Danielle Milojevic has a simple vision when it comes to designing: to create wearable art. Emphasis on wearable. “During my college years I studied both fine art and costume design,” Milojevic tells Broadsheet. “I was inspired [by seeing] the magic of a sketch transform into a wearable form of art.”
Fast forward to today and the 33-year-old can proudly say this vision of wearable art is a reality in her label Antipodean. Building on classic, feminine silhouettes, Milojevic successfully fuses bold, painterly prints and colourful embroidery to create clothing that looks like it stepped straight off an artist’s canvas and into real life.
After wrapping up college, Milojevic spent time working at some of Australia’s biggest textile visionaries, including Camilla and Zimmermann. The Sydney-based designer says this was a formative period, involving multiple trips to India, China and Bali, learning and absorbing the creative aspects of the textile and design industry.
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“I loved the freedom of travelling to foreign countries, absorbing new cultures and traditions, [being] exhilarated by the bright colours and new aromas of foreign cities,” she says.
Those travels are woven into the DNA of her brand, and are at the heart of her debut capsule collection, spring/summer 2023’s Paraiso, with its brightly coloured pieces evoking a tropical holiday in the summer, yet with a distinctly Australian aesthetic. The pieces are functional, yet still directional enough to want to wear while wandering down cobblestoned alleys or riding a gondola. For her new resort 2024 collection High Tide, arriving this month, Milojevic found inspiration closer to home: event-heavy summers and the surging waters of the Australian coast.
Alongside a series of new prints and fabrications in a vivid sorbet palette, High Tide also introduces hand-embroidered textiles for the first time, each piece resonating with the collection’s core themes through silhouettes, textiles or fabrications. Notably, various silk forms – sheer, satin and cotton – are key to the collection, chosen for their lightweight, luxurious qualities that align with themes of motion and movement.
“Each season is designed differently,” says Milojevic. “I don’t have a formula. I simply connect into one textile concept and from there move through each artwork [one] at a time. Every season I hope to explore new mediums and techniques.”
But the desire to create wearable art is only half the story. The other is to make clothing that lasts, using premium natural fibres, including ramie and cotton-linen blends, and upcycled materials.
“We work closely with factories that we have formed an existing relationship with, across India and Asia,” says Milojevic. “The factories we chose to work with are reputable and also develop for many luxury Australian brands. We use our core fabrication seasonally and some of our fabrics are hand-loomed in India and have been dyed using organic materials.”
This dovetails with maintaining a business model that’s sustainable and minimises waste. Seasons consist of small, curated collections with low production units – once an item sells out, it’s gone.
“We don’t re-stock orders to drive volume, this is an integral part of our business model as we only hope to supply what is wanted and what will be cherished for years to come.”