Friday, 11 April 2014


I was so thrilled to meet with Suzan Dlouhy, the mind and creative force behind Canberra based label SZN, earlier this week at the Three Birds and Little Boy Blue concept store in New Acton. In the time that I spent with Susan we discussed her work to date, and a little of what we can expect from her upcoming show for Fashfest 2014.

SZN is a label that defies classification. While it would be easy to pidgeon-hole Dlouhy's work as Sustainable Design, this would be a disservice to the true brilliance of the garments that she creates.

Sustainability and elimination of waste are clearly near to Dlouhy's heart, and this is evident in her work, but not in a way that is preachy or which compromises the design aesthetic. For garments which are almost entirely, or often entirely, composed of offcuts and scraps of fabric; they do not look it. And for the one or two pieces that do, it is a clear design choice, and not a limitation imposed by the materials.

Designing and making all of the garments by hand here in Canberra, Suzan lets her materials ultimately decide how each item will evolve.  Repurposing and recycling materials is  a common practice for Suzan, with the majority of fabric used being sourced from the remnants of fellow designers 4 Minutes 33. Vintage and unusual fabrics such as bed sheets and curtains and tyre inner-tubes are also used in her creations, ensuring that every piece is individual, and that nothing is mass-produced.

This is one of the elements of Suzan’s work that I admire the most, her ability to be environmentally conscientious without making a big deal about it, and to still produce beautiful and practical clothes.

2014 will be SZN’s second year at Fashfest, making her official Fashfest Alumni. Susan's work is sophisticated and inherently different, and I cannot wait to see what she shows this year. When I met with her the current colour pallet was blue and black, which I am VERY excited for. Perhaps I’ll even be acquiring a SZN garment for my own wardrobe from this year’s collection

Fashfest 2014 will run over four nights from April 30 at the striking location of Canberra International Airport. Tickets can still be purchased at

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