Donald Martin – A Flair Award Winner
What have you been doing since last month’s Flair Awards held in Taree?
Gardening. That’s all. This time of the year, the garden is just a mess. And because I don’t like the hot or the sun, I have to get it all done now, so I don’t emerge in the summer. In terms of designing, well that’s it. I don’t sew now. I don’t think about it until I have another project come to mind. I hate sewing; it really makes me cranky, and I want to throw things just thinking about the process.
> Before we get ahead of ourselves, take us back to when designing clothes first crept into your mind.
Well, I just wanted to learn to sew. Simple. I went to TAFE and did a fashion course, and from there it all started. It was very step, step, step as you go. Another student was going to enter into Flair that year; I submitted one piece and it got in, so I thought, “That’s nice.” I didn’t like it, but it got in.
> Tell us about the pieces you entered this year for Flair.
I entered two pieces. One was a little cocktail orange top with fringy bits hanging down everywhere accompanied with little shorts. The model, Karmen Wells, loved the shorts, so I gave them to her! The other piece was a bridal dress made of little different sized circles. I worked it out how long that dress took me – at least five hours a day, for six months. It had a big split!
Karmen looks amazing in both and I think that if she wasn’t in them, it would not have done the dress justice. She owned them. And it does make a difference … if you can pick your models, it’s a good advantage.
> What was it like to see them coming to life?
I was so nervous this year; I have not been so nervous in my entire life. They did look amazing. I still don’t like them, but they looked amazing on that catwalk. And everyone liked them, which was great.
> You said you don’t sew now, unless you have to. Can you explain why?
It is just not what I like to do. If I had to make money that way, then I would starve to death! (Laughs). I would die a horrible, miserable death. If I could, I would love to be a better drawer. That’s why I don’t think I will ever be liked by design colleges – I am a terrible drawer!
> Is it your big dream to be a designer?
I would love to have my own shop one day, but I am so far off that. I would like to go to college, because there really is a lot more I could learn.
There is always something you don’t know. And to be amongst other designers who all have the same mindset, it would be amazing.
I was invited by a college for an interview in Sydney last year, which was a huge compliment. But this year I have to try and get better at my drawing. I have a month and a bit to get my portfolio together if I would like to be considered, but I don’t know. Maybe I will; maybe I won’t.
> When you are not designing, what are you doing?
I look after my grandparents, but mostly I just work on my garden.
> What inspires you, Donald?
Oh, anything. With this bridal dress this year, the inspiration was just a little pile of coins sitting on the bench that eventually led to the design of all the circles. Immediately something clicked in my mind and, I thought, “Oh, hello”.
But anything inspires, really.
You think of an idea, and you go with it. And triangles … with the orange top, I just was inspired by triangles. Other people like the works, but I always seem to look deeper and put more pressure on myself. And really, I must be mad. ‘Cause other people like these things I design, and I just don’t get it!
> Thank you Donald.