Amanda Cumming & Kate Reynolds
Founded in 2010 by Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds, PAGEANT is an independent mens and womenswear label based in Melbourne, Australia. This fashion design duo met in art school and have since worked in the industry, first assisting at different fashion houses in Australia and UK, as well as working as stylists and costume designers before starting their own label.
Photos by Agnieszka Chabros
Please tell us about your backgrounds and how you met.
Amanda: We have lived pretty parallel lives for the past 10 years, meeting at an art & design course straight after high school then on to study Fashion Design at RMIT University.
Kate: After that, we lived together in London for a couple of years where I interned at Cassette Playa and then worked for Christopher Shannon.
Amanda: I interned for Tim Soar (menswear) and then worked for Christopher Kane.
How did PAGEANT come about?
Kate: Starting a label was something that we had talked about just after graduating but wanted to both get a bit of experience in different areas before committing to something.
Amanda: Menswear was something that we both shared an interest in and had explored it a bit at university. Working for menswear designers probably helped to cement those interests in menswear and inspire us to create an arena where we could explore our ideas freely.
You started designing menswear and then moved into womenswear as well. What factored into that decision?
Amanda: We’ve always had a lot of women interested in what we do and wearing the menswear from the beginning. The decision to launch a womenswear line seemed like a natural progression for the label.
Your designs are very sporty – when you’re designing, what woman and man do you have in mind?
Kate: Every collection is different. The muse for each season changes but somehow always embodies the same spirit, feeling or mood related to our own experience of youth culture.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Amanda: Pretty much anywhere and everywhere! We try to celebrate our version of the ‘everyday’ in each collection. We draw inspiration from our friendship group and what we see around us.
Kate: We always reference contemporary art and strange phenomena found on the Internet!
How do you work together? Who is responsible for what in your team?
Amanda: We do a lot of things together such as the designing and sampling of each collection although I do most of the pattern making and production side of things.
Kate: I handle the press in-house, special projects/styling and organising the studio. A lot of things do overlap so we assist each over when it’s busy and we have a small and special team of interns that help us both on everything involved with running a small label.
How’s the industry panorama for young fashion labels in Australia? Is it easy to get funding and support?
Kate: The current domestic retail climate for any young fashion label is very hard. There have been many labels in Australia, which have closed since the Global Financial Crisis. We try to keep the label as agile as possible to accommodate change.
Amanda: We try and participate in local exhibitions and fashion weeks when we can, but it can difficult to raise funding and this often limits what we can do.
What other Australian labels should we know about?
Amanda: Our personal faves are: accessories label POMS by yummy mummy Adriana Giuffrida Ceddia, Dress Up by the very talented Stephanie Downey & Kinoak by Amy Darragh.
Any style advice for the new season?
Kate: We could say it’s all about controlled volume and layering for AW14, but then again just wear what you want!