At a time in our modern world when religion and politics are not seen as the saviour but as the cause of many of society’s problems, we have become skilled at turning a blind eye (especially the fashion world). Thank god (maybe literally – haha) for designers like Tina Kalivas, whose wonderfully beautiful clothes dare to shake us out of our complacency. I first came across her clothes a few months ago when I was contacted by a PR agency representing new young Australian fashion designers. I’ll admit that I initially rejected the opportunity to write about Australia and its fashion scene on the ground that apart from RUSSH magazine, TV, Dress Up, Willow, Arnsdorf and Sass & Bide I felt that there wasn’t much style and energy to blog about. Well, I soon realized my mistake when I discovered several other inspirational peripheral characters, notably Tina Kalivas.
Yes, I know. Instead of being stubborn I should just learn to embrace my faith in creativity and as a lover of good fashion I can only rejoice in the fact that style nourishment can be found … even in Australia!
Tina Kalivas created her latest collection in collaboration with highly skilled Hazara women living in the suburbs of Sydney. The idea was not to create controversial pieces or be provocative. There is of course a gentle tension and complexities emanating from the clothes but the challenge was to set beliefs and conflicts aside to reconcile with the world. Politics should never overshadow the talent and relevance of the designs. Tina combines real traditional crafts (intricate embroideries, beadwork, cross-stitched patterns, motifs and symbolism) with more contemporary cuts and colours often reminiscent of the joyful reds, greens, yellows etc used to enliven the austere and often harsh environments of Afghanistan. The military tailoring is a big part of the collection and I suppose another way of approaching our ignorance when it comes to the Afghan spirit. The flavour of this collection is refreshing but remains cool at the same time.
Tina Kalivas trained in London for 8 years. She worked for Alexander McQueen, Clements Ribeiro and Russel Sage.
All pictures courtesy of Tina Kalivas