Fashion / Trend

Third Form is going solo

Third Form

In 2016, Third Form made its debut at the Next Gen Showcase at Australian Fashion Week.

If you're not familiar, the Next Gen Showcase has a perfected penchant for predicting the next big thing. Did you know that designers like Anna Quan, Camilla and Marc and Akira Isogawa are among the Next Gen alum?

Since the brand's heralded debut at Next Gen, Third Form has been quietly simmering away, biding its time - all the while being the not-so-secret secret of the Australian fashion crowd. Now, eight years later, founder Merryn Kelly is ready for the main stage. Third Form is running its first solo fashion week show - just as the brand launches its much-awaited accessories metier.

We spoke with Kelly ahead of her show at Australian Fashion Week 2024. She shares her vision for the future of Australian fashion, her love of experimental brands and why waiting is sometimes the right decision.



What has the experience been like doing your first solo show at Australian Fashion Week?

I’m thankful that we waited for the label to be mature enough and have the right team behind it for our debut show. It’s given me the confidence and calmness to put things into action. The process has been very exciting and surprisingly calm, I think it’s because I feel ready and that we should be here, it’s time for Third Form.


What inspires you? What do you see as Third Form’s identity?

I love a world of contrasts, subtleties and layering of intricate details. I find pleasure in hiding beautiful finishes and details, just the wearer will find. The Third Form woman is centric to our collection, seasonally evolving with her by looking forward. This season we pursued innovation through fabric manipulation and volume to breathe life into our signature silhouettes. More than ever this is a collection for the wearer, it comes to life when it is in the hand, a tactile experience. textured fabrics hero the collection and a predominantly natural colour palette allows them to remain in their natural fibre state. Re-form is a leap forward, and through the show our focus is to bring this to life by heroing creativity, innovation, inclusivity and luxury. This collection captures the sophisticated nonchalance of the Third Form woman. The effortless ease and creative energy she exudes.




How has the brand evolved since you first showed at Next Gen?

I feel with time we have been able to refine and define the Third Form aesthetic and I’m more assured in my direction for the label. I’m less influenced by others opinions and do what I believe in and what makes me happy. The label has also matured in its aesthetic, and this is reflected in our cuts and fabrication choices, they are much more unique and premium and designed for real women.


Which Australian brands have inspired your journey? What do you hope to offer the next generation of Australian creatives?

My time at Zimmermann has shaped me as a creative and a businesswoman. people that defy the odds and come from humble beginnings are incredibly motivating to me. These people have gone into the fight. Shown resilience and grit. Then come out the other end. That notion really energises me.

Self-belief and a strong design identity is crucial in this ever-changing industry, and the ability to tell your unique story and to connect is also key.

I hope to emulate those who have inspired me, to be another example to the next generation of designers of a breakthrough Australian label on the international stage.


Third Form


What has been the career defining moment for Third Form? What makes you proud?

The show will be a key moment for the label. A culmination of the past nine years and my 20 years in the industry, I have worked towards this moment for half my life. That fact makes me proud, to do this for myself and those around me that have believed and supported me along the way. I’m so incredibly proud of my team, they care as if Third Form was their own, and their belief and passion is humbling.


What do you see for the future of Australian fashion?

There is a rise of highly creative and experimental labels which is refreshing to see. I feel people are craving connection, and brands with strong signatures to reflect their personal style which is more prevalent than ever. I hope that consumers seek out labels that are heroing design and can also appreciate the craft and care that is put into every garment. the cycle needs to slow down and a conscious effort made to move away from fast fashion.


Third Form


What’s next for Third Form?

We’re working on rounding out our product offering to continue to tell the brand story. We’re very excited to be launching bags at Australian Fashion Week 2024 which mirror our hero pieces in the collection. pushing the boundaries with fabric experimentation and manipulation but can be worn everyday.

We are also working on other accessory categories for the end of the year. we are working towards a complete offering for the Third form woman, we will be her one stop destination.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

In our first year I was trying to secure a sales agent. I met with a few, and one them suggested that I should go out and sell the first few ranges myself, to hear feedback, and meet customers. This experience pushed me to understand my business top to bottom and what I needed to do to drive it. It took real courage, and at first very unnatural as I had only worked as a designer. But, I packed a car with a collection and hit the stores.

Looking back, that advise taught me a lot about myself also, it solidified just how much I wanted to succeed. You get told "no" a lot in this business but I believed in Third Form and pushed forward.



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