Alister Yiap is a man of contradictions. This softly spoken WA designer's humble nature belies his dramatic designs and seriously impressive fashion accolades. With his pieces balancing the line between jewellery and art they would not look out of place (and indeed are stocked) at the Art Gallery of WA. With a Mercedes Benz WA fashion award (amongst others) under his belt we are sure we will be seeing much more of Mr Yiap in the future. We caught him before he jetted off to Hong Kong for the Gem and Jewellery fair to have a chat about Magma, his newest collection and why Perth is THE design place to be.
What inspired you to start designing jewellery?
When I turned 16, I received a Swarovski Pendant from my bestie and I got lost in the world of crystals and jewellery. I then started make jewellery by beading, until I was frustrated I was limited to the beads and findings I could buy! Then after doing a Jewellery making class in school I enjoyed the making process and went on to University to complete my Bachelor of Arts (Jewellery Design).
Where did the name 'Magma' for your latest collection come from?
I like to have some fun with my collection title its my way of a comical release. I’ve had titles like ‘Something Blue’ ‘Roses are Red’ ’Funsies’ ‘Eight of Diamonds’ but this image pretty sums up my thought process!
Your pieces are so beautiful that they are perfect for special occasion wear but how would our readers incorporate of your pieces in their everyday wardrobe?
My designs always have a bit of intrigue and discovery to them, so layering up pieces will only get lost. For everyday wear my pieces are the final touch to to a perfect outfit.
Favourite piece from the collection?
The Necklet is the showstopper but the Cuff is my favorite piece
Where can our readers find your work?
Art Gallery Of Western Australia, Perth
Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
Behind the Monkey, Highgate
Most exciting moment in your career thus far?
I've had a few fist pump moments in my career, WA Fashion Awards Fine Details in both 2010 and 2013, Top 10 Finalist for the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards. But working on the Miss Universe National Costume in 2011 was a dream come true, Working with Scherri-Lee Biggs having my work shown internationally was great experience.
Have you ever had a challenging time and what did you do to overcome it?
With everyday comes its own challenges, but early in my career I was heavily focused on producing Runway Collections which meant that sales were not keeping me afloat. To combat I began to focus more on commercial lines more accessible for everyone. Now I'm working on whatever creative projects come my way, and have recently branched out to things like Visual Merchandising and Object design.
What makes Perth such a thriving creative hub at the moment?
I think being in a transitional point in Perths history, there is a buzz of activity and creativity as it grows into a City of its own. We ain't no little isolated town no more. I'm proud to be part of the development that is becoming the Perth we know today and in the future.
Upcoming local event that you are most looking forward to?
Fashion[ing] Forms is an exhibition showcasing Local Designers and Artists working within Fashion held at Central Gallery in Northbridge from Wednesday 10 September -Saturday 4 October.
Favourite secret spot in Perth?
I don't think its a secret spot but the MOANA Cafe is a hidden gem in the heart of our city which overlooks the mall, I'm not a coffee drinker but man do I love the food! I'm so lucky its just below my studio : P~
Next big thing on the horizon for Alister Yiap?
I'm heading to the Hong Kong Gem and Jewellery Fair in September to explore the possibility to move into High-end Jewellery including Engagement rings and Jewellery featuring Platinum set with Diamonds. I've also been applying for Public Art Commissions and working on upsizing my designs for more permanent displays. I've been working with 140 during their re-imagining 140 as part of the 140ART packaging where I have designed some sculptural seating to be revealed later in the year.
To celebrate Telstra Perth Fashion Festival we have teamed up with Alister to give one of you lucky readers this piece from his Magma collection. Worth $130 with only 12 sets ever made it is your chance to win a seriously exclusive piece from one of Perth's hottest designers. To enter make sure you are following @theboyfriendshirt and @alisteryiap on instagram and stay tuned for more details - good luck!