Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Emily Rata­jkowskiR is the facef of Paco Raba Ra­banne Pure XS.

or de­signer Lyn-al Young, fash­ion isn’t just fash­ion. It’s art. But we’re not talk­ing art that’s un­touch­able: Young’s one- off, be­spoke silk pieces are sim­ply a portable, tac­tile – and beau­ti­ful – cel­e­bra­tion of wom­an­hood it­self.

“Ever since I was young, I have felt the pres­sure to look or act a cer­tain way to [meet] dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions in so­ci­ety, the me­dia, and the fash­ion in­dus­try. And since I was young I’ve tried to chal­lenge it,” the 23-year-old tells Stel­lar. “I want women who wear my cloth­ing to feel like they can cel­e­brate their own story. They can feel em­pow­ered and they can feel Walumarra Nun­gurra, which means they feel safe and at peace. That’s im­por­tant to­day. Women – and men – are feel­ing like they have to be some­thing the world is telling them they need to be, and it’s caus­ing a lot of is­sues.”

The de­signer, whose lin­eage in­cludes the Gun­nai, Wi­rad­juri, Gun­ditj­mara and Yorta Yorta Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples, says ev­ery piece she cre­ates is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of her four an­ces­tral lands. And she de­scribes the mark­ings she paints into her cloth­ing as “tra­di­tional shields” there to pro­tect the women who wear it. But more sim­ply, she says with a laugh, “I just want women to feel good in it.”

Women like David Jones am­bas­sador Jes­sica Gomes, who joins Young at a photo shoot for Stel­lar to model one of

her creations. “I love the sen­ti­ment and mean­ing be­hind all of Lyn-al’s gar­ments to cel­e­brate her Indige­nous Aus­tralian cul­ture and coun­try,” Gomes tells Stel­lar. “It’s amaz­ing to be able to wear an orig­i­nal, one-off piece of art, which has its own unique story be­hind it.”

Young’s own unique story starts with her name, which is an amal­ga­ma­tion of her grand­mother Lynette’s and great­grand­mother Al­ice’s names – they all even share the same birth­day. “My name is my con­nec­tion to [them] and to my story and cul­ture. Since I was a child, I’ve been taught to know where you come from,” she says. “When I was younger peo­ple would be like, ‘Oh, what an in­ter­est­ing name,’ and I would feel a bit un­com­fort­able, but the more I know about my name, the im­por­tance of it and my con­nec­tion to my nans, I ab­so­lutely love it.”

Young was born in Ade­laide, but moved to Mel­bourne as a child. With par­ents who are artists and en­trepreneur­s them­selves, she ac­knowl­edges cre­ativ­ity al­ready ran in her blood. “I’ve been around de­sign my whole life. I used to al­ways play dress-ups,” she says. “I would dream of go­ing to big events with red car­pets.”

She be­gan de­sign­ing when she was eight, was mak­ing hand­bags out of “old things” by age 10, and two years later was in­cor­po­rat­ing fab­ric and beads and sell­ing her wares at Abo­rig­i­nal mar­kets. She planned on go­ing to univer­sity af­ter high school, but her busi­ness acu­men soon found her set­ting up her own brand in­stead.

“I never thought I would work for some­one else,” she says.“i spoke to my par­ents and they said, ‘Look, you’ve got the gift and you’ve got our sup­port – set up the busi­ness.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’ll do it!’ The big­gest chal­lenge for me has prob­a­bly been self-be­lief, so the sup­port of my fam­ily has been in­cred­i­ble.”

In July this year, Young was an­nounced as David Jones’s Emerg­ing De­signer, a newly cre­ated role to sup­port tal­ent in the early phases of their fash­ion ca­reers. The an­nounce­ment co­in­cided with NAIDOC Week, which cel­e­brates the his­tory, cul­ture and achieve­ments of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ples. Young’s col­lec­tion fea­tured for a lim­ited time in David Jones’s flag­ship Syd­ney and Mel­bourne stores.

