Australia-based Jason Grech stunned many at the Malta Fashion Week. In an interview with Eve, the designer admits having had the privilege of dressing many beautiful women, including Australian A-Listers and Hollywood icons. In 2016 he was the first designer to partner with IBM to create a #CognitiveCouture collection.
Looking back, he remembers that his love affair with fashion started in 1997, when he began his formal training. He gained employment as a junior pattern maker a year into his course at a women’s label and moved his way up the ladder to assistant designer. Six years later, in 2003, he launched his eponymous label, JASONGRECH. The journey was extremely hard, yet very rewarding.
His first break was in 2004 when he was a Mercedes Benz Start-up finalist and won the Caulfield Cup Designer award, his business exploded at that time and has continued to grow year after year. He confesses that he has not yet mentally absorbed some of the remarkable things in his career.
Eve: What is your real connection to Malta, and how long have you been living in Australia?
Jason Grech: My parents and all 10 siblings are Maltese and migrated to Australia in 1973. I was born in Australia and grew up in the very Maltese rich suburb of St.Albans. I travelled to Malta many (eight) times as a child, and in my teens I spent long periods of time during summer with my parents. I am fluent in the Maltese language as we speak Maltese at my parents home, and I have currently started to learn how to read it. I grew up going to festas in Malta and Australia, so my upbringing was very similar to any Maltese child, but lived abroad. My grandfather Maestro Ġużeppi Busuttil composed a multitude of marches with the most celebrated being Tal-Qalba – which is played in Malta to this day.
Eve: How would you describe your own personal style?
JG: My style changes through the seasons, but what does not change are the quality of fabrics we use, the details, and attention to details.
Eve: You’re one of the most highly recognised and awarded names in Australian couture fashion today. How did you get there?
JG: Hard work and a determination to be better than your last season pays off. I am extremely competitive in all areas of my life and it’s what drives my passion to be bigger and better than I was the week before.
I have been in the industry for over 20 years and launched my eponymous label JASONGRECH in 2003. I have been in this game a long time, and with that come many years of experience with the female form, design and pattern making. I am extremely particular with very fine detail and that is visible in my work.
I am very fortunate that I can continue to do what I love in an industry that is so fickle. When I think about what I have achieved so far I feel quite overwhelmed as I still feel like the boy that grew up in Melbourne’s Western suburbs to a working class family. I am extremely grateful to the media who have helped me along my journey, who have given me the opportunity to become a household brand.
Eve: All your dresses are created by hand to the impeccable standard. What’s the hardest part about being a fashion designer and what’s the best?
JG: The hardest would be to create a different look each season which is better than the one before it. My brain does not rest, which has its pros and cons, but I do find it extremely hard to switch off as everything around me inspires me. Fashion has become my life and I am very much immersed in it. The best part of being a fashion designer is the ability to turn a 2D drawing into a 3D form that fits the body and enhances its shape.
Eve: How do you intend models or brides to feel when wearing your dresses or gowns?
JG: Special. I intent women to feel their ultimate best. All women are beautiful. Designing is about finding what works for them and giving them the power to own it.
Eve: When you’re not designing, what do you do that gives you equal pleasure?
JG: Running a successful business in the fashion industry makes you the machine in the centre of it all, so there is not much time to do anything else. I walk my dog and spend quality time with my friends and family when I am able to do so.