Image: Coco Piesse as photographed by Costa Virtanen for Catalogue Girls.
Folk Collective is one of our favourite things about Melbourne – a creative agency that’s keen to shake up the very tired fashion model, pushing boundaries rather than sticking to them. Coco Piesse is part of their crew, now spending most of her time in the fashion industry after dabbling in theatre and psychology, because it’s hard to avoid just how awesome the scene is. We caught up with Coco to find out what makes her tick:
Catalogue: Where are you from and what do you do?
Coco: I am from Melbourne and I have done a pretty different mix of things over the years, from natural horsemanship to acting to studying theatre and psychology. Mainly, I model and work in the fashion industry.
Catalogue: You’ve become known as a face of Melbourne, how did that come about?
Coco: I think mostly because my interest in modelling has always stemmed from my desire to support and promote the immense amount of talent we have in this city. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a lot of creative people doing all sorts of inspiring things from design, to jewellery to retail, so it hasn’t been hard to want to collaborate. I’ve never put my face on anything I didn’t believe in and I’m very lucky to have an agency like Folk Collective who share that perspective.
Catalogue: You’ve recently been in New York, how did you find the creative environment of New York compared to Melbourne?
Coco: Well, they are two vastly different cities and consequently have two vastly different creative environments but in my opinion, they are actually pretty on par. The fact that Melbourne for such a small city can compete against a major city like New York is pretty amazing and I wish Melbourne got more international recognition for doing so. I guess the biggest difference boils down to money, the creative environment of New York has the money behind it which creates exciting and thriving industries whereby creatives can take more risks and projects can grow and expand rapidly. But Melbourne is certainly not lacking in talent, hopefully the environment here continues to grow and be supported to the extent where our talented creative individuals are able to reap the social, political and economic benefits they deserve.
Catalogue: What designers are currently inspiring you?
Coco: I’m inspired by designers that have revived the philosophies of fashion that resonate with me personally. Like Maryam Nassir Zadeh and the revival of vintage, timelessly modern clothing that is most importantly, empowering for women to wear and embody. Or Jacquemus and the revival of a romantic, nostalgic and playfully naive approach to design. Or the lovely women behind Paris Georgia basics and the revival of effortlessly elegant, luxurious minimalism. Or my friends Georgia Fraser and Ru Kwok, who’s new wave 70s aesthetic revives the importance of strong, stylish and confident women in these times.
Catalogue: Who are the creatives you consider doing the best work in the fashion industry in Australia?
Coco: Wow, there are so many! I think the creative powerhouse duo of Maya Webb and Lauren Urquart behind the store Shifting Worlds are doing incredible things for the retail industry of Australia. No Order Market is an entrepreneurial game changer in my opinion in its approach to high end retail. The ability to showcase up and coming Australian designers, alongside other high end international designers is so important to support the dynamic, eclectic climate of Australian style. Also, it’s a refreshing antidote to the multi-national conglomerates that are currently having such a devastating impact on Australian retail.
Catalogue: If you found $100 on the ground what would you spend it on?
Coco: I’d put it in my wallet and watch it vanish into the black abyss of a porthole that seems to lay dormant down there. Like Hermione Granger with her special bag, except nothing exist in their except for Mecca receipts and parking fines.
Photographer: Costa Virtanen @czsta
Catalogue Girl: Coco Piesse @cocopiesse