models, in size, age, gender and ethnicity was truly something new for Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, a refreshing change and motivating start to the week. Watching models strut down the runway, all with different stories and backgrounds, brings the clothes to life in a way that really touched me. And made me want to buy EVERYTHING.

As a plus-sized model myself, it was a beautiful experience to watch a runway show and be able to imagine myself in the clothes.

“I mainly sell online because I make to order, and I mostly sell sizes 12, 14, 16 and 18… and that was telling me something. Size 14 is the average in our country, so why are we calling it plus-sized?

“I wanted to do a show and choose a really diverse cast, that represents diversity through every lens, to then be communicated through my clothing, because I want it to be a brand that’s all about anyone picking anything up.”

All the pieces in Bigeni’s Resort 23 collection are gender neutral. Being made-to-order, anyone, of any gender, body type and culture can purchase one of Bigeni’s pieces, and get it made to fit exactly right.

“We need to get into a more gender neutral space in fashion,” Bigeni tells POPSUAGR Australia.

“We’re always putting labels on things. Why can’t we just be ourselves and be who we wanna be without thoughts in our heads like “I can’t wear this; what will this person think about me?!?”

“We should wake up and really enjoy who we are and what we’re about.”

Read more from AAFW.

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