Finalist 2022

Samantha Saint James

Samantha Saint James

My brand NOT A MANS DREAM is a women lead sustainable and ethical luxury brand creating Avant-Garde streetwear.

I believe in blending sustainable creation, ethical practises to produce high-quality products that are supportable to our environment and community. This collection is an Avant Garde made to order streetwear collection that was produced with all dead stock fabrications, repurposed circular materials, organic fabrications, and off cuts to implement minimal to zero waste. Collaborations with local artisan supply chains were created to assist in forming the collection to create hand painted aesthetic as well as hand and machine embroidery.

Design Brief:

When i submitted my graduate collection for the Next Gen show for Australian Fashion Week the brief was to create my own collection that represented who i was as a designer. The envisioned outcome of this project was to show innovation and sustainability within design that is also of high quality and is luxury fashion. Drawing inspiration from the 1800's dandy man, 1900’s Korea and the love story of Romeo and Juliet whilst putting into practise principles of wabi-sabi, harmonious design, shape and contrasts of colour married with baggy-tailoring and a hint of utilitarian to produce strong, extravagant androgynous pieces. The intention of this project was to push the boundaries of what Australian streetwear is today bringing while implementing and applying ethical practises when producing innovative and inspired designs and sustainable traditions with use of all deadstock fabrications, repurposed materials and off cuts.


This project was developed by:

  • Samantha Saint James

Design Process

I am inspired by raw emotion, art, by stories, by movies, when I am travelling all the different cultures I get to experience and through people I meet. I am drawn to the elements Japanese aesthetics like of wabi-sabi, finding the perfect within the imperfect as well as Korean design aesthetic and culture. I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into designing such as hand embroidery, quilting and painting to create unique, individual pieces which is what this collection consumes.

The design process begins with me setting goals for what I want to achieve out of this collection and then begins the process of research and concept. A lot of research goes into where the fabrics are coming from and into history of what I am creating not only to dive deep into the culture but to also be sure to not offend of cultural appropriate from any visions I have.

My research took me into taking key elements from the 1800’s dandy man, 1900’s Korean warrior, the love story of Romeo and Juliet as well as my own cultural middle eastern background. Once the research is complete then the designing begins. The 12 bodies completed there would have been at least 20 or more iterations per garment/look as it is a continuous flow of evolving until the first sample after which the design still evolving until the final piece. After the design is set I create the patterns are and cut out my first sample to test the look and continue on from there.

Once completed the garment will then be made in final fabrications. It was important that all the garments were hand painted and locally embroidered for sustainability purposes and to be able to collaborate with locals bringing business and consciousness to Melbourne artists.

Design Excellence

NOT A MANS DREAM is more than a clothing brand, it is a lifestyle my motto has always been “walk to the bet of your own drum”, which translates to just being confident in who you are and showing that to the world unapologetically being yourself. That is what my brand and work are all about, to empower people through my art and fashion and to display the uniqueness that goes into each piece like they had a personality of their own.

Each of the individual pieces is exclusive and rare in its own right most encompassing hand painted motifs, hand quilted techniques hand embroidery combined with machine embroidery and custom pattern prints. A lot of consideration and time has gone into selecting the use of beautiful quality and durable organic materials, deadstock fabrications and hardware. The collection is inclusive of all for people of all sizes, genders and cultures to enjoy. This collection shows the essence of who I am and what NOT A MANS DREAM represents.

Design Innovation

NOT A MANS DREAM is a women lead brand defying the rules of gender archetypes and implementing diversity and oneness. I strongly consider in empowering women and want to use my brand and platform to do so. I believe in blending sustainable creation and to be ethical as and transparent while producing high-quality products that are supportable to our environment and community. With an interest in sustainable practises and in particular not contributing to waste, the strategy I employ is made to order with a desire to create exclusivity.

My customers are not defined by their gender as my brand is an androgynous and I consider my designs cater to all ages, shapes and sizes. I trust in developing a wide variety of sizing going above the usual size standards of 6-14 (for women) as I believe that all shapes and sizes should be able to wear luxurious item and we offer custom sizing. Collaboration is a part of our brand DNA as it is important for me to work with local artists to not only bring more awareness to Melbourne artist, but to also give opportunity for work and exposure as a collective. This collection brings uniqueness through hand painted prints, hand quilted materials, hand and machine embroidery married with unique design and creativity.

Lastly I am very passionate about giving back therefore I will be in the process of starting my own charity foundation, where 10% of all profits from all sales will go into the foundation which helps and gives support to women and teens who come from less fortunate backgrounds with the hopes of offering scholarships, internships and jobs within the industry. My goal and mission as a brand is not only to provide exclusive and expressive designs but also to give back to my community.

Design Impact

My effort is to make a shift within the industry when it comes to ethical and fair-trade practices, being conscious of our carbon footprint, equality, and animal welfare, to be confident in our production companies not employing any child labour, using cruelty-free fashions made from vegetables and plants, and only producing a limited number of pieces. With these actions applied we are likely to not only be sustainable but also attempting to make our consumers more aware of ethical practices.

NOT A MANS DREAM is a Melbourne made to order brand. This means we don’t carry any excess stock, ensuring that we are not carrying out any waste and I believe it also creates a demand and exclusivity for our customer base. All offcuts were used in the collection for example the 4SL Jumper was made completely of deadstock off cuts. I did this by creating design lines within the garment to ensure I could use small pieces of fabric, which also adds design aesthetic to the garment itself. When it came to the 3D bubble jacket stuffing i used all of cuts to fill the big bubble jacket to ensure no wastage. Each part of the garment is of high quality make and materials to ensure the garments can be worn for life.

My work has been recognized by many celebrities stylist internationally as well as locally and have been showcased in magazines, album covers and music videos by Australian artists such as Jaguar Jonez and What So Not.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

Apart from using sustainable materials and ethical practises, apart of my work is to create garments that can be reworked again . For example if I had clients who wanted to get rid of their items or retailers who could not sell our garments after a year I would propose a buy back scheme in which we would buy back the product and repurpose it inhouse. The item itself may not be able to be used in its exact form but we can take it apart and re use the fabrications again to create some-thing new and exciting as a one off piece. Which creates exclusivity and excitement for the next customer.

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