Creative Jobs: Michelle Church, Milliner
When emerging designer Michelle Church was given the heartbreaking news that her sister-in-law was dying of brain cancer, she promised to use her millinery talents to honour her memory.
Little did Michelle know that promise would launch her label, Atelier Eight into the spotlight after it was chosen to be showcased at last year’s Perth Fashion Festival.
The 38-year-old’s stunning head pieces went on display in an art exhibition titled Fascinating, as part of a collaboration with photographer Nikisono.
“The driving force behind this collaboration was to actually raise money for the Charlie Teo Foundation, a brain cancer research charity, to honour my sister-in-law’s memory,” Ms Church said.
But when Fashion Council WA discovered the art it knew it had to create a space for the photographs at the new QT Hotel in Perth as part of the TPFF cultural program. The exhibition, was co-directed by Michelle and Nikosono using symbols deeply entrenched in film noir.
Michelle’s millinery design journey began almost a decade ago when she moved to Ireland from Perth to study the niche art. Two children later, Ms Church now resides in Perth and launched her business in January this year.
“Being chosen to be a part of the Festival was a dream come true, I began my business earlier this year and set a list of realistic goals, but after being a part of the Festival I have exceeded my own expectations. It has opened so many more doors and opportunities in such a short period of time.”
Ms Church said FCWA played an integral role in supporting her journey.
“I'm achieving my goals a lot faster than expected because of the support from FCWA, they have a wealth of experience and provided me with a platform to showcase my designs and generate exposure, it has been an incredible opportunity and one I am so grateful for.
“When you are trying to start up a creative business and get on that trajectory, being involved in the Perth Fashion Festival is priceless.”
The talented designer’s work is now being sold in a pop-up shop in Mt Lawley’s Champagne Couture with her website set to be launched by the end of this year.
Following the festival she has also been invited to be the sole milliner for the Classique Runway at Crown Towers for Melbourne Cup.
“My ultimate goal is to work in Europe and collaborate with designers at Paris Fashion Week and after the experience and continued support I have received from the FCWA through the Perth Fashion Festival, I hope this sets me in good stead to achieve that goal” Ms Church said.