Chambord Shine Awards – Sydney

Sponsored by Nuffnang

We three bloggers landed in Sydney yesterday morning, ready for the town to work its butt off at the Shine Awards. Brisbane’s designers kicked off proceedings fabulously and Melbourne’s talent totally met the challenge, so we were all curious to see how Sydney’s local designers were going to measure up in the competition.

We were on unfamiliar turf last night as we tripped into The Loft, and in a way it was kind of nice to be in a city that none of us had any allegiance to! The Loft is a dark, intimate space with bouncy carpet and beautifully textural walls, looking out on to Darling Harbour and all its winking lights.

After securing a vantage point amongst the enthusiastic crowd I was pleased to discover that the lighting was going to work to my advantage, seeing as I typically avoid flash photography. I’m pretty pleased with the photos I took, you can see a lot more details but certainly a lot of the ambient light roaming around the frame is missing – and I know a couple of you really like that effect!

Judges’ choice Danielle Van Camp with her fantastic designs.

Lulu in Chains are going through to the finals thanks to the judges too.

The crowd chose Lulu in Chains as their favourite.

I was really impressed with Sydney’s entrants. Every collection had something I liked, and there was a distinct sense of excitement and enthusiasm vibrating through the room. My stand out favourites were Lulu in Chains and Danielle Van Camp, and I was pleased to see the public and the judges (respectively) reward them with a place in the finals. The other judge selection was LUELA – check out the photo in the gallery, the detailing on the neckline is very pretty.

It’s been an absolute blast attending these heats and covering them on my blog, and it was made even more fantastic because I got to share the experience with Lady Melbourne and Fashion Hayley, two fancy ladies whose passion for fashion is infectious. It’s not over just yet though! The finals will be held at The Strand, Sydney on August 29 and while 9 finalists are locked in there is one spot remaining and you get to vote your favourite designer in.


So! The time has come to select your favourite wildcard designer to send to the finals at The Strand in Sydney! Go take a look at the many dazzling entrants right now and then go to the VOTE NOW! tab to cast your precious vote. Voting closes July 11 – just do it now!


  1. i know they're wearing nice clothes etc, but isn't this kind of thing part of the problem that you usually address with your blog? all i want to do is feed those poor girls, and not feel like my beautiful clothes and body are not good enough, and never will be.

    reading this post, i'm having all those horrible, confusing feelings like “what a lovely skirt [not that it would ever be made in a size 20. maybe i could use it as a hankie?]”, and “ooh, that's a nice dress [but i would get laughed at for considering wearing it?]”

    natalie, i am really confused, and verging on disappointed. i'm not trying to pick a fight, but would really appreciate some insight into how this post/chambord supporting your blog is not a conflict of interest.

  2. I understand your disappointment, yet I have to defend my blogging decisions on a few different points.

    As a blogger, I get paid pretty poorly and if it wasn't for Nuffnang offering campaigns like Chambord's, this site would not be up. If it was just about blogging about the alcohol brand I would have turned it down, but the campaign involves actually interacting with the fashion industry. For me as a fat woman, a fat woman with a lot to say, it was an opportunity that I couldn't say no to. For me, it was an act of subversive protest! You can bet I had a word to a couple of the designers about just how difficult it is to buy any clothes, much less support local design talent, as a fat woman. Being an actual proper deathfatty was scary and intimidating – it's not a space where I can just blend in, and part of my mission was to be a visible fatty so I could make a point about how fashion isolates certain groups of society (and I have a giant post written up about that!)

    The other point I have to raise is that it's not an us vs them situation. Fat people need to wear clothes, but for a number of reasons (profitability? manufacturing?) we are excluded from fashion. It's not a situation that will be improved by fat people declaring war on the industry, because there's no central agency to declare war against. The fashion industry is made up of designers and manufacturers and retailers (and so many more people) so the best thing I feel we can do is lobby these groups to provide an actual fashion solution for fat people. That involves working together. So many of the people I spoke to did not understand that fat people had so many difficulties getting dressed, let alone wearing fashionable rags!

    Protest isn't the solution to every problem, and I'm a big fan of consultation and collaboration. Fashion is one area where that's probably the most productive approach and I'm not apologetic for my involvement in the Chambord Shine Awards. Personally, I felt really uncomfortable. I was the only really fat person there. I had nothing fancy to wear. Yep, everyone was skinnier than me (but I really must object to feeding models, people all have different body shapes regardless of food or exercise, remember?) but my figure must have provided a sharp and shocking contrast. I just hope people took note.

    I never ever want to encourage an atmosphere of thin women vs fat women. That is not what my blog is about, and it's not what fat acceptance is about either. I'm passionate about discussing issues around fat discrimination and I try to do this in innovative ways; talking directly to key people within the Australian fashion industry was a pretty great opportunity and I'm really pleased Nuffnang and Chambord gave me the opportunity to do this. Did I wish certain outfits came in my size? YES! Did I tell people that? YES! I just hope that people listened.

  3. awesome, thank you for a really interesting response. i know that my reaction was pretty basic, and that it's a really big job to try and shift social perceptions and pressures on such a sensitive and deeply-rooted socio-cultural issue: i really appreciate your writing and work in this area.

    it does irk me that regardless of not wanting to create/partake in an us and them system, it is precisely that which is the motor at the heart of the fashion industry (and others). capitalistic reality dictates that by definition it cannot be another way (though the totem may change from thin=valid to whatever other arbitrary, changeable standard)

    also, i defend my comment about feeding the models in that though some or most may appear in or close to their natural form, i have no doubt that they are coerced and encouraged into their look by the system within which they and the rest of us live, being raised up as heroes on no greater accomplishment than a fleetingly acceptable appearance. this necessarily includes covert and quite probably overt pressure (and praise) to shape and injure their bodies to suit fashion.

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