What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I was always interested in art growing up and studied it both at school and as an extra-curricular activity. Both of my grandmothers are very stylish women so they sparked an interest in fashion within me. Those two influences, plus other special women in my life, meant becoming a fashion designer was an obvious choice.
Did you receive any formal training?
I studied at the Whitehouse Institute of Design for a number of years in Sydney. I was then awarded a scholarship to complete my Master of Fashion Design at the Accademia Arte Moda in Florence, Italy for a year where I studied advanced techniques such as moulage.
What was your work experience before starting your own brand?
I interned at Vogue Australia for a year while I was studying at the Whitehouse Institute of Design. As soon as I graduated, I was approached to show my debut collection at Australian fashion week and so the Camilla and Marc brand was born. All of my experience has been gained through the rapid growth of our company.
What motivated you to start a label with your brother?
Marc and I are very close in age, so trust each very much. As such, there is no one else I could imagine running a business with.
What has been your career highlight?
There have been so many along the way, so it is too hard to choose one specific moment. Some highlights have been opening our amazing flagship boutique in Five Ways (Paddington) and celebrating our 10 year anniversary by opening Australian Fashion Week in 2013. Additionally, we have had the opportunity to meet so many influential people along the way such as HRH Prince Charles and other world leaders.
After 12+ years, is it a challenge to remain creative?
There is always something new and exciting to be inspired by which sparks my creativity. In particular, when I’m travelling through Europe, I love to visit the wonderful galleries, observe the magnificent architecture or walk through the street and people watch.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in business?
The importance of perfectly balancing art and commerce.
Tell us about yours and Marc’s differing roles and responsibilities.
Marc and I have different strengths, which is why we work together as a team so well. I am more focused on the creative direction of Camilla and Marc, where Marc is more involved with the business-oriented tasks of the business. However, we always consult each other and make important decisions together.
What does it take to be a successful designer?
You must always offer something new and modern, whilst staying true to your brand’s message and listening to your customer’s needs.
How important is it to have “good business sense”?
It is absolutely crucial to have a good business sense in order to, not only survive, but grow in the Australian and international markets.
Does Australian fashion week play an important role for your label?
Australian fashion week is an excellent way for us to present our brand and its collections, and we have participated on numerous occasions throughout the label’s lifetime.
What is key to Camilla and Marc’s international growth?
We’ve been mindful to build solid foundations in the international market, whether it be learning about the different customers, partnering with the best stockists and featuring in inspiring publications.
How do you see the future of fashion?
The digital space is rapidly changing the fashion industry, so I predict everything will become much more accessible, whether it be the people we work with, the products we produce or the customer we are able to connect with.
Describe your personal style:
Timeless, modern and tailored.
How do you find a balance between being a fashion designer and a mother of three?
I’m very lucky to co-run a business with a family member, meaning I have the luxury of creating a routine that works for me. Of course, every day is different and very busy!
Where do you see your label in ten years’ time?
There are so many possibilities, but I would love to see our international market grow even more and explore more product categories.
You can find Camilla on Instagram at @camillafreemantopper
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