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Yumi Morrissey’s Skyline

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Quintessential Canberra.

We can’t think of any other way to describe the 12 looks that designer Yumi Morrissey will present on the catwalk in a week-and-a-bit at FASHFEST.

Zilpah tart, Yumi’s label, has for the past few seasons showcased prints created with iconic images of the capital, including Parliament House, spring blossoms and autumn leaves.

With her 2016 spring/summer collection, Yumi has created not one, not two, but three new prints, made from different skyline photos. “I took one from the front step of my house,” says Yumi. “We get amazing views of the Brindabella Range and amazing sunsets. So I waited for just the right moment and captured a beautiful shot.”


Another print will feature hot air balloons which Yumi photographed at a ‘ridiculously early hour’ at this year’s Balloon Spectacular, and the third a series of wind turbines she discovered about an hour outside of the capital.

Zilpah tart, a hugely successful Canberra label, has a strong following of women who love feminine, bold and unique pieces, that are easy to wear and flattering. The 2016 collection will feature sunset colours—pink, orange, yellow—sky blue and some black and white. Yumi will also incorporate flowers into her show, through a collaboration with Fionna from Peony ‘N Pearl, who is creating floral headpieces and accessories.


“My turnover, since showcasing at FASHFEST three years ago, has increased by 300 percent,” says Yumi. “My label is now recognised and I have many repeat customers and new customers who seek out Zilpah tart. FASHFEST has given me tremendous exposure and has motivated me to be disciplined with seasonal collections. Running a successful fashion design label has to be about a structured business. It can’t be just a hobby.”

Designer Yumi Morrissey

Designer Yumi Morrissey

One of Yumi’s biggest fans is politician Gai Brodtmann, who is coming to FASHFEST this year specifically to see the designer’s new collection. Yumi’s garments have also been ordered by fans living overseas, including in Dubai, the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. Her Parliament House dresses have been worn all over the world by Australian diplomats.

While all of Yumi’s prints have been challenging to make, this year was especially so, partly because the photos are of full scenes, not just a single item, like an autumn leaf, that can more easily transform into an attractive pattern.

Yumi manipulates her images through Photoshop, playing with different exposures, filters and effects. “As a designer, I’m driven through the creative process to end up with something much better than the initial image,” says Yumi. “I almost gave up on the wind turbine image, but finally created a very cool pattern.”

Yumi sells her fashion through Cardif Collective in Kingston, online and at markets. She also now sells through Design a Space in Melbourne. Her scarves (including fun loop scarves), pillow cases and some handbags are for sale in The Parliament Shop.

As well as finishing off her FASHFEST collection, Yumi is getting ready to head to the FindersKeepers markets in Melbourne, two weeks after the red-carpet event. There’s simply no way to stop this designer.

FASHFEST is being held at the National Convention Centre Canberra, 29 September to 1 October. Tickets, which start at $49 (including GST), are on sale now: www.fashfest.com.au

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