CASEA The Label
This month we return to our Revolutionary of the Month post where we meet a promising new or emerging Australian designer. Cassie Hewitt, the young Sydney based designer behind new label CASEA, talks to Jacqueline Miholos about her design story.
Who’s the person behind CASEA the label?
I’m Cassie, 24 years old and my heritage is half Filipino and half Australian. I’m currently working full-time in Surry Hills as the design assistant at Cue Clothing. I love Vietnamese food, colour and prints as you can probably tell from my designs.
What inspired you to start designing?
I used to go shopping with my mum and two sisters. I’ve always loved fashion. However, I found that when buying clothes, I only really half loved them. From a young age, I’ve always wanted to make clothes that reflect my personality desired fit. I’ve always also really appreciated craftsmanship. For my label, I’d say that my designs suit a niche market, as they’re very different to the average designs on the market at the moment.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Like a lot of other designers, I draw inspiration from travelling. As fabric is a big part of my designs, I like to choose those first and then design according to what would suit the fabric print and then add things like embroidery and beading, the opposite from how a lot of other designers design. I’m also inspired by different subjects. I like to put contrasting colours together and make them work.
What is your favourite part of the design process?
My favourite part of the design process is trying to make my different crazy ideas work and transform into a beautiful piece of clothing. I always like to tie in my Asian heritage into my designs with the prints I choose including floral designs. Snake prints are my favourite, so you’ll notice that a lot of my designs include an element of a snake print. I feel like this also makes my designs individual, statement and recognisable.
Tell us about your experiences studying and interning for Manning Cartel, Bianca Spender, Carla Zampatti and Sara Phillips.
I studied at the Fashion Design Studio after beginning my studies to become a chiropractor but had a change of heart! When I graduated as the Australian Graduate of the Year in my (design) course, I realised that fashion design was definitely going to be my career choice.From then on, I really put my mind to it with the amazing help of the Fashion Design Studio, who were always assisting us to continually push boundaries.
With my internships, I completed them before I started studying fashion design and therefore I didn’t yet have design skills. However I was able to do some simple tasks like cutting, product allocation and simple sketches which cemented my desire to become a fashion designer.
As the current Design Assistant at Cue Clothing, although their minimalistic design aesthetic is quite different to mine, I have learned so much about designing products that will sell in the market. Cue is also the biggest Australian brand that continues to manufacture in Australia – a business which I’m very proud to be a part of and continue to learn from.
What are your values when it comes to fast fashion and slow fashion?
CASEA is considered a slow fashion label. However, I want my customers to make up their own mind on how they wish to shop. I want my customers to love what they buy. I’d love them to feel as though they can’t live without the pieces. If they purchase beautiful, unique pieces which will last a lifetime, they won’t feel the need to buy as much. In saying that, I also appreciate Zara and H&M. I think they are good at what they do and I particularly like their marketing.
What are you most proud of in your designing career so far?
I would say it would have to be my show at MBFWA last year. It was pretty awesome to show my first collection to a big crowd of people. It was great to have all that really positive feedback after the show. That experience really inspired me to continue on with my design journey and to grow CASEA the label.
Challenges you’ve overcome?
One of my biggest challenges so far is having enough capital to operate the business and to continually create new designs. I find that in this industry, everyone wants you to continually put out new things and when there is limited capital to do that, it can be hard to remain relevant. Another challenge I find is having the confidence to know where my price point is. As all of my designs are handmade by myself, I really want to ensure that I am valuing my time and effort and everything else that goes into my designs.
What are your dreams for CASEA?
My biggest dream is to go international with CASEA. I will also be really happy to establish CASEA more in Australia. One of my long term goals is to open a flagship store on Pitt St. I’d then expand into all the other Australian states. That would be amazing!