Back to Black: Designer Threads with a Difference

It doesn’t have to be in your face. It’s just a way of letting people express themselves subtly. That’s the power of fashion.

19 Jul 2016

Kristy Power isn’t afraid of turning heads.

With a portfolio that extends from corporate wear, with the added option of beetle wing detail, and Marilyn Manson-inspired swimwear, the Bachelor of Applied Fashion student knows a thing or two about making a statement.

For Kristy, who was given her first sewing machine at eight, designing clothes started off as a means to accessible and unique fashion before becoming a legitimate career choice.

“I used to sew all of my own outfits just before going to parties and then I thought I’d better start learning to actually pattern make,” she said.

“I couldn’t find clothes that I wanted to wear, so I thought I’d better learn to design them properly and it all went from there. After high school I started making them for myself and then after I had my first child, I thought ‘well I have to put food on the table, let’s make this a job’.”

As a fresh graduate from the Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology, Kristy started her own fashion label, Harpi, which has been described by bloggers as a love child between Tim Burton and Lady Gaga.

The collections, which have evolved from punk-inspired tartan suits to high-shouldered jackets adorned with fake animal skulls, have been getting attention from a number of niche fashion publications and gracing catwalks across Australia.

Her wares have also been sported by burlesque dancers, circus performers, cosplayers and goths looking for something edgy to wear in their day jobs.

“We make high-end goth and alternative wear, so it’s a lot of black, brocades, pleather, lace, some velvet, wet-look jersey, and stripes,” she said.

“I try and do a bit of corporate wear so people can feel themselves at work and then they can wear their outfit to the pub afterwards.

“It doesn’t have to be in your face. It’s just a way of letting people express themselves subtly. That’s the power of fashion.”

The collections, which borrow heavily from the dark and macabre with a touch of Sex Pistols attitude and 19th-century silhouettes, have been shown a number of times in at specialty fashion shows such as Circus Nocturna in Melbourne and at RAW in Brisbane.


Kristy’s pieces also won her the opportunity to take part in a shoot for bi-annual avant-garde art publication, Damed, that was part Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and part Lady Gaga concert.

“It was two models, me, a designer, a photographer, and a make-up artist in a van driving from Melbourne to Coober Pedy,” she said.

“We stopped at salt flats on the way back. It had rained so everything was covered in a thin layer of water. I’d made up kimonos the day before we left in the magazine owner’s kitchen, so we shot these long flowing kimonos there. It was amazing to see.”

Check out Harpi at


Feel inspired to craft looks of your own?

The Bachelor of Applied Fashion is a University of Canberra degree delivered in partnership with TAFE Queensland at our South Bank, Brisbane campus. 

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