June 14, 2024

Fashion Design

Fashion Designs that Enlighten the Soul.

Fashion graduate Erica Schobben on turning a hobby into a career

4 min read

“I felt like there were no limits at LCI Melbourne to what I could do or create.”

Emerging Melbourne fashion and graphic designer Erica Shobben was first captivated by the creative arts in her high school textiles class. The process of forming an idea in her head, sketching it on paper and then transforming it into a physical article of clothing with her own two hands was as fulfilling then as it is to her now.

Transfixed, she sought to turn her high school hobby into a fully-fledged career, enrolling in a Bachelor of Design Arts, majoring in Fashion Design and Graphic Design at LCI Melbourne back in 2020. The recent graduate, who has exhibited her work in the prestigious Melbourne Fashion Week and PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival, honed her unique vision in the halls of LCI Melbourne.

For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.

Drawing inspiration from an appreciation for the human form, her designs incorporate thoughtful textural manipulation and exaggerated silhouettes. Erica’s pieces intend to draw attention to and celebrate the qualities of our bodies, like “loose skin, skin marks and scars”, instead of obscuring them. Below, Erica elaborates on her journey from student to designer at LCI Melbourne.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background?

My name is Erica Schobben. I’ve recently graduated from LCI Melbourne with a Bachelor in Design Arts majoring in Fashion Design and Graphic Design. I’ve always had a creative mind. I took textiles as a subject in high school and the idea of turning a sketch on a page into a tangible piece of clothing was so exciting to me.

I would see something I liked on Tumblr or Pinterest and would try to recreate it by cutting up old clothes and fabrics at home. I realised, after high school, that designing didn’t just have to be a hobby and was something I wanted to turn into a career. I researched my options and ended up at LCI Melbourne.

How did your time at LCI Melbourne help you create and launch your brand?

LCI Melbourne fostered a supportive environment that allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom. I felt like there were no limits to what I could do or create. Having the opportunity to explore and experiment with other disciplines such as graphic design and visual arts alongside fashion design helped me to strengthen my aesthetic.

Our lecturers were always dedicated to pushing me out of my comfort zone and… [encouraging] me to give my all to every idea or design. When I wasn’t feeling sure of myself or a bit lost during the creative process, they really helped me to recognise my capabilities. It gave me greater confidence as a designer.

What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone considering studying or pursuing fashion?

I would tell them to just go for it… I actually took a course at a different institution before LCI Melbourne, and a teacher there told me “I don’t think fashion is your thing”. I’m not sure if they wanted that to drive me or discourage me, but it did give me the motivation to try harder and prove them wrong.

I would also say to be prepared for a hectic workload and to be a bit stressed 60 per cent of the time, but don’t let it put you off! The whole journey has been very exciting and such a satisfying experience that I’m very grateful for.

How would you describe your designs to someone who’s never seen them before?

My designs incorporate fabric manipulation and oversized silhouettes that are reminiscent of skin and the human form. I use a lot of textural elements as a way of highlighting parts of the body like loose skin, stretch marks and scars.

These are the parts of our body that I believe the media often tries to hide, so I wanted to make them the focal point and celebrate them. Most of my garments have adjustable features so they can be worn in multiple sizes and adapted to different body shapes, too.

What are you most proud of in your work on your brand?

Being given the chance to exhibit my work in events for both Melbourne Fashion Week and PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival were big milestone moments for me that I’m really proud of.

I want to celebrate the beauty of diversity and individuality through my designs. That’s something I’m really passionate about – being able to share this message with a wider audience and receive such a positive response pushes me to keep creating.

Who is most exciting in the Australian fashion scene right now?

I’m always excited by Amy Cottrell’s work. She has such a defined visual aesthetic and I find the way she incorporates biomaterials so innovative and inspiring.

What’s next for you?

Since graduating, I [have felt] determined to keep creating and experimenting with my brand. I want to continue designing pieces that encourage people to embrace their insecurities. I’d also like to incorporate my graphics work into more of my designs, and do more custom work for anyone interested in collaborating!

Start your journey with LCI Melbourne here.


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