Jessica Bratich launched her handbag label in late 2011 and has since taken the runway at the New York Fashion Palette, Perth Fashion Festival, International Fashion Week and Townsville Festival. Her bags have been seen on television presenters Erin Molan and Lisa Fernandez, actress Courtney Eaton, and “The Face of Australia” winner Olivia Donaldson. Her designs were recently featured at the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival’s WA Designer Runway 2.
And X-Factor judge and former Spice Girl Mel B was reportedly spotted carrying two Jessica Bratich clutches during her time in Perth. Not that the designer is willing to stop here. “I would like to see my designs on someone like Blake Lively,” she says.
Jessica was not always interested in being part of the fashion industry. “I probably started later than most,” she confesses as she talks about her communications and marketing studies at university and her simultaneous interest in competitive karate. She had been working part time in retail for several years when her interest began to grow, and when she retired from karate she decided to pursue a career in fashion.
Jessica’s collection ranges beyond bags and clutches, to headscarves, hats and caps, and jewelry. She aims for diversity in her designs to create products to suit varying occasions, “from day to day to red carpet events”. Her products are built for practicality and functionality as well as serving an aesthetic purpose. Her favourite from her collection: the Angeline Backpack, a small, snakeskin backpack available in black and cream, which she describes as “young and fun and right on trend now”.
The Perth-based designer says her inspiration can come from “anything and everything, but mostly from people and the comments they make about what they want in a bag”. Her awareness and understanding of what goes on in the fashion world shows in her collection, which is on par with all the latest trends and movements.
While she has found getting national exposure and breaking through to the East Coast difficult, she finds the relationship she has with other Perth designers invaluable to her creative process. She also appreciates the “local support I receive from people here who want me to succeed”.
Perth’s isolation from the rest of the fashion world in no way seemed to stop Jessica from making a name for herself, however, and the dream does not stop here. In the future, she aims to expand to the East Coast and even Overseas, while continuing to introduce new ranges of products. She might see more celebrities wearing her clutches yet, perhaps even Blake Lively.
By Joanna Delalande