The brainchild of young designer Paula Jago, label Edmund Jago brings to life her feminine yet edgy aesthetic.

A finalist in the Premier’s Design Award, Jago is to be mentored by leading Adelaide couturier Paul Vasileff of Paolo Sebastian.

She talks about her TAFE SA graduate collection, plans for Edmund Jago and South Australia’s commitment to nurture homegrown talent.

Edmund Jago jumpsuit skirt harness

TUS: Congratulations on being chosen as a finalist in the inaugural Premier’s Design Award this Adelaide Fashion Festival! What can you tell us about your collection?
Jago: I feel completely honoured, inspired and excited by the amazing opportunity to be a part of this award.  Through the process of design for this piece, it has reaffirmed my desire to pursue my bespoke eveningwear designs.  I am very excited to work with Paul Vasileff as my mentor and to absorb every piece of advice and knowledge he offers as part of the process.

The dress represents the change in a person’s life: their re-emergence where they find a passion or a love and they have changed from black into a beautiful colour; you are exactly where you should be, and doing exactly what you should be doing.


You’re almost finished at TAFE. How have you found the course and how do you hope to apply what you’ve learnt in the years ahead?
TAFE Fashion studies provide a firm foundation of the basic concepts of design and production.  The course allows you to experiment along the way to discover what type of designer you dream of being.

AFF is changing this year! Are you excited about the growth of the fashion industry here in SA and have you identified particular niches or areas of opportunity?
The Premier’s Design challenge is an incredible opportunity that has been created.  South Australia has always had a great fashion industry but there does seem to be a renewed energy and focus on nurturing the talents of young designers, which is what the Premier’s Design challenge is all about.  The number of successful Adelaide Fashion designers forever inspires me and it makes you realise that you don’t have to leave SA to have a great career in the fashion industry.

What do you love the most about your mentor?
Having Paul Vasileff as a mentor as an emerging designer is a dream come true.  His international recognition in the fashion industry is highly admirable.   I love that despite his obvious success he continues to base his label in Adelaide.  Design-wise his silhouettes are beautiful and the quality of his work is inspiring.

A fabric swatch from Jago's upcoming collection

A fabric swatch from Jago’s upcoming collection

Tell us about your design aesthetic What can we expect to see from you?
My design aesthetic is feminine yet edgy.  I take my inspiration from life and the people around me.  I design my clothing like many musicians write their music; there is always a story that I want to tell with each design.

My desire in the future is to create some very special bespoke evening pieces that are inspired by my time exploring the coastal and desert zones of Australia.

Who are some of your favourite designers?
I am completely inspired by the work of Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gautier.  I love their edge and touch of theatre.  In the back of my mind I always have the popular words “I don’t follow trends, I create them”.

Who would you love to have wearing your clothes some day?
There are so many people I could see in my designs it is hard to narrow it down! I can see Sarah Jessica Parker in one of my edgier designs; she is the epitome of style and is not afraid to try unique pieces. Someone like Anne Hathaway, with her elegance, would enhance my more conservative and traditional designs.

Where do you hope to take your career in design in the future?
I really enjoy doing one-off pieces.  Every person you meet is unique in his or her own way, and the way they dress is their method of self-expression. I would love to create pieces that bring people’s personal stories to life so that the creation or design incorporates their own personal story.   One of my own mottos is that “every design tells a story”.
Photographer: Deanna Princi
Model: Lauren Egel