Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle - Jaime Shurmer

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.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Pe­tra Vanessie, of As­cot, with some of her Ava De­sign dresses.

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