How her lifelong passion for fashion led Zoe Efstathis to her dream career in clothing design and production
Welcome to The Creative Files, where we speak to some of the biggest crafters, makers and designers, gaining insights into their creative processes, inspiration and their advice for newcomers. We are so excited to have been able to speak with fashion designer Zoe Efstathis, who talked us through her career and creative journey, and how her love of bold styles and silhouettes shines through in her craft.
Who is Zoe Efstathis and what is it that you create?
I am Zoe Efstathis, also known as @zoeefstathis on Instagram. I am a fashion designer by day and after hours I create my colourful, sometimes over-the-top wardrobe one piece at a time. As a self-confessed lover of a long lunch or event, I create special one-off pieces for any occasion. To me, there is nothing more special than cultivating your own wardrobe and stepping out in your own creation.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
From late in high school I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry, I was always the child doing something creative. My mum worked in the fashion industry and I definitely take after her. I remember going into her boutique as a teenager, and just rifling through all the newest designs begging her to let me try them on. After leaving school I studied fashion design at the Whitehouse Institute of Fashion in Sydney. It was an intense three years but it truly let me hone my craft and I left with all the sewing and design knowledge I could ever need. After graduation I got a job as a fashion designer and have been working with the company ever since. I love being in such a creative field, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
How did you cultivate your distinct style?
I have always loved being bold with my outfits and style. Ever since I was in high school I would always make wild choices with my fashion that were definitely not the norm - and trust me, I've got the photos to prove it. I used to make a dress here and there but it was only in the middle of 2021 that I really began exclusively wearing outfits I made. It's taken me some time, but I feel in the last twelve months I have really cultivated a distinct style through being able to create pieces that are 100% "me". I have always been drawn to bright and bold pieces with over-the-top volume or details. I never shy away from a print or a feather and love anything that is over-the-top.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
My creative process is honestly a bit chaotic. I am always working on creating multiple pieces at once, which makes the process interesting to say the least. Most of the time I have a design in my head that I want to create for a specific event so I will source the fabric and trims etc. and build the creation from there. I am always adding on and evolving the design as I go so the initial design is always only a starting point. I would say I am definitely a "more is more" person when it comes to creating my own clothes so I love going for bold fabrics, wild trims and lots of colour.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I am the head designer for the womenswear label 'Sabo Skirt', so a typical working day for me is at the head office in Brisbane. I work in all facets of the design and production within the company. On any given day I can be doing anything from working on our new designs to sitting in sample meetings or working with our team on finalising prints and fabrics. Every day looks different and always brings something new. After work, I head home and unwind with some sewing a few days a week. I am always working on something for an upcoming event or holiday.
What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
I love making anything extravagant so my favourite project I have worked on so far definitely has to be this rhinestone and feather gown I made for a ball I had in May this year. It was actually quite an easy make but I just loved the outcome. It was such a fun piece to wear and definitely felt like such a special one-of-a-kind piece.
Who are your biggest artistic inspirations and why?
Growing up my Mum was one of my biggest fashion inspirations. She owned a boutique and immersed me in fashion from a young age. She always loved a bold silhouette and print. Now working in the fashion industry I am surrounded by inspiration every day. I love archival runways from Versace, Pucci, Dior and other fashion houses, and I love looking at vintage fashion magazines as well. I can lose hours trawling Pinterest for new ideas and inspiration.
Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Be confident in your choice to pursue a job in the creative industry and invest time in honing your craft. It's not always glamorous, but it's definitely worth it. Also, remember along the way you are going to make mistakes. Not everything you create will be amazing (trust me, some of my early creations should never have seen the light of day), but over time you will become more confident in your choices and style. Your craft is always going to be growing and evolving so the more time you put into it the more you will get out.
Find Zoe here: