Melbourne designer Natalie Hutton has taken home her first international accolade at the World Of Wearable Art (WOW) awards in New Zealand. Competing against 148 finalists from 17 countries, Natalie’s debut piece, Echoplex – Goddess of Reverb, took out the coveted Avant-Garde section in the 30th annual awards.

For Natalie, the experience of winning one of the world’s biggest design awards has been surreal. “It’s going to take some time to sink in,” she says. “I’ve been an exceptionally hard critic on myself for my whole life, that having such a long standing and internationally renowned creative institution recognise you in such a way has really knocked me into an unfamiliar headspace.”

Part of what inspired Natalie to submit her feature piece into the Avant-Garde section was that she resonated with the competition brief to dare to defy the boundaries of fashion and create a work that is unique and innovative, rejecting the ordinary and nurturing originality. “I’ve never been able to keep myself from going over the top when given a brief, however, in this case, I was already over the top and the perfect brief came to me. The mystical grey area that is my creative life of too arty for fashion and too fashion for art found itself the perfect home,” says Natalie.

Natalie’s gown took eight years to bring to fruition. The garment itself weighs about 15 kilograms and features 50 metres of 40 hand stitched honey combed silk panels that each took eight hours to complete. All up, the gown took an estimated 500 hours of sewing and is part of a seven piece collection, Synaesthetics, inspired by the term synesthesia a perceptual phenomenal and the way in which this talented designer derives her inspiration.

Winning this award has reaffirmed her presence in the fashion industry and has motivated her to move on to her next project, a small limited-edition range of statement pieces. “I have been creatively and professionally bolstered by this experience,” she says. “It’s comforting to know that there is an outlet for the more extravagant side of my work to be shown, but also that being multidisciplinary is not something to hide. It doesn’t make one of the things I do the real job or the hobby, they all have equal weight and I intend to enforce that by doing exactly what I want to do regardless of people’s opinions.” This is just the start for Natalie Hutton and her Claudia Savage label, and with her unlimited creativity and ambition, she is definitely one to keep on eye out for.

Read more about Natalie in our story Synaesthetic Designer.