The Stylish New Faces Taking Over the Sydney Street Style Scene

This May 9–17, Who What Wear Australia presented its third annual Street Style Awards#TheStreeties, honouring the tastemakers and industry insiders whose style sets the tone and influences the world of fashion today. 

Fashion Week Australia was different this year, there's no doubt about it. While the location was the same and the shows were just as breathtaking, the usual chaos and flurry outside Sydney's Carriageworks felt like it was lacking.

Maybe it's because there were a few notable faces missing. The Australian street style stars we've come to know and love—think Margaret Zhang, Zanita Whittington, and Nicole Warne— unfortunately weren't in Sydney this year. But it's not all bad news—their absence made way for a crop of new and exciting women to steal the spotlight. 

Team Who What Wear Australia was on site at Carriageworks for the entire week to scout out the newest street style trends, and keep an eye out for our next Rising Street Style Star for #TheStreeties. We were looking for girls whose personality shined through their outfit; who weren't afraid to take risks or dare to be different. This doesn't mean simply wearing the latest trend or coolest brand (although you will find some epic Chanel sneakers and a Chloé suit below), but owning your personal style.

While we were initially looking for one rising star, we found five, and we see no reason to keep them all from you. These women all work within different facets of the fashion industry—and each has a different take on what style means to them.

Keep scrolling as we introduce you to the Rising Street Style Stars of 2018, and read about how they got involved in the fashion industry.

You might already be one of Jiawa Liu's 200,000 followers on her Instagram account @beigerenegade. Liu's unexpected outfit combinations have garnered her international attention, and she now splits her time between Paris and Sydney, fulfilling briefs from Net-A-Porter and Myer. Whenever we spotted Liu at Fashion Week, she was surrounded by photographers all wanting to capture her eclectic style. 

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

What does fashion mean to you?

These days I live and breathe fashion. It’s not just about how I dress, but exploring different concepts and ideas. What excites me is seeking out inspiration broadly, fashion-related or otherwise, and using these to feed the imagery I present to my audience. It’s human nature to make it a big part of daily life, but there should be a limit to what we sacrifice in pursuit of it. 

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

How did your career in fashion begin?

I never thought I would have any kind of career in fashion! I was a lawyer in Canberra, and I started posting my daily looks online just as an outlet. As I tried to step up the quality of my content, I gathered various creative skills and experience. These now help me pursue my current work as a freelance digital creative.  

How would you describe your personal style?

Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday crossed with Dick Tracy if he was a Matrix character.   

Ella Jane is currently the content producer at TOMBOY Beauty with an obvious passion for both beauty and style. At Fashion Week Australia we saw her shooting editorial images backstage and moments later deep in her laptop pulling together stories for the site. Her edgy style sets her apart from the crowd, but it's when her nice-girl warmth shines through, that makes for magic.

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

What attracted you to a career in fashion?

I have always been attracted to the energy that comes with wearing something you feel really good in, and the air of fantasy and desire the industry can foster. I think the idea of creating a story through clothes is just really fun, as long as it’s not taken too seriously.

I started out by taking photos. I travelled around Europe and America for a year, I met my best friend who is a model, and I just took a lot of photos of her and our friends doing whatever we were doing. Then I met my editor and founder of TOMBOY Beauty, Chloe Brinklow, when we were both in Paris. I took some BTS photos on a shoot and she really liked my work, so she hired me.

How would you describe your personal style?

I just try to not look like I take myself too seriously. I try to find a balance between feeling polished, but not looking ‘done’. I’m still exploring what works best, but experimenting with different silhouettes is always more fun than confining yourself to one style. And if everything ends up in the toilet, I’m still very loyal to a good pair of Levis and an old T-shirt, as basic as that sounds.

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

Is fashion a big part of your everyday life? 

I think style is more important to me than fashion. The industry could completely crumble, and people would 100% still find a way to be stylish. Some of the most stylish people I know don’t care about brands or trends or who is sending PVC down the runway this season—it’s just about attitude and feeling. I would love for us to make a more conscious effort to move away from fast fashion, but there are a lot of articles that can explain why far better than I can in this interview.

How do you plan your outfits?

