Get To Know Emerging Designer Emma Bovill

We meet Melbourne based fashion designer, Emma Bovill to discuss graduating, what's it like being a creative in Australia, her hopes for the future of fashion and shooting collections in bathrooms.

Hi Emma, how are you? 

Well thanks, just cold, (Melbourne and most of Australia is really wet atm, so I’m wearing 3 pairs of socks to stay warm). 

Could you explain the inspiration behind your collection? 

Sure, I’m really interested in the notion of taboo and the abject when considering the body. Particularly the idea that a bodily element like our hair or skin could become something so vile when detached, while being adored when a ‘living’ part of us. For this collection, I’ve focused on the bathroom scene and explored the stigma attached to the unclean bathroom. The normally discarded elements become decorations by viewing the scene with childlike naivety, focusing on colour and texture. 

You’re currently based in Melbourne, the fashion capital of Australia, could you tell us a little bit about the fashion industry over there? 

There are great opportunities for emerging designers to showcase work on a commercial scale, through industry events like VAMFF and MSFW. Also more interestingly spaces like Centre For Style, which fuses performance, fashion and art together to create a platform for conceptual design practitioners. We’re definitely seeing a change of pace, with a focus on considered on longevity in fashion. There is more hype about Australian-based emerging labels and smaller design houses and boutiques. Unfortunately the manufacturing industry is struggling in Australia, with so many bigger fashion labels turning to offshore production, but I’m hopeful that won’t deter young designers. 

What have you been up to since graduation? 

Ah I’m just as stressed and busy as I was last year completing my honors year. Although now I’m not really doing any of my own work. I’m working for other Melbourne labels, gaining confidence and funds together for making my own work. I had a gallery exhibition recently titled ‘Vanity Soap’, I made a bathroom scene to display some of my textile and jewellery work. I’m currently putting a website together and working on an accessories and underwear collection. 

I hope that we’ll revert to a slower-paced fashion production calendar and consumers will become aware of the detrimental effects of fast-fashion

What do you believe in as a designer? 

Credibility, intent and necessity. So many objects are being pumped out into the world to just be discarded. I think it’s important to consider why designs are beneficial. There are many considerations along the production line of a collection, but considering the end-point of a garment or object is pivotal. 

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge young designers face today? 

Not burning-out. I have friends that are successful designers that still have to remind themselves what they’re designing for. 

What are your hopes for the future of fashion? 

Technology excites me, developments within textiles will enable designers to create incredible things. 

I hope that we’ll revert to a slower-paced fashion production calendar and consumers will become aware of the detrimental effects of fast-fashion (socially and environmentally) considering what they wear and who they support. 

What’s next? 

I’ll be working on accessories and underwear amongst other small conceptual projects. I’m a little obsessed with the idea of having another exhibition too, so I’ll probably to make new work for that. 


Photographer –  Maite Pons 

Designer – Emma Bovill 

Model – Emma Hakannson 

MUA  – Artemis Ioannides 

Interview – Tori West