Sydney label, by johnny, has been selected by the judging panel industry experts to win the 2015 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship.
Creator, Johnny Schembri, launched his brand in 2009 after completing fashion school at St George TAFE in Sydney, and climbed the ranks in fashion PR, and fashion design working underneath another Australian designer, before combining all his previously learned knowledge and experience to start his own label.
by johnny was born and taken from market stall to market stall before he was picked up by Sydney Fashion Week and had his pieces go down the runway for New Generation, then he featured on Project Runway Australia and sewed his way through reality TV, which Johnny says really helped the label taking off.
“Instead of cold-calling stores saying, ‘we’re a young label wanting to get into your store’, it was like, ‘Johnny from Project Runway has launched a label’. And from there, we got Myer… which has been amazing, and we’ve done really well, and now, this”, Johnny said.
This is a young label’s dream – the chance to take their brand overseas to the international market, and for by johnny, that means all-American. They have e-retailers sorted, having picked up Australian-based online store Revolve Clothing (who ship internationally!) for this summer’s collection launch. They’re also stocked on The Iconic, ArchFashion, and of course – you can purchase from the by johnny website.
But to have a global presence takes a lot of work and dollar$, and “when you’re exporting it’s very daunting," Johnny explained. “You’re trying to figure out pricing and freight and timing, and making sure you’re getting window delivery. DHL are going to help us with an export strategy, make sure we’re ticking all the right boxes, and getting everything sorted so we can focus on the product”.
And the product is quintessentially Australian. With bold colours and shapes, Johnny creates exciting pieces that still have that Aussie ‘cool’ that only we laid-back ladies can achieve. Johnny says “the by johnny girl shouldn’t be afraid of wearing colour or prints, and she’s always going somewhere where she wants to stand out and feel confident. You don’t come to me for, like, simple silk tops. It’s more about that stand-out outfit, it’s for a special occasion.”
The newest pre-spring collection boasts stark contrasts of black and white against block brights of orange and blue. Bodycon fits accentuate with perfectly placed frills and draping to make the pieces fit curves perfectly, and black mesh touches add just the right amount of drama and sexiness.
The winter collection, out now, features the same feminine shapes with the addition of boxy jackets and long-sleeve crops, which are super hot right now. The colour palette is a mixture of white and greys, but is no less eye catching.
Johnny has certainly come a long way from selling 10 dresses on a Saturday at the Paddington Fringe Bar Markets… Dressing fashion it-girl and lover of Australian brands Gigi Hadid (she’s the face of beach-brand Seafolly), last year after meeting her through mentor and friend, Alex Perry; launching the collection at Australian powerhouse department store Myer, and now having won the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship – who knows what the future holds for yet another successful Australian label.
Winning the scholarship means receiving $10'000 worth of international freight, mentorship from IMG Fashion and DHL Express, plus a trip to New York Fashion week to attend the DHL show. The mentorship will add to Johnny’s knowledge of design and business know-how, as well as extending on how to successfully create an export strategy and the ins and outs of trading on a global scale.
Johnny’s goals for the next five years, following their export launch, are to “grow our international presence, but also not to forget about Australia too, we’ve still got room to grow here. Maybe 10 years down the track we’ll open up a store, and have a real presence [of our own]."