A Mount Isa business woman has been recognised for her edgy millinery at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
Owner of Millinery by Mel, Mel Atherinos attended the race that stops the nation for a social weekend with friends, but was surprised to see one of her designs as a finalist in Fashions on the Field.
Mel's friend and client Renae Porta, entered in the Fashions on the Field and made the top 10 at the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day preliminary round, wearing Millinery by Mel designs.
"I have been designing millinery for Renae for four to five years and this was her first time in the Melbourne fashions, so it was a nice surprise to watch her success," Mel said.
"There were a few ladies in the fashions wearing my designs, some were custom and others were bought through my web store.
"I ended up with four ladies that went through the preliminary round out of 40 to 50 girls."
Mel said she was proud to match up against some other big brands in the fashion industry.
"It is pretty exciting. Coming from Mount Isa and the fact that I am new to the industry, it was a good feeling to see my designs on stage," she said.
"The competition is high, but I think my designs compete just as well as others. I have my own style so I don't like to follow trends too much, I like to keep true to myself."
With some women taking 12 months to design their Melbourne Cup outfit, Mel said she had orders coming two years in advance.
"Ladies who enter in the Melbourne Cup Fashions are my biggest advocates for generating business," she said.
"The ladies who wear my pieces like to promote who they are wearing, so it does attract some fashionistas to my brand. However there are only so many designs I can do and I am nearly at full capacity now."
Mel said there were some beautiful stories that came out of the Fashions competitions, with one lady going above and beyond to make her dress suit her millinery.
"I had one lady purchase my millinery but couldn't find an outfit to match," Mel said.
"So she went to Bunnings and got paint to match the millinery and painted her design on a large canvas. She then took it to a digital imagery shop to be scanned in a high resolution photo and sent it to a fabric company. Her mum then sewed the fabric into her dress.
"The extremes that some people go to for fashion is amazing and their stories are pure dedication."
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