Carla Zampatti On The Australian Fashion Industry Becoming “More Creative” Than Ever

"I think we have all learnt that we are more powerful when we work together."

You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who doesn’t have one of Carla Zampatti’s designs hanging in their wardrobe. Mine, a red and white striped gown which I wore to my high-school graduation, still hangs in its original garment bagand to which, my mum and friends have recycled for major moments of their own. 

Because in Australian fashion, there’s no name quite as influential as that of Zampatti. The designer’s eponymous label, which celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2020, has firmly cemented itself on the global fashion stage, thanks to creations that are as bold, passionate and iconic as the designer behind them. 

With a history like that, it’s unsurprising Zampatti was asked to take part in the federal government’s roundtable discussion with leaders from the Australian fashion industry to help secure its future as the COVID-19 crisis subsides. Industry, Science­ and Technol­ogy Minister Karen Andrews­, who chaired the meeting, said she was “absolutely committed to ensuring the local fashion industry is not left behind” as the Australian economy recovers.

Zampatti had the same sentiments, saying it was “wonderful to see that the government appreciates the contribution the fashion industry makes to the Australian economy”, adding it “showed that they want to assist and ensure our industry grows and goes forward.” 

Carla Zampatti at home during the coronavirus pandemic (Credit: Supplied.)

Withstanding changes is no new phenomenon to the designer, weathering recessions and overseas labels flooding the Australian market, throughout her longstanding career. Zampatti feels strongly about bolstering the Australian fashion industry, telling marie claire: A downturn in an industry like ours can be a stimulus to try harder and do better. I believe that we have a wonderful industry and it will recover stronger and even more creative.”

“I think we have all learnt that we are more powerful when we work together,” the designer adds. 

While the label’s boutiques were closed for six weeks under government restrictions, the brand used the time to perfect its online shopping experience. “We have now fortunately reopened in line with the government recommendations after Australians worked so well together to flattened the curve.” 

Luckily too, the pandemic didn’t hinder her creativity, with Zampatti describing her home as the most ideal location to work from. “It is peaceful, sun-filled, beautiful and I can spend time with the textiles, which is always where the collection starts.” 

As for the longevity of her brand, Zampatti knows it is thanks to her loyal customers who continuously support her. “I appreciate the dedication of my wonderful loyal staff and customers from 50 years ago who are still buying my designs, as are their daughters and their granddaughters.”

marie claire is supporting #WeWearAustralian, helping to shine a light on the Australian fashion industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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