Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Cassandra of luxe and elegant clothing label, Cassandra Pennisi. Born out of Cassandra’s love of illustration and freedom that fashion follows, the label employs subtle yet striking details into the garments, paying homage to landscapes and the natural environment. Plus, bonus points for Cassandra who believes in supporting the local fashion industry, manufacturing all clothing in Australia. Read on…
Tell us a bit about Cassandra Pennisi and what we can expect to discover?
Cassandra Pennisi is a label passionate about instilling confidence and beauty within the wearer. Designs employ a unique take on classic styles with an injection of modernity. Elegant, sophisticated and flattering; garments display the designers’ attention to detail through her fabrications and intelligent design detail. We believe in supporting local industry and manufacture all garments within Australia. Luxe fabrics with textural interest and surface decoration are combined to create timeless keepsakes. Handmade millinery pieces are created by the designer in an array of textures and colours. Every head piece created is unique to the Cassandra Pennisi label.
What inspired you to start your own label?
I learnt a great deal whilst interning for other labels and found I had the desire to put all my energy and creativity into building a brand which others would hopefully love as much as I enjoy creating. I have always loved the idea of my own business, allowing the flexibility to determine how you work and being able to set your own goals.
How has your creative style developed over time and what inspires your work?
As time passes, I’ve grown as a person and this reflects the way in which my creative style has developed. On completion of each collection, I critique my designs and work on ways to improve and refine the style and essence of the brand which I wish to portray. Inspiration comes from everywhere; an experience or adventure, vast landscapes and nature, art, books, music, films, the surroundings of my existence. At times I discover what my inspiration was when looking back over my work. The current Spring Summer collection ‘Airborne’ was inspired by Honey Bees. They are fascinating creatures with many facets to their presence within the environment they inhabit. My millinery pieces are inspired by the free flowing forms of nature.
What is your workspace like and what is your creative process?
Through my studio windows I am lucky enough to enjoy the view of a tree filled skyline and the very tip of Mount Dandenong, creating a workspace which is enjoyable and inspiring. My creative process varies and ideas can come at any time. Generally I like to source fabrics before deciding on final designs as this can heavily influence the outcome of a garment. I experiment by combining texturally diverse fabrics to achieve a desirable result as this can inspire further designs. I map out and refine a lot of ideas in my head before putting them on paper. For my millinery pieces, I work directly with the materials to create unique designs.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
As a small label, finding manufacturers which are the right fit for your brand and are able to accommodate your requirements can be difficult. Building brand awareness and making sure we are reaching the correct audience with the resources available. Ensuring the bigger picture is always in focus to overcome small hurdles.
Reflecting on a collection once it is completed and acknowledging the amount of work that has gone into it is worth it when you receive feedback from customers letting you know that they love the designs and fabrication. I am lucky enough to be doing something I am passionate about and it’s nice to appreciate the small wins, whether that is exposure in the media or great sales. All the work that is put in is building the brand and moving it forward.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I aspire for Cassandra Pennisi to be a label which is respected and admired within Australia and the overseas market. I aim to continue to grow the brand and gain stockists both in Australia and internationally.
You can find the Spring Summer 2014/15 collection at Design A Space on Chapel Street, Windsor, Melbourne