Mel AntonDiploma of Clothing Industry Studies

Business Owner

Former Box Hill Institute student Mel Anton, the designer behind the haute couture label Izaro, had the privilege of designing an evening gown for Miss Universe Australia to wear at the Miss Universe contest in Las Vegas earlier this month. Miss Universe Australia took out third place in the prestigious pageant.

Mel’s journey to this career highpoint began in the late 90s, when she began studying for a Diploma in Clothing Industry Studies at Box Hill Institute. There she met fellow student Hong Pham, who shared the same aesthetic sensibility and passion for haute couture. Together the two created the Izaro label.

The hands-on technical skills that Mel learnt at Box Hill Institute – such as design drawing and pattern cutting – have held her in good stead, as have the practical skills she learnt about setting up a business. “In fact, I’ve now hired a full timer from Box Hill Institute,” she laughs.

Named after a Brazilian Goddess, Izaro specialises in bridal haute couture that borrows the best from traditional designs while adding a graphic and edgy feel. “Izaro aims to dress glamorous and elegant women, and what better day to look glamorous than on your wedding day?” says Mel. Many gowns are inspired by Hollywood, and are feminine but not necessarily conventional.

The vast majority of Izaro’s clients are career women aged 25 to 40 who are willing to pay to have a design created uniquely for them for their wedding day.

Mel enjoys the diversity of running her own fashion label. A typical day at Izaro could involve anything from drawing designs and choosing fabrics, to meeting with brides or organising a fashion shoot. “It’s never boring!” she says.

With hindsight, Mel admits that starting her own design house straight from TAFE was decidedly risky, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. If you really love and want to do something, you shouldn’t listen to people who are negative, she advises future designers. “You have to keep faith.”