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Revolutionary of the Month: Jude Ng

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Design by JUDE

Jude Ng is actively creating ethical and sustainable fashion.  His label JUDE engages local makers and craft artisans to help produce his unique and unconventional pieces. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s rejuvenated Fitzroy, Jude’s beautifully styled retail outlet caters to all ages, body shapes and genders. Known for being focused on quality and creative design, Jude’s designs aim to provide comfort and versatility.

Why is it important to make some of your designs gender neutral?

I believe that the gender neutral aesthetic is a key element in a modern and versatile wardrobe. It’s the way forward for getting dressed in a contemporary lifestyle.

How important is incorporating your background in Fine  Arts into your designs?

Very important. My background in fine arts informs my fashion design work and is able to give me a different point of view in fashion. I approach each piece as I would an artwork. Whether it be it in line, proportion, colour combination, texture or print design, all these elements are combined and juxtaposed to create a unique product which sets us apart from fast fashion.

retail dispaly at JUDEYou create limited designs, while supporting the local garment industry. Why is that and what is the most difficult part of that decision?

I believe there is just too much fast fashion out there and I want to create something exclusive which our customers will treasure. But it still has to be at attainable prices so that they can build a wardrobe with us over the years. I believe that good fashion should have longevity. That longevity needs to be not only in the product itself, but with the relationships we create with people through our work.

We have a passion for supporting local makers, many of whom we have worked with for years now. It is so important to make sure that the local industry continues to grow and thrive. Important creative skills, jobs and traditional techniques need to be kept alive. Fashion has been give such a bad rep for the environmental and social problems it causes, so and we are striving in our own small way to make a difference with what we do.

I think the challenge is fast fashion itself. Fast fashion offers apparel at such cheap prices. We set ourselves apart by offering a unique, quality product.

When starting a new collection, where do you begin?

I begin by looking at previous seasons, what we have done before and thinking of how we can evolve with the new collection. Feedback I receive from our customers is considered along with how we can continue to create pieces which tie in with their lifestyle and needs. Then I look for inspiration. I travel, watch movies, visit galleries, read, people watch, immerse myself in the world around me to get the ideas going.

The JUDE team wearing JUDE designs

Left: Some of the team at JUDE- Lawrence, Graphics Guru (L), Jude (Centre) & Evan, Pattern Maker. At right: Lawrence wearing Jude designs.

Inspiration comes when you least expect. There could be a passer-by who is wearing something in a certain way or with a certain attitude which catches my eye and this leads on to a whole new stream of ideas. All these sudden sparks or ‘mental snapshots’ of ideas are collected in a big notebook which eventually get refined and transformed into the final collection.

Your most recent collection is FRAGMENT MEMOIRS. What is the story behind the design and name?

Fragment Memoirs is a very personal collection for me. It was inspired by a trip back to my hometown of Singapore. I worked with the idea of Home, and how it plays a part in sculpting our identity. A strong theme is the layering of fragmented memories and how memories of the past can be idealised or distorted. We have described this theme with our use of a graphic digital print, which we have carried through the collection.

artisan display at JUDE designs

What is your favourite piece from this new collection?

It would have to be the Emrys Summer Trench. A lot of new ideas, work and love went into the creation of this sculptural artisan piece which we only produced in a very small run of 2 per size.

How important is it to incorporate sustainability and eco fashion into your work?

Very much! It’s important to us to promote ethical slow fashion as part of the message of our work.

What’s been the highlight of your career?

Definitely the opening of our Flagship Store at 252 Johnston St, Fitzroy. This has become the lifeblood of our label and the place where we work in our studio while selling in our retail space at the same time.

Any advice for new designers on how to make a mark in the fashion industry?

I think being true to yourself and your own aesthetic beliefs is key, as well as hard work, persistence and resilience.

Jude NG

Follow JUDE on Instagram at designbyjude

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