An interview with Jessica Maio

By Frankey


Jessica Maio is reinventing glam rock vibes for a new wave of musical artists.


Published exclusively for The Urban Scrapbook


Follow @studio.maio


Jessica Maio

I have a very strong attention to detail and love for intricate details

Graduate Collection by Jessica Maio at Off/BEAT Showcase

Look to the stars, the icons, the musical artists you love and they may soon enough be adorned in something designed by emerging fashion designer, Jessica Maio.

Motivated by her passion for music and counterculture, the founder of Maio Studio has sketched clothing since the tender age of 7. Moving on from the audience of her primary school friends, Jessica is now making more of a recognisable impact in Melbourne’s emerging fashion space.

Jessica’s approach to fashion is all-encompassing, in which intricate details are weaved throughout her work, demonstrating her ability to deliver pieces that are wearable and iconic.

Here’s what she had to say (the following has been slightly edited for readability):

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I have a very strong attention to detail and love for intricate details, which is something I like to focus on through making. I’m usually inspired by what’s going on around me, and for me music is a big part of my life so my work is usually influenced by it as well as counterculture and nostalgia. All of these influences shape me as a designer and tend to show through my creations.

Graduate Collection by Jessica Maio
Model: Candice Rule
Photographer: Charlie Ashfield       
Makeup Artist: Lily Swan

What kind of music do you like and how do you incorporate it into your fashion design?

I like a range of different music – My favourite genres are indie/alternative rock, classic rock and 70’s disco, but I’ve found that most of my designs are influenced by the 70’s – punk rock, glam rock, and disco – there’s just something so eclectic and inspiring about that era, all the glitz and glam, exaggerated sleeves and pants, and the introduction to androgynous dress with artists like David Bowie, Elton John, The Runaways, etc.

…some audiences might not notice the traditional denim twin needle top stitching that was added to every denim garment in both necessary and unnecessary places

What’s your creative routine like? Where do you start and how do you know when something’s finished?

My design process is often quite spontaneous, I start off by thinking about the type of character I want to create and what I’m currently inspired by, then I flesh out heaps and heaps of sketches that eventually create a common theme and leads me to what I want to construct. When I decide what I want to create I usually have a set idea and test all the details through my drawings, so when my garments mirror them (with the addition to any spontaneous changes) and I feel like it represents my vision well enough then I know it’s finished.

Graduate Collection by Jessica Maio
Model: Candice Rule
Photographer: Charlie Ashfield       
Makeup Artist: Lily Swan

Who and what inspired you to get into fashion?

I wanted to pursue fashion design ever since I was 7 years old – I can’t remember what exactly triggered it apart from my friends telling me I was good at drawing clothes at that age, but I decided to stick with it my whole life because I loved everything to do with fashion and it’s ability to express personality, and I wanted to contribute to that. Also I don’t think anyone in particular inspired me to pursue it, but my grandparents and Aunty were very good at sewing which motivated me a bit more.

What would be your dream fashion gig right now?

It’s always been a goal of mine to dress a musician/performer (which I did at Off/BEAT Showcase with Jade Alice which was an awesome start), so I guess pushing that further and creating custom clothing for musicians for festivals, their own gigs or even their shoots. It would be amazing to dress some of my favourite artists!

That certainly does sound like it would be amazing!

Graduate Collection by Jessica Maio
Model: Candice Rule
Photographer: Charlie Ashfield       
Makeup Artist: Lily Swan

Going back to your latest collection, what are some intricate considerations you’ve incorporated that audiences might not immediately notice?

Apart from the obvious details like the lustrous fabrics, hand sewn chain fringing and 70’s references (exaggerated collars and flared hems), some audiences might not notice the traditional denim twin needle top stitching that was added to every denim garment in both necessary and unnecessary places, which I added to show the obvious denim reference with garments like the biker dress or white shorts that wouldn’t traditionally be made from denim.

I love that!

So what’s next on your plate and what can we look forward to from you across all your creative pursuits?

Honestly, I’m still figuring it all out. I’m definitely working towards starting up my own label, but in the mean time I’m keen to collaborate with other artists, photographers and stylists to keep building a name for myself, also planning on making some custom garments for those who have been waiting for me to finish uni (haha), and keeping an eye out for any job experience opportunities. But hopefully the label will be up and running in the near future!


Images and artwork courtesy of Jessica Maio

Model: Candice Rule @candicerule  

Photographer: Charlie Ashfield @igotshotbycharlie          

Makeup Artist: Lily Swan @lilyswan_mua

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