In the midst of fashion month, when the world’s fashion community congregates in the fashion capitals to view next season’s new collections, two fashion personalities, entrepreneurs and friends of Antler, Jiawa Liu and Georgia Medley, sat down to talk to us about their work, and how travel plays its part.
Jiawa, creative director, fashion editor, and founder of production agency Beige Pill, has worked in fashion between Paris and London for the past six years, since transitioning from her career as a lawyer in Australia. She has contributed to various international fashion titles including Vogue Australia and Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.
In her 10 years in the industry, Georgia, a London-based fashion editor and celebrity stylist, has built a reputation as an industry authority, styling the likes of Michaela Coehl, Jada Pinkett Smith, Timothée Chalamet, and Julia Stiles. Georgia is currently Contributing Fashion Editor at ELLE Magazine UK.
Between these two industry heavyweights, we garnered some exclusive fashion insider insights, as well as some brilliant hacks on travelling in style.
Travel and fashion seem to be intimately related. How have you experienced this personally?
Jiawa: As someone coming in as an industry outsider, I was surprised to find how intrinsically linked fashion was to travel. The idea that the entire fashion community does a mini migration from New York to London, then Milan and Paris was so fascinating to me. I remember the first time I was invited to one show at Milan Fashion Week all the way back in 2016, and taking the 30 hour flight from Australia to Europe for the first time. It was a kind of crazy concept to me, to go to such lengths just to see clothes showcased down a runway.
But since then, I’ve come to observe this delicate ecosystem of the fashion industry — where as much as the rest of the world becomes more and more digitised, fashion remains something intrinsically physical. And that essential human experience — seeing with your own eyes, feeling with your own hands, being physically present for a moment in time — perhaps will (and should) always necessitate travel.
Georgia: For me fashion doesn’t come without travel. It’s an integral part of this world and I’ve always known it as a big part of the industry, right from the beginning when I was an intern. I travelled to NYC at the age of 19 to intern and live there for the summer. So I learned quickly that travelling across the US and Europe for different jobs was going to be a regular thing for me.
I think now, especially since we were stripped of the freedom of travelling wherever we pleased during covid, and now that travelling is very much back in full swing, I’ve got a refreshed approach to trips. I am so thankful to be able to see the world again. It’s made me appreciate seeing the shows even more and seeing the clothes on the runway — I really value having tangible experiences and not digital ones.
What’s the best thing about travelling for your job?
Jiawa: One thing I love about my job is finding yourself travelling to places at the same time as so many like-minded people. International fashion weeks are like high school reunions. Without them I would never have the opportunity to spend time and exchange ideas with all the wonderful people I’ve met through my career.
Georgia: Getting to have new experiences and enjoying some of my favourite cities with some of my favourite people — family and friends during show seasons especially — it’s those rare occasions where it feels like you’re all on one big holiday, but with lots of clothes and events and parties surrounding it!
And what’s the worst thing?
Georgia: Packing!!! I also never get the amount of sleep I intend to because nine times out of 10 I have 828382 things to do as well as pack. There’s always so much to do before travelling. And sometimes, it’s not knowing when to stop and figuring out how to manage such full schedules. The worst is overdoing it out of the fear of missing out, or the pressure to please people. With saying that, I have now learnt it’s ok to say no. Travelling a lot can also take its toll on your body so I’m learning to always pace myself and take care of me, during the busy times.
Jiawa: I have to say, I agree — it’s the packing part! Or more precisely, the anxiety that I’ll forget something really important. But over the years I’ve just accepted that I’m never going to be perfect. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to buy a new battery or SD card for my DSLR on the fly.
What’s one travel or packing hack that you wish someone had told you earlier?
Jiawa: After having gone through so many different airports, I have the airport security dance down to a fine art. I always see people getting stressed out rummaging through their carry on to find the things that they need to get out onto the security conveyor belt. So I know this might sound obvious, but for me it’s this: pack all the things you need to get out of your bag at the top! The Antler vanity case is genius in these situations.
Georgia: Making sure I have easy access to my passport, boarding pass and essentials at all times and then pre-prepping my liquids so getting through security is an easy and smooth process. Also, making sure I pack strategically when it comes to looks and outfits and having less on me whilst walking around the airport. Nothing is more freeing than having the bare minimum with you when getting on a plane!