Inside The Avant-Garde Fashion House That Calls Brisbane Home


By Bianca Licina | 16th April 2024

When we think of avant-garde fashion, we often associate it with houses such as Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, and Iris Van Herpen, who create awe-inspiring pieces out of busy workshops in Paris or Milan. But, what if we told you that the next big thing in luxury avant-garde fashion is right here in Brisbane?

Based out of a bustling workshop in South Brisbane, Figures of Speech (@figuresofspeech_tm) is a minimalist label focusing on experimental luxury. Founded by Italian-born Creative Director and Designer, Samuele Lo Bocchiaro, the designs are inspired by Samuele’s unique human experience and largely influenced by his upbringing in Italy. Operating more as a fashion house than a brand, the pieces are designed and created in-house. Every piece aims to challenge the status quo of what we are used to in Australian fashion in a thoughtful and high-quality manner. 

Lucky for us fashion lovers, Figures of Speech is hitting the streets of Brisbane with its first solo fashion show on Saturday 20 April. Showcasing the ‘Cold as Concrete’ collection, which fuses brutalist architecture with avant-garde garments, prepare to experience a world-class runway with top-tier fashion, right in Brisbane (intrigued? Grab tickets here).

We sat down with the man behind the brand to discuss his upcoming show and uncover Samuele’s love affair with fashion. 

How do you think your Italian heritage has influenced your design style?     

Growing up in Italy has shaped my taste a lot, being surrounded by incredible Italian art and history which played a big role. I was born in Palermo in Southern Italy, the land of designers like Gianni Versace and Domenico Gabbana. Palermo is full of traditions and beauty but lacks opportunities. So, at 5 years old, my family decided to move to Verona (the city of Romeo and Juliette) where I grew up with an insane passion for clothes and aesthetics. The vibrant and edgy city of Verona was full of small designer shops and boutiques in the early 2000s where I carved my taste.

Is there a story behind the name of your label ‘Figures of Speech’?

Figures of Speech comes from three aspects of my personal life. First is my belief in God and the way Jesus was expressing concepts in figures of speech. Second is the way I love expressing myself in my Italian language which is full of metaphors. Finally, it comes from my passion for contemporary art installations. Virgil Abloh made a beautiful installation in Brooklyn called Figures of Speech, and after I read about it, I put it all together and decided to call my form of art Figures of Speech. 

Where do you look for creative inspiration when designing your collection?

I take my inspiration simply from the way I see the world, which is unique as each of us is unique. When I create a vision board, I let myself fall into this state of uniqueness where comparisons, fears and ego disappears and I’m alone with my inner child – a kid that walks with heavy luggage and inside those suitcases, I find the treasures of my life and I choose one of those elements and bring it to life.

In this SS24 collection called ‘Cold As Concrete’, I brought to life my beautiful childhood full of friends and fun and the sadness of the modern time where kids are stuck in a virtual world and even if more connected than ever before, emotionally disconnected, exactly like brutalist buildings.

With your first fashion show coming up, how do you feel about seeing your visions come to life on the runway? Talk us through the process a little bit. 

Well, I feel great! Of course a bit nervous and anxious but it’s part of the game. We really want to give a unique experience to our audience so it’s normal that there is some level of pressure but simultaneously the excitement is high. We have been working on this collection for eight months and the team has put their blood, sweat and tears into it. The investment to maintain such a high level of experimentation has been quite important.

Figures Of Speech works more like a fashion house than a brand – we sketch in the studio, we pattern in the studio, source the best fabric worldwide and locally and then create our conceptual garments in our studio.  Everything is made in-house so when you walk into our recently renovated studio in South Brisbane, you can breathe the essence of Figures Of Speech through its curtains made of the same fabric used for our first samples, through the off-white concrete island table that communicates unity and from the young designers excited to show their interpretation on my sketches or a revision that is their own creative input. All of this makes me so proud because together we are creating a new page of this country, a new culture that future generations can see, follow and believe.

What can we expect from your upcoming collection and collections in future?

You can aspect some very large garments! They will be pretty voluminous and you will see a collection that challenges the status quo of what Australia is used to but without falling into an untasteful collection that tries to shock just for the sake of attention. We believe in that fine line that we call experimental luxury which is the method we use to achieve our unique concepts. We play with extreme fabrics and shapes and through many trials, we position our garment in that fine line, like a tightrope walker where our taste decides when the garment has been pushed enough and is ready to come to life.  

We genuinely want to keep telling stories through our collections, shows, and exhibitions, but the most important thing that you’ll all see are thoughtful, well-made clothes that will excite our customers and make them fall in love with their brand-new silhouette.

Do you have any words of wisdom for those who want to follow the same path?                   

Search for your talent first. I always say we should have talent classes at school where students can explore and understand a bit more about themselves before making important decisions in their lives. 

There are many ways to become a fashion designer and everyone has their own path. Studying is probably the most conventional way but for me, everything came down to three things: taste, how bad you want it, and resourcefulness. You can learn anything but can’t learn taste. You can work on your taste in many facets by travelling, listening to tons of music, watching movies, getting curious about other designers and exploring new possibilities to fill your luggage with experiences. Even if you become the best tailor in the world, if you have average taste, you will never fulfil your talent. Work hard and don’t settle for what other people tell you is possible. 

 Want to be a part of the next big thing in fashion? Get tickets to the Figures of Speech ‘Cold as Concrete’ fashion show here

By Bianca Licina Certified shopaholic, Bianca is happiest in her favourite pair of jeans with a piccolo latte in hand.




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