In the Area of study: Design, you will investigate the factors that determine the success or failure of designers. This tutorial focuses on the contemporary Aboriginal designer Lenore Dembski.
This material addresses aspects of the following syllabus outcome:
H6.1 The student analyses the influence of historical, cultural and contemporary developments on textiles.
Extract from Stage 6 Textiles and Design Syllabus © Board of Studies NSW 2007.
Lenore Dembski has been designing and manufacturing clothing for men, women and children for over 30 years.
Lenore's three clothing labels are:
To gain an understanding of the clothes designed by Lenore
Dembski visit the Powerhouse Museum web site. Choose one day and
one formal wear garment.
Briefly describe each garment, include information on design features and fabric design.
Lenore Dembski has taken many years to build up her
business. Throughout this time many factors have influenced
her business. Those factors not under her control are called
external factors. These include economic, political, social,
ecological and technological factors.
Internal factors are aspects she has control over or the ability to change or influence. These include expertise, finance and facilities.
The state of a country's economy will influence the success of a designer. In Australia the current value of the Australian dollar affects imports and exports.A low value of the Australian dollar is a benefit to Lenore Dembski's business. Many of her customers are touristsfrom overseas keen to buy authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles. A low value of our dollar means prices are low compared to the cost overseas.
A low value of the Australian dollar is also an advantage as Lenore is now exporting her clothing overseas. Overseas buyers gain a financial advantage with a currency that performs well against a low Australian dollar.
The political climate of the world or a particular country can affect the success of a designer. Governments can assist designers by establishing incentive grants and imposing tariffs on imported goods.
The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Strategic Investment Program (TCF SIP) is an Australian Government Initiative. To find out more about this program visit the AusIndustry web site. Type in TCF SIP Fact Sheet into the search facility. Now select the fact sheet. Referring to the fact
The TCF 2000 Development package was an earlier project, however its impact on the industry was valuable. Click here to find out what businesses learned from their involvement.
Lenore Dembski's business has been helped by government initiatives. She has used TradeStart to expand her business overseas.
Paperbark Womenswear has participated in The Australian Designer Showcase. This is a project of the TCF Resource Centre of WA and will promote Australian designers at national and international showcase events over the next two years. It is supported by the Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources under the TCF Market Development Program in conjunction with the Belmont Business Enterprise Centre Inc., Western Australia. TCF Resource Centre of WA and Belmont Business Enterprise Centre are non-profit community organisations, which assist people to start a new business,
In 2001 Lenore's business was a National Finalist in the Small Business Category of the Prime Minister’s Community and Business Partnerships Awards. For more specific information on Lenore Dembski, click on http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/hsc/paperbark/
Textile products reflect the trends within society. Today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers are expressing their culture in a range of mediums including textiles and fashion. The energy and imagination of Aboriginaldesign reveals a culture with a continuity that remains through the fickle changes of fashion.
Consumers realise there is a need to make environmentally friendly choices when buying products. Designers where possible should use environmentally friendly materials and processes.
Lenore Dembski uses fabrics designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to produce her clothing. She uses mainly natural fibres, cotton and silk. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers use traditional methods of surface decoration including batik and screen-printing.
To learn more about the techniques of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles visit:
Select one fabric produced by Lenore Dembski, such as a screen-printed woven cotton and conduct a life-cycle assessment. See the tutorial on Sustainable textiles for further information.
Designers must be aware of technological developments if they are to succeed in the 21st century. There have been many developments in fibre, yarn, fabric and finishing techniques. Designers no longer just design with pen and paper. Computer-aided design is an important part of the industry. The Internet has allowed designers to showcase their work to the world. Although part of the appeal of Aboriginal designs is the absence of high-end technology
A recent study found five key drivers of innovation in the textiles, clothing, footwear and leather industries. They are:
retail: where the needs of retailers and customers lead to changes in the production and servicing processes
intellectual property and design: where the marketing, licensing and other requirements of a brand dictate design and manufacturing processes and where designers' choice of cut, textiles, blends and fibres may require changes in production methods
machine tools and equipment: where different uses of existing technology and new technology open up new opportunities
materials suppliers: where the development of new materials drive changes to production, design and products
regulation, deregulation and globalisation: where changes in policy settings locally, nationally and internationally require new practices to survive and grow.
Adapted from Textile, Clothing and Footwear 2000, http://www.isr.gov.au/industry/tcf/cs2000/innovation.html (web site no longer available).
Lenore Dembski's designs are promoted and sold online through this web site . This increases the market for her designs as anyone in the world can go to her web site and shop on line for garments and
All designers have different skills or expertise. Their ability to develop their skills or work in a team with other people will determine if the designer is successful in achieving their goals.
Using the following web site outline how Lenore Dembski
developed expertise to design clothing and run a successful
All business requires a sound financial backing if they are to succeed. All designers must have a good understanding of a product's life cycle to ensure they produce the correct quantity of an item and sell it at a price consumers are prepared to pay. By outsourcing or sub-contracting sewing Lenore keeps prices competitive and maintains appropriate stock levels.
The facilities available to designers will vary from one-room operations using basic equipment to large organisations outsourcing parts of the production process.
Lenore started her textile business in 1979. She manufactured children's clothing, women's sportswear, lingerie and curtains for several different outlets. She also created bridal and after-five wear for individuals and costumes for concerts.
In 1996, to coincide with the Aboriginal Development Unit's project to help promote Aboriginal fabrics to designers and the general public, Lenore started to produce resort wear and evening and glamour wear using Aboriginal fabrics.
The clothing she produces now is made using fabric designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has a pool of about twenty fabric designers that she uses. She sews some of the clothing herself but as the business has grown she now sub-contracts the sewing to several local clothing manufacturers and individuals.
Lenore Dembski's success is a source of inspiration for many designers. Her success allows new designers to realise they can also succeed with lots of time and hard work.
Lenore's use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designs has inspired non-indigenous designers to experiment with these fabrics and incorporate them into their own collections.
Describe how one of the following designers has incorporated indigenous fabric designs into their collection:
The information on the factors that determine the success
or failure of designers is examined in the written paper of
the Textiles and Design HSC examination. In past papers
questions have appeared in all three parts of the examination
Part A: multiple-choice questions
Part B: short response questions
Part C: extended response questions.
Using past HSC examination papers answer questions on contemporary designers. For example, question 14 in the 2001 paper.