Being paired with mentor Tiff Manuell appears to be a perfect fit for Jaye Designs’ young designer Niki Stankovic.

A finalist in the Adelaide Fashion Festival’s inaugural Premier’s Design Award, Stankovic talks about her graduate collection ‘Inaudible’, her design aesthetic and plans for her label.

Jaye Designs

TUS: Congratulations on being selected as a finalist in the Premier’s Design Award! How do you feel and what do you hope to get out of this opportunity?
Stankovic: I feel so lucky that I’m able to get such a great opportunity. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for me and having the chance to create something new is in itself an amazing experience. I’m using this opportunity to further my experience with different design ideas and more hands on work. Tiff is the best mentor for this process with her amazing hand painted jewellery and bags.

How have you found the TAFE course and how do you hope to apply what you’ve learnt in the years ahead?
My time in the advanced diploma has been challenging, but very rewarding. I started off not knowing how to sew very well at all, so learning that process was very difficult for me. Learning design and other industry skills has been a huge bonus for me and it was when I started to develop my design style, I began to find more confidence in my ideas.

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?
Yes I am so excited that the industry is growing here. I’ve noticed more “fun” fashion, which is what I like to do. I love to incorporate a lot of casual wear ideas and mix them in with many different colours and textures to create unique pieces, which I think could lead to the creation of my own street wear label.

Jaye Designs What do you love most about your mentor?
Tiff is very creative, which is something I love about her, and I love that she already makes fun colourful hand-painted items that are very much in line with my designs. She is very encouraging and excited to see how my designs unfold.

Tell me about your design aesthetic! What can we expect to see from you?
I like to think outside the box and use different fabrics and media to create unique designs that are hand-made. I’m influenced by the internet age, LA street style and trend setters such as Nicky Ottav and my favourite model and illustrator Natasha Lillipore. In the future I aim to create colourful street style that can be unisex and challenges gender expression.

Who are some of your favourite designers?
I have a few favourite labels, such as Mamadoux from LA, DI$COUNT UNIVER$E and Gypsy Sport.

Who would you love to have wearing your clothes some day?
I would love to get my creations on to Miley Cyrus and other celebrities that are working for a change in how we view transgender and other genderqueer individuals.

Where do you hope to take your career in design in the future?
I consider Adelaide my home and wouldn’t want to change that, so I would like to start my own business here in casual and street wear, and eventually be able to create one-off pieces for special events.

Jaye Designs
Photographer: Kate Bonnie
Model: Alice Mann