Saturday, 29 March 2014


I don’t usually stray from fashion or design when it comes to my blog but since this is my voice online I want to use this opportunity to share a really important event in my life, and hundreds of others in this situation.

You may have seen the #SaveKessab campaign on twitter or facebook, especially if you have any Armenian friends, as this is an attack on Armenians and Christians and not just against the Syrian government.  

All we ask of you is to simply help raise awareness to create some strain on politicians and humanitarian organizations across the world to step up and stop Turkey’s government from aiding these attacks that are making matters ten times worse. Please simply share #SaveKessab across social media, that’s all we ask. Help us spread the word!

If Khloe Kardashian can support it, so can you

I understand some of you might wonder why I am addressing this type of topic on a blog about fashion and events, and might want to close this tab right about now, and I don’t really like to get too involved with politics but unfortunately when events like this affects you personally it gives you a completely different outlook. Even though I considered myself partly a Syrian civilian and was saddened by what I’d see happening there in the past three years, I couldn't completely fathom the extent of the situation there until I realised I, and others like me, will probably never be able to experience the true Kessab ever again. 

Kessab: My parents’ hometown

My parents were born and raised in an Armenian town in Syria called Kessab. Ever since I was born I’ve spent every single summer there in the beautiful northern coast of the Lattakia region in Syria located on the border of Turkey.

Kessab consists of 10 villages that are predominantly occupied by Armenian Christians. I have countless memories of my grandparents, relatives and family friends from both sides of my family throughout these villages.

A few years back, my dad renovated my great grandmother’s house where we used to stay before our regular visits stopped ever since the war broke out in Syria 3 years ago. My parents and my grandmother still went back and forth between Kessab and Dubai until about 2 months ago since that area remained peaceful despite the struggles in other areas of the country. 

This all changed a few days ago when, on the 21st of March, the peaceful town of Kessab was attacked by the rebel forces linked to Al-Qaeda terrorist groups who entered freely from the borders of Turkey (there is an actual video of them just walking past without even a word from the Turkish border control). These attacks led to the 670 Armenian families living there, including some of our relatives, to flee the town without any belongings to the neighbouring towns of Lattakia and Bassit. Currently they are in Lattakia; the families with no relatives or friends in the area to take them in, are sleeping on the floors in the Armenian Church in Lattakia.

As for the churches and houses back in Kessab, the rebels have robbed and destroyed them while taking some of the remaining civilians, like the elderly who were unable to flee, as hostage. And the houses that have not been destroyed yet, are being occupied by the rebels who are making themselves at home in the houses that took these civilians a lot of effort to build.

I watched a video taken and posted by the rebels advocates, celebrating their raid by driving along the main streets of Kessab and destroying the statue of the president. The street was a ghost town and only filled with rummage and debris. This sight shot goosebumps down my spine as I have walked on that exact street a million times while staying with my cousins at my aunt’s house or my uncle’s house just a mere 5 minute walk each from there. That street was always crowded and full of life with people just going there to hang out and get some food or groceries. We used to go down there for walks to get dinner or some ice-cream, and it was the only place I knew outside of Armenia where everyone spoke Armenian including all the neighbours, the vendors and supermarket owners. 

My parents were planning on building a house in Kessab in the land that my grandfather left them before the war broke out in Syria and planned to retire there in a few short years. Now the faith of a whole town is unknown as we hope that one day we can all go back.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by this ordeal and I hope that peace is restored in our beautiful town soon.

Please help us raise awareness by sharing #SaveKessab on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and so on.

Please watch this press conference with the Syrian UN ambassador, Jaafari, where he addresses the Kessab attack at minute 7:27 and explains the situation.

And here are a few other articles, written in English, if you want to learn more about this situation:

- My cousin's personal articles in an armenian online newspaper: PART 1 and PART 2

 If you have any questions you can tweet (@7autumnleaves) or comment here, I appreciate your support! 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Interview: Fashion designer Kara Liu

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Kara Liu a few months back and had a preview of her creations that reflect her love for detail and the philosophy that ‘less is more’, which also happens to be my favourite design philosophy whether it's designing interiors of spaces or jewellery. I admire the perfection in her minimal colour palette, perfectly constructed forms and beautiful lines that she has achieved in her designs at such a young age. Read on to learn more about her and what she has in store for us in the next few months.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born in Shanghai and raised in Melbourne. I don't particularly see myself as being super creative, I'm just very good at organising my thoughts into the visual design. 
I treat the creative process like 'controlled experiments'.
Some of my likes and dislikes...
I like clean things and big spaces.
I like lines more than patterns.
I like 'less' more than 'more'
I like squares more than circles. 
I like textures more than motifs.

2. Describe your background in fashion before you started your label.

I was trained as a fashion designer at RMIT's Bachelor of Design (Fashion), graduated with honours as the top of my class in 2012.
During uni I interned with Australian designers LIFEwithBIRD and Lui Hon. I also took part in MSFW 2012 and LMFF in both 2012 and 2013.
Then I proceeded to intern with Alexander Wang in New York. I worked the Womens RTW Department on the Fall Winter 13 Collection and the Resort 14 Collection.
Won a few awards here and there, including Glue Store Australia's One Percent Design Competition, which lead to a collaboration collection that will launch in Glue Stores nation wide in April.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Details. Not details of anything in particular really, it can be something as interesting as the leg of a great pieces of Danish furniture, or something as mundane as the handle of a water kettle. I like to document these things in my daily life and sketch or drape from them. 
And textures. A lot of times a designs starts from an interesting fabrics. I always spend sometime in fabric markets overseas trying to source unique fabrics and trims.

4. What is the style you try to portray with your garments?

Minimal perfection would be a good way to put it. A very quite, refined, distilled aesthetics. Function is also very important. I don't add embellishments of the sake of it, it has the serve a purpose, either aesthetically or functionally. 

5. What is the most important lesson you've learned since starting your label?

Know your audience and design what you believe in and they believe in. 
And also learning how to step away from your work and look at the designs from afar, it helped me to see a lot of things that would have missed.

6. How do you see your label in 10 years time?

I don't have a plan by design. I'd like to see where it takes itself. For example I did a footwear collaboration with Belmore Bootmakers last year, which will launch in March. I have never thought that I will design shoes this soon but the opportunity presented itself so why not. The products are amazing!

7. What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?

Make sure this is really what to want to do. Because it is not an easy profession. But if this is truly what you love, then work hard, and have fun.

Kara is a very passionate and refined designer with a very impressive resume and line of work. We can't wait to see what her very own label has in store for us in the near future. You can check out Kara's work on her website and through her facebook page