“I just couldn’t be­lieve it,” she says. “When I was still in high school my mum and I would go in [to David Jones] and one year she said, ‘Let’s pick out a scarf and make it a tra­di­tion to buy one ev­ery year.’ Now to see my own scarves in there… it’s such an hon­our.”

Now Young is again part­ner­ing with the re­tailer to cre­ate a one- off piece for the pres­ti­gious Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria (NGV) Gala on De­cem­ber 1, for which David Jones is a prin­ci­pal part­ner. This cre­ation, in a shoot for

You had a very bo­hemian child­hood and didn’t even have a TV. What were you do­ing while most peo­ple your age were watch­ing Daw­son’s Creek? I spent a lot of time mak­ing up crazy, in­volved games and plays with my friends. It was def­i­nitely good for the imag­i­na­tion, al­though now I can’t imag­ine life with­out a phone or tele­vi­sion. Ac­tu­ally, we’re just as­sum­ing you’ve even heard of Daw­son’s Creek. But is there a hole where your teen pop­cul­ture knowl­edge should be? I missed a lot of stuff that my friends were su­per into – like the Spice Girls. But I didn’t miss Brit­ney Spears. Nope. Loved Brit­ney. Your mod­el­ling ca­reer al­most hap­pened by ac­ci­dent. What was it like see­ing your­self on a news­stand for the first time? It’s just sur­real. You’re like, “OK, that’s me… whoa.” It was five years ago and you were only 22, but you’re still asked about your role in the con­tro­ver­sial video for Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’. Is that frus­trat­ing? I’ve made peace with it, espe­cially be­cause there are ideas I strongly be­lieve in – like women em­brac­ing their sex­u­al­ity and hav­ing fun with it – that ‘Blurred Lines’ kinda fits into. If you’d known the im­pact the video would have, would you have turned down the role? No, I would make the same de­ci­sion. Ev­ery celebrity is a tar­get of trolling, espe­cially women. How do you not let it in­flu­ence the way you live your life? I’ve learnt to sep­a­rate so­cial me­dia com­ments and trolls from real life. And I don’t let the val­i­dat­ing, flat­ter­ing com­ments im­press on me too much, which makes it eas­ier to [ig­nore] the neg­a­tive ones as well. Last month you were ar­rested in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. while protest­ing the Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion of Brett Ka­vanaugh. Were you sur­prised by the at­ten­tion that re­ceived? I was. I knew be­ing there would be im­por­tant and I knew some peo­ple would find it con­tro­ver­sial, but I never ex­pected any­one to talk about why I wasn’t wear­ing a bra un­der my tank top. It was 32 de­grees, I was march­ing through D.C. in jeans; my out­fit seemed com­pletely nor­mal to me. And I was there mak­ing a po­lit­i­cal point. Why would peo­ple fo­cus on what I was wear­ing? On a hap­pier note, you got mar­ried in Fe­bru­ary to ac­tor-pro­ducer Se­bas­tian Bear-mcclard. What are your abid­ing mem­o­ries from that day? Nerves and love, and so much ex­cite­ment about build­ing a life to­gether. You’re also the face of Paco Ra­banne Pure XS. Do you re­mem­ber the very first fra­grance you bought? DKNY’S Be De­li­cious, when I was prob­a­bly 15. I ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber lov­ing the ad – and that’s why I wanted it so badly. Crazy to think I’m now the woman in a per­fume ad. You were re­cently in Aus­tralia for the GQ Men of the Year Awards, where you were awarded GQ In­ter­na­tional Woman of the Year. Long-haul flight notwith­stand­ing, were you ex­cited to come here? So ex­cited. My best friend lives in Syd­ney, and be­cause Aus­tralia has a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties to south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, where I grew up, I al­ready felt a huge con­nec­tion.

And it it’s s summ sum­mer. Woo!

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