Body positive fashion a passion of designer on debut
Nathaniel Youkhana's first show at Australian Fashion Week is a confection of braids and ruffles that's been years in the making.
"I'm a little anxious, I've been working hard the last seven years of my career to be able to show everyone what Youkhana's about," the designer told AAP.
The label eschews regular drapes of material, instead taking pains to braid outfits by hand with flares and ruffles to construct unexpected forms and silhouettes.
Underneath the riot of colour is serious thinking, with every aspect of Youkhana's outfits made to flatter the figure regardless of shape or size.
"It's important to listen and take the time to think about people's body shapes and what looks best and the parts that they love," Youkhana said.
For example, many of the garments are not sized but fastened together, so their size can be altered.
The aim is to empower people of all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities - something many in the fashion industry often pay lip service to, but don't often carry out.
Youkhana showcased four designs at Melbourne Fashion Festival's Independent Runway in 2022, but showing at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney is a first.
Each piece usually takes four or five weeks to construct, so preparing 27 looks for the runway has been no small feat.
"It's a huge opportunity for me to be able to show the people who have followed my label for seven years to finally see it coming to fruition," Youkhana said.
The garments are on show during Monday's runway events, alongside the likes of Michael Lo Sordo, Bondi Born, Asiyam and St Agni.
Fashion Week is on at Carriageworks in Sydney until Friday.