Installation view of Nevada Duffy on display in <em>Fashion Now</em> as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023.   Image: Sean Fennessy

Nevada Duffy

Nevada Duffy
(est. 2009, Melbourne)

Nevada Duffy is an independent womenswear designer who produces small seasonal collections from her inner-city studio. Her vision is one of modern minimalism infused with tough‑ness and fluidity. Duffy creates sleek, structured silhouettes – including her signature ‘shoulder’ – using traditional hand-cutting and sewing techniques, and often recycles existing textiles in her garments.

 On display at Melbourne Now are a new tailored suit and dress that encapsulate Duffy’s distinctive approach to materials and emphasis on construction. Her practice is consciously positioned as the antithesis of fast fashion, with all works handmade in her studio in limited editions or as one-off, customised pieces. Duffy often sources and repurposes vintage fabrics and unwanted garments – including Hard Yakka overalls, woollen kilts, denim jeans and corporate T-shirts – to create her highly considered collections. Her work is informed by extensive research into historical clothing and traditional tailoring techniques.

Garments are constructed with an attentiveness to the human form in motion. The designer draws on her own experience of dance performance to conceptualise the relationship between body, cloth and movement, and experiments with pattern drafting and draping, as well as materials and textures, playing with stretch, bias, gathering and volume to create her sculptural pieces. Attuned to the beauty of imperfection, Duffy also explores the poetic qualities of ‘faults’ through exploratory cutting, raw edging, sharp outlines and deconstructed forms. She relishes unexpected material juxtapositions, playing with contrasts between hard and soft, natural and synthetic, and masculine and feminine.

After ten years working in the fashion industry as a pattern cutter, product developer and head designer, Duffy launched the Nevada Duffy label with a design ethos centred on waste reduction at the conceptual level. Duffy’s work has appeared in various independent runway shows as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival, and her designs retail from the Nevada Duffy flagship store in Clifton Hill.