Gen-Y gets into the Spirit of the Black Dress

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Greetings BusiChic,

So it has been L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week and I’ve a number of trends and inspiration for your work wardrobes – both classic and of the on-trend variety. However today I wanted to share one of the great little stories that I came across because as professionals, I feel that there’s something in this that we can all relate to ūüėČ

Do you feel that you do more than your job description details?

For every article that complains about the laziness or self-entitlement of Gen-Y, I meet some hard-working young thing getting about their business in a spirited way to answer almost any call of duty with little fanfare.

During this year‚Äôs Spirit of the Black Dress event at LMFF, I got to meet Casey Lee, an absolute trooper who in my opinion went above the call of her duties. Casey showed up at a fashion soiree to volunteer as a waitress when people from the event came over and plucked her to model in the show. “I didn’t really get a say. They asked the volunteer people and they said ok so then I had to go and get hair and make-up done.”

Casey Lyons at Spirit of the Black Dress

Casey Lyons, volunteer waitress called upon to fill in as a model when she arrived at work!


Casey Lee, volunteer waitress models Project Runway winner Christina Exie at Spirit of the Black Dress 2013.

After the show, Casey slipped back behind the scenes, put on her apron and lined up to help wash glasses before being told to head back out and socialise with the assembled fashionistas and media. Bless!

What makes Casey‚Äôs efforts even more notable was that two years ago she spent months in a wheel chair after having to have both feet broken. As a result Casey is not supposed to wear high heels but rather than complaining, pushed her feet into the stilettos and walked the runway with such ease, grace and style that she did not stand out from the professional models. Now “the walk” is something that models usually work on for years to perfect, when asked how she did it, Casey said, “I just tried to rock it. I used the edges of the runway as a guide to walk straight towards the cameras, stop so the photographers could take photos and tried not to fall over.” As a fellow foot-maligned lass, I cannot stress how difficult it is to walk in high heels so lots of kudos to you, Casey! It’s the can-do/no-fuss spirit that I feel can be applied to work in any industry that will get Gen-Yers like Casey far.

How have you been asked to go beyond the call of duty at work?

Spirit of the Black Dress


Beautiful campaign photography by Andrew O’Toole capturing the Spirit of the Black Dress Photo: Style Melbourne

The Spirit of the Black Dress has for the last five years been reputed to be the LMFF sustainable fashion event inviting emerging designers to exercise their skills by fashioning sustainably-made or recycled materials into frocks that add to the allure of The Black Dress. The Bento dress that I used for my own project was a finalist in the 2012 Spirit of the Black Dress.

This year the line-up was judged by the likes of milliner Richard Nylon, Assistant Curator, International Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria Paola Di Trocchio, Susan Dimasi of MATERIALBYPRODUCT, Nikita Papas of FASHIONTREND and Sarah Willcocks of StyleMelbourne was a close to national representation of emerging designers today.

I was very sad to hear that this is the final year that this event will be running. A great event to showcase emerging talent and the fact that sustainable fashion can be stylish, I look forward to seeing what clever folk get together to continue on with the spirit of this event.


For more photos, visit our friends at StyleMelbourne and StyleZilla. However feel like a walk at lunchtime?

The Spirit of the Black Dress dresses are on show at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto for another week, until April 1st.

InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto

495 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000

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