When Charly Thorn was just 17 years of age, she presented her first full fashion collection on the runway at FASHFEST—the youngest designer to ever do so in the capital’s annual fashion event. One of her gowns was worn by supermodel Anneliese Seubert and guests were so impressed with Charly’s fashion they gave her a standing ovation.
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” says the Cooma local. “I was so young and had no idea what to expect. I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind that guests might not like the collection and couldn’t shake that thought. Then I couldn’t stop smiling at the reaction.”
Fast forward to today. Charly is now 19 and ready to present her third collection at FASHFEST, this time at the National Gallery of Australia. She’s more confident, but not taking anything for granted, realising the fashion industry is about blood, sweat and tears.
The FASHFEST 2018 collection is inspired by Cuba and the country’s love of punchy colours—electric blues, vibrant greens, amazing yellows and shocking pinks. It’s Charly’s first evening luxe range.
“Ever since I was little I’ve loved fashion, clothing and design,” says Charly. “I just knew it was what I wanted to do and I’m still pinching myself that I’m about to showcase at FASHFEST again.”
With this collection, Charly has designed a pattern and had silk fabric made in Sydney. “It’s a one-off, pretty-out-there print and I love how it’s turned out,” says Charly. “The pieces made with the pattern complement those made of out bright solid fabrics. It’s fun to mix and match.”
The glam cocktail collection features evening gowns, skirts, tops and trousers. “It’s all very high end and sexy,” says Charly.
After her FASHFEST debut, Charly was invited to show her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. “Things propelled forward after FASHFEST, and quickly. The Vancouver show spotted me on social media after FASHFEST and sent me an invitation,” says Charly. “The little girl in me still jumps up and down with excitement and the reaction to the collection in Vancouver.”
Charly has had several professional shoots done of her work, including one in the Bahamas. “We were on holiday and I just sent word out through social media for models and a photographer,” says the designer. “I ended up working with amazing people and the collection looked so beautiful on the beach.”
This is the first full collection Charly will sell online, made-to-measure. “I can’t wait to get the collection up on the website,” says the young designer. “It’s the next big step for me.”
Charly has learned a great deal about the business aspect of operating a fashion label, in part through a 12-month work opportunity with the development team at Birdsnest in Cooma. “The team at Birdskin were fabulous and taught me so much on the technical side and how to write specifications and all about quality assurance,” says Charly. “It really opened my eyes.”
Andrea Hutchinson, co-founder of FASHFEST, says the audience was truly amazed when Charly’s collection graced the runway. “Everyone was in awe that such a young designer could produce such amazing work and tell such a coherent story on the catwalk,” says Andrea. “She’s going to go places in the fashion world.”
Charly’s evening luxe collection will showcase between the gown collections of Hajar Gala Couture and Megan Cannings Designs. “I’m thrilled to be showing my new collection at the National Gallery of Australia,” says Charly. “I love the way FASHFEST has changed things up once again.”
On 19 October, the same show, with the same three designers, will run twice. For the first show, doors will open at 6:30 pm for a 7 pm start and for the second, doors open at 8 pm for an 8:30 pm start. A special cocktail is being designed for the event by Archie Rose, called ‘Quandong paint stroke’. Guests will have access to an after-hours viewing of the American Masters exhibition. Tickets are on sale now: www.fashfest.com.au/tickets Standing room tickets are $35.00.