5 minutes with….Suzan Dlouhy, Fashion Designer.

Photo:   Martin Ollman

OutInCanberra has done a Q&A style profile on SZN! I love it so much I have posted it in full below, but head here to see it on their website. Thanks to writer Carly Devine.

Photo:   Martin Ollman

Local fashion designer Suzan Dlouhy has been very busy. Not just the name behind the popular label SZN, Suzan is also one of the 'Three Little Birds' from the newly established pop-up boutique/make-shift office and work-space, Three Little Birds and Little Boy Blue at the Nishi HotelHotel, and has also been commissioned to make 100 scarves and bandanas for the volunteers at this year's National Multicultural Festival!

After winning the design competition, Suzan has hand sewn each scarf and bandana that will be worn by the staff this weekend. Suzan says the design (image on the right), was drawn from a combination of pictures she had taken herself at previous Multicultural Festivals here in Canberra. She studied all her images and drew inspiration and print ideas from the clothes worn by people in the photographs and then illustrated them in the official festival colours. To Suzan, the print represents both unity and diversity, which is what the National Multicultural Festival is about—individuals celebrating different cultures and backgrounds. The design also features on the festival's compilation CD.

Here we spoke to Suzan about the all the above and lots more!

Q. Congratulations on winning the commission to design a print for the Multicultural Festival volunteer scarves and bandanas (and now CDs!). What do you think made your design sit apart from the other entries?
A. My absolute love of the National Multicultural Fest! It was the first glimpse I had of Canberra when I moved here 7 years ago, I was amazed that a small city like ours could have such a turn out, and I have been photographing the event every year. So the inspiration part was easy… I think when you really love something it shines through in your work!

Q. We hear you are busy working on your new collection at the pop-up creative space, 'Three Little Birds and Little Boy Blue'. How is the new ‘office’ going?
A. It is the most beautiful space to work in. I am surrounded by creativity, and have the chance of direct engagement with people. My space was designed by Netti from April’s Caravan to suit my personality and provide me with a work space, I’m sewing on a 1950s machine in a 1950s garden setting! All within the amazing Hotel Hotel foyer.

Q. Has it helped you focus and come up with more ideas being surrounded by other creatives?
A. Absolutely, I can lean over and go ‘hey Gina (of G.Ginchy) what do you think about this fabric…?’ Or as was the case last week, all three of us fashion designers (G.Ginch, Perpetually Five & SZN) were applying for FASHFEST 2014 and could bounce ideas of each other, which ultimately allows for a quicker refinement of our ideas.

Q. We are excited that you will be injecting some colour into your new collection this year! What is the influence for this new collection?
A. Articulating diversity! I constantly struggle to define my style, and find that there is no one solution or look that I need to adhere to, that all parts of my creative expressions are valid. So this year for FASHFEST I would like to present this as two sides to my label, a contrast of colour, texture and technique.

Q. What has been the biggest highlight for SZN so far?
A. How well Canberra has embraced my label and the local fashion industry in general. Last year was a whirlwind of events and the best part is that I have been able to work on such diverse projects, from FASHFEST, to Sustainable Threads, Help From the Underground, QL2 dance costumes, Street Theatre opera hoodies, Shotgun Cubs’ video clip costumes, Canberra 100 SPIN Wear burlesque show, RAW Canberra, 50 Years of Fashion Canberra Centre’s, Celebrate Africans in Australia, Modern Market, La De Da Uniforms, Wiradjuri dance garments and Hustle & Scout. Wow, I’ve never summarised it all in one go before!

Thank you for chatting to us Suzan! We know you must be flat out with lots of projects in the pipeline. Lastly, a few just for fun:

Q. I would love to travel to Colombia, South Africa and the Czech Republic because its too long between visits to see my family.

Q. My heaven on earth is anywhere above 26 degrees with good music.

Q. If I could have one thing in the whole world it would be time because I have so many ideas and not enough time to act on them.

Q. My favourite designer is Rick Owens (at the moment) because he gets the show part of presenting his work.

Thanks Suzan, we can't wait to see the designs in action!

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