Melbourne Label Phoebe Pendergast’s Designs Come From Within

While many Australian designers stick to what they know, creating classic silhouettes that their brand is known for and appealing to a specific audience, it’s inspiring to see young designers break through the noise and push fashion’s boundaries.

Phoebe Pendergast embodies the future of fashion. Creating garments that exude vulnerability and emotion, she encourages the wearer to be more than one thing at once; a true freedom within fashion.

With wispy silhouettes, clashing prints, and soft, delicate tones, the Phoebe Pendergast style is goddess-like, a fever dream fantasy, where you’re the star.

We caught up with Phoebe ahead of her first ever AAFW show today, to see what this process has been like for her.

PS: First, can you tell us a little bit of background about you, the brand, how it started and your main inspirations?

PP: Hi, my name is Phoebe and I’m a 24-year-old fashion designer from Melbourne. I launched my namesake label shortly after my runway debut at Melbourne Fashion Week in 2019. Since then, the brand has been focused on producing a capsule collection of knitwear pieces, but more recently I have been working on a Ready-To-Wear collection which is much more expansive. My main inspiration is to convey authentic emotion and pour my personal sentiments into design. I am now based in London as I am soon to embark on my MA collection at Central Saint Martins. 

Phoebe, shot by Nathalie Scarlette

What are you most excited about for AAFW 22? Is this a dream come true?

AAFW is such a hallmark event on the Australian fashion calendar, so it’s a great honour to be able to present my latest collection there. I’m so excited to share my work on this incredible platform and to be recognised as the ‘next generation’ of fashion talent in Australia. I think I’m most excited to see all the looks come together in combination with the soundtrack, digital artwork and 3D-printed accessories. 

What goes into preparing for an AAFW show?

While it’s such a blessing to have been chosen for AAFW, I definitely feel a pressure to make the most of this opportunity and give it my absolute best. Preparations for the show include a lot of organising and coordination, making sure all elements of the collection come together to realise my original vision. I will be presenting eight looks on the runway which I have designed and constructed over the past six weeks. The process can be quite intense, but as a fashion grad, this fast-paced workload is something I have become quite accustomed to. 

We think that your clothes bring something new and fresh to Australian fashion. Was that your intention?

I have always been drawn to fantasy and escapism in fashion, so this is something I have been trying to access through my own work — imaginary realms and daydreams, an otherworldliness that allows the wearer to transform and transcend reality.

How do you want people to define your brand?

I think there is a soulfulness and vulnerability at the core of the brand, as each collection can always be traced back to a personal emotion or experience. I want to create clothing that allows the wearer to express many different sides of themself at once; I believe you can be sexy and tough and ethereal all at once, so the clothing should be able to accommodate to this kind of multi-faceted disposition.

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