Designer Profile: Liza Alwast of Rapturous

Rapturous card(1)


At the gate to Liza Alwast’s home studio I was welcomed by her well dressed, furry support team Holly, Jemma and Hugo. The lovely Liza welcomed me in the door and as soon as I took a step inside I could tell that this woman has been taken over by her creative passion. The walls are lined with racks of the vast sari collection Liza has ready for transformation into the next unique wearable art piece. I was tempted to start inspecting the glorious fabrics to discover their textures, patterns and delicate beading but I soon noticed Liza’s completed and in progress outfits hanging. There is so much beauty in her workspace, it’s easy to understand how her inner designer loves it here. As I spoke with Liza about Rapturous and her journey so far she sat behind her newest sewing machine and I could tell she was itching to get back to work. Excited for the RAW Artists event on Friday 17th June and excited to share her creative designs with the world. Rapturous will have 9 outfits on the catwalk at RAW plus Liza will be wearing one of her one off pieces. I’ve had a sneak peek and all are stunning and unique.


Holly: Who is Liza and what is Rapturous?
Liza: I’m a recycling addict! I love re-purposing things and creating something new with used things, in particular fashion and accessories. In my previous career I was an accountant, no one believes me. It was after landing a high profile contract that I realised it wasn’t making me happy any more. I needed to be creative with my hands. So that is how Rapturous started, me following my need to be creative. Prior to accounting I owned a business, Retro Kids. I recycled kids clothing and toys. This is when my children were young so their world became mine and my love of recycling and children became a business.


H: When and from what was Rapturous born?
L: About a year and a half ago I started wearing kaftans as they made me feel confident and comfortable. Then I wanted to make something similar for myself. I found it hard to buy high quality fabric here so I looked online overseas. I found beautiful pre-loved sari silks and from there the kaftan designs grew into other pieces as I got inspiration. My early design was a top that could be worn 4 ways.


Meet the designer(1)

Liza speaking at the RAW Artists event


H: Why did you start this business?
L: There are only so many clothes you can make for yourself! The business just evolved, I didn’t set out with a plan. I’ve always been obsessed with using my hands with craft. Sewing clothes for myself got to a limit so I started making them for other people. I truly believe that if a woman dresses to suit her shape and personality she will feel fabulous.


H: What inspires your designs?
L: Everything! Everything I see inspires me. I enjoy watching period set series and film, I’d like to create more pieces with that influence. Sometimes it’s the fabric of a sari or how I feel on the day. I normally don’t plan an outfit or design, it evolves as I work with it. My heritage is Polish and I like to use influences from various cultures in my designs.


H: Where do you get your textiles from?
L: After some trial and error early on I discovered a good supplier of saris in India. I have a good relationship with the lady and she only sends me the best saris. I choose them online and she double checks them for me so I receive no damaged ones. I also get pieces from op-shops. The staff at the local Vinnies know me now. I go there for base pieces like mini skirts, slips as well as accessories. Sometimes I see a dress I can chop up and transform into something new.


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H: Who are your ideal clients?
L: Anyone. I started off thinking my work would only appeal to women in my age group but now I realise it appeals to a younger market too. I have an apprentice starting soon, a young girl who noticed my work through the window as she walked past and came to my door asking about my work. My work is once off, custom made so it is for the individual.


H: Who do you enjoy following in the fashion arena?
L: I don’t follow anyone in particular. I like seeing what flamboyant people on the streets are wearing. I enjoy seeing what costume designers produce.


H: Where did you learn your skills?
L: My Mum. She taught me to sew, knit and crochet. Dad used to take me to Trash ‘n’ Treasure markets so I could collect Vogue magazines from the 1970s. I still have them.


H: What is your favourite part of the creative/design process?
L: I enjoy the entire process. Finding the fabrics, beads, accessories, meeting the clients, working with the machine and developing the ideas. From start to finish, I love it all.


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H: Where do you see Rapturous expanding in the future?
L: I’d like to expand into hats and shoes. I’d like to do more of my own beading and create more of my own embellishments. I have had a few people ask me to teach them my skills and with the apprentice starting soon I’d like to expand into teaching and sharing my skills. I see a return to the hand crafts, it’s relaxing. There is pleasure in making something, I think it’s good for you. I have done a ‘Dress Up’ Party once and would like to do more of those. A small group of ladies came around and tried on various saris, corsets along with accessories like hats and boas. They had so much fun. I think their husbands liked the photos they were texting home too.
RAW have asked me to do more for them in the future, I’d love to be a part of shows in Sydney and Melbourne.


H: Any advice for up and coming designers?
L: Follow your dreams. Enjoy life. I didn’t get nearly as much satisfaction out of my previous career as I do from this. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and sad. I have so much fun doing this work.


Where can customers find you?
Every Sunday at the Bus Depot Markets, Kingston. 10am – 4pm.
At my studio in Gungahlin – by appointment. This is best for special occasion consultations.

Mobile 0423 239 423




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Holly Cooper

Holly Cooper

Holly Cooper is Canberra born and has worked in the beauty and fashion industry for over a decade. She loves to travel and brings those experiences home to develop new creative ideas. She enjoys a glass of red and music for relaxation and inspiration.

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