This month’s Revolutionary of the Month, Paul Vasileff has just been named as Young Australian of the Year 2017.
Twenty six year old Paul Vasileff from Adelaide, the man behind international couture label Paolo Sebastian has been named Young Australian of the Year.
Having been taught how to sew by his grandmother, who has a proud collection of all his press-clippings, Paul was also always sketching women and designs before starting his label at the age of only 17. Word spread through family and friends and a growing band of fashion followers who couldn’t help but be impressed by his designs. While his early fashion shows were promoted by family and friends in Adelaide, the young self-taught designer thought he needed a more international sounding name for his label than his own Paul Vasileff. “Paolo” from Paul and “Sebastian” – his middle name – had the ring he was looking for.
Winning a scholarship to Milan’s prestigious Europeo Istituto di Design where he studied for a year, Paul decided then than he wanted to be based in his home town. Told he was crazy and that it was impossible to make it in fashion from Adelaide, he was firm in his decision to stay close to his family and friends. Vasileff worked out that he could still exhibit on the international stage, with a launch in Paris and a runway showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in London, while still being based in Adelaide. He was right.
From two staff in 2013, Paolo Sebastian has grown to a team of 15. As he planned, the couture label is based in Adelaide where all the gowns are actually made, with outlets around the world in New York, Singapore, Kuwait and Shanghai. Clients fly in to see him, while others have measurements taken via Skype, giving them the privacy of a fitting from their own home.
His runway shows have closed the Adelaide Fashion Festival for the past few years where they were sold out well in advance. They are absolutely worth seeing. You can see why his designs and runway presentations are so talked about and so admired in our coverage of his AFF 2016 runway.
2016 was a big year for Vasileff, launching his Gilded Wings collection in Paris. Paolo Sebastian’s 2016 Wildflowers collection now appears to be influencing some of the latest designs and runway shows in Europe.
On being named Young Australian of the Year, Vasileff thanked his team. “It’s huge to be honoured, I’m so grateful… I really hope my story can help inspire other young people to follow their passion. There’s no dream too big. I was told when I started my fashion label that “You’re crazy. You’re never going to be able to do it from Australia let alone Adelaide. ”
Asked what fashion means to him, Vasileff said: “Fashion gives people the chance to dream and to have a sense of a greater reality and a greater sense of themselves and when they put on our dresses they can have that Cinderella moment and get a better sense of themselves.”
Photos: Dimitra Koriozos
See more amazing photos of Vasileff’s latest Paolo Sebastian range here.