DRESSED FOR SUCCESS IN QUEST
ASCOT’S Petra Vanessie is hoping to put Australia on the fashion map in Asia with a State Government grant of $13,000 to attend four trade fairs.
She launched her 1950s-inspired Ava label last year, selling online and stocking two Perth stores but has been researching the Asian market.
Vanessie spent the first 10 years of her life in Jakarta and has a background in PR and communications.
She made the dramatic move to dress-making when she left a Federal Government role in 2010.
“It was a really demanding role and when they asked me if I wanted to renew the contract, I said no,” she said.
“When they asked me what I wanted to do, I said I’m going to take some time and make dresses.”
Petra returned to her homeland to glean her grandmother’s dressmaking skills, valuing the ’50s adherence to quality, affordability and versatility.
Last year, the self-taught designer decided to quit a job she secured on her return to Perth to make and design dresses full-time.
One of her dresses was borrowed by a Hong Kong movie star, her label has received support from H&M Asia and she aims to partner up with distributors to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Petra’s first trade fair attendance using the grant will be to Indonesia Fashion Week in February.
The grant is from the Creative Industries Grants Program offered by the Department of Arts and Culture.
Petra Vanessie, of Ascot, with some of her Ava Design dresses.