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Convict Designers Become Film Finalists

– by Elizabeth Sonter

Australian designers Karen and Georgina, alongside cinematographer Justin Griffiths, have made it to the top ten in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF), for their short film Convict – Inside Australia.

Karen and Georgina, designers of Convict, sought Justin out to be the cinematographer for their fashion film, with no intention of entering the VAMFF. When Justin suggested entering the Festival, the pair knew that he was the right man for the job, and were equally impressed with his talent when they became finalists.

“In our wildest dreams, we didn’t imagine receiving this kind of honour in just over a year of operation.”

For Justin, the privilege of being selected for the Cultural Program’s Short Film Series was amplified after having a second film, Wild West, also make it into the finals.

“I generally shoot both motion and stills for the majority of projects I’m involved in, as well as handle the post-production, so as a ‘one man band’ it’s really nice to have the work recognised,” he said.

The label is appropriately named to acknowledge Australia’s beginnings; English settlers and convicts being brought to this sunburnt country to establish a new home. The brand boasts exquisite leather bracelets, bags, wallets and tablet covers, each with a snippet of the symbolic Australian poem “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar, favoured by the designers, stitched into the lining. The designers are incredibly proud of their brand with its all Australian materials, and their country, making patriotism an evolving fashion statement.

“We love a sunburnt county! Our brand aesthetic is very influenced by these loves, with its raw beauty and pared-back utilitarian designs. Shooting in the desert captures these elements by it also captures the character of our brand – spirited and charismatic.”

The film itself is an exploration into the harsh elements of the West, paired with soft cowhide leather and rhythmic styling (by Nathalie Agussol), and of course some dirt and dust, keeping to the naturally neutral theme of the Australian outback.

Justin is confident the two Western Australian films, both his own, will be stand outs at the VAMFF with its “beauty of the harshness and isolation”, and more so that Convict will be favoured over Wild West.

“I feel that Convict delves even further into our nation’s past as European convict and settlers.”

As far as celebrations go, Karen and Georgina will be popping the champagne and partaking in some fancy dances at the awards ceremony, whatever the outcome.

“We are beyond excited that our creative ideas have been realised in such a beautiful way. We are most grateful for the attention.”

The Festival will be held in Melbourne between February 15 and March 15.

Photo credit: Convict Bags

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