I don’t anymore. I used to be a big ‘night before’ planner, but at the moment it’s just based on a number of variables like the rest of the population: the weather, what I’m doing that day, if I can be bothered to steam/iron... My only non-variable is that I want to be comfortable and feel like me, unless the garment is too good for either, then I just throw caution to the wind and cross my fingers I don't look like an asshole.

Bella Thomas is that girl you've always wanted to be. Her natural beauty is what first grabbed our eye, but she's also a true creative with a quiet confidence. When we shot Bella for this feature, she was mixing Céline slides with a phone pouch she picked up at a market in NYC, and was about to head to the library to work on her site She Be The Sound. How's that for dream life?

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

How did you start out in the fashion industry?

I always wanted to be an ocean biologist—I then realised I had to be good at chemistry so I crossed this off the list very, very quickly. I soon found myself working for a Sydney-based stylist and my eyes were opened to high end fashion houses like Chanel and Monolo Blahnik. From there I started to make use of  social media by tying in both fashion and graphic design… I guess it just kind of went from there! 

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m generally laid-back and classic. I do love to always style in something a bit more fun and crazy. There are some days though when I just throw on every colour, cut and piece of jewellery I own and somehow it finds its form and becomes an outfit. 

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

How important is fashion to you?

I love how Leandra from Man Repeller puts it: "You can take the industry seriously, and you can respect the industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to take yourself seriously." I certainly don't take myself very seriously, but I have fallen in love with the industry and I respect it so much. When I was younger I was never confident to wear what I truly wanted to, I was worried what others would think or say. It is now part of my everyday life and has given me a confidence to be who I am.

Nichhia Wippell is a styling assistant to some of the biggest players in the fashion industry (we're talking Karla Clarke and Nicole Warne). Right from her Chanel sneakers to her sparkly sheer top, her cool-girl style is effortless, and we just know she's the next name to keep an eye on in Sydney fashion.

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

What attracted you to a career in fashion and how did you start out?

I grew up on a farm, but I used to collect the fashion magazines available from the newsagency in our local town because I loved the editorials. I used to pull my favourite ones out and pin them on my bedroom wall. I moved to Sydney when I finished school, and interned at Harper's BAZAAR Australia for just over a year and it all started from there.

If you’re ever in a creative slump, where do you look for inspiration?

Arthur Elgort editorials from the late '80s and '90s, Jill Sander campaigns from the '90s, Vogue Paris from the '90s... Basically, the '90s.

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

How important is fashion to your everyday life?

I work full time in the industry, so it's a very big part of my every day life. I love that the fashion industry brings so many creative people together, and although each person has a very different taste and different ideas about what they think is beautiful, everyone can always appreciate the creative process and recognise the beauty of the final product. 

 

Based in New Zealand, Aki Ang is one of those women who truly has fun with fashion. She isn't afraid to take a risk or pair pieces together that wouldn't conventionally be expected—and that's just what makes her style so interesting. We found her at Fashion Week Australia with camera in hand, taking pictures for her site The Sleek Avenue.

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

What attracted you to a career in fashion and how did you start out?

I was offered a fashion art director job in Singapore seven years ago, and fashion has since became a passion for me. In 2016, I started an Instagram page and blog using myself as both model and photographer (which was the cheapest option).

If you’re ever in a creative slump, where do you look for inspiration?

I turn off my digital devices and go for a walk, discover new places, new alleyways. The funny thing is, ideas always come when you have cleared your mind, or at the moments that are least expected—in the shower, on the verge of falling asleep, when crossing the street, and always when you don't have access to your phone or pen and paper! 

Photo:

Stephanie Squadrito for Who What Wear Australia

What is your stance on fashion? Is it a big part of your everyday life? Is it important to you?

Fashion is about amplifying your personality. I'm a risk-taker and I like to have a bit of fun in everything I do, and I translate those attributes into what I wear. I don't 'do' fashion for only the pictures, or for special occasions—it shouldn't stop there. 

How do you plan your outfits?

I usually style a look based on how I feel that moment. If it takes too long, I'm just trying too hard. 

All images shot on Apple iPhone X

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