1. Could you introduce yourself and your occupation
My name is Jonathon Vilar. Born in 1994, raised in Melbourne, Australia. I am the fashion designer, creative director & founder of VILAR.
2. How did you pursue a career in design? Was it something you envisioned from a young age?
At the very young age of 13 I knew I wanted to be creatively involved in fashion & design, I have my older sister to thank for that! She’s really into streetwear, brands like Undercover, Supreme and Bape, to high-end brands such as Margiela, Helmut Lang. She saw the interest I was taking in the clothes, the style and story these brands represented and started buying me a few pieces also. I started to find a style of my own & bridging the world of streetwear and high fashion, a medium between the two.
It wasn’t until a year after high school when I was conscious that it was something I really wanted to pursue seriously, in what facet I wasn’t exactly sure of yet, so I thought that going to fashion school was what you HAD to do to “be” a fashion designer. Fashion school didn’t exactly workout for me, I was young, partying a lot & didn’t feel like this was my route. You can’t teach creativity, I had my vision & I knew that for myself personally, the traditional structure of school wasn’t for me – someone telling you what’s right or wrong in the work you’re producing, or teaching you someone else’s way of doing things that doesn’t necessarily work for your aesthetic doesn’t work for creatives, so I went with my gut & dropped out. The fashion school dropout. I decided to learn fashion design myself and got taught by individuals whenever I could, how to sew, pattern-making basics etc.
I am still learning & I will never stop learning.
3. We noticed the brand is based in Australia. How have you found that experience?
Developing a brand that’s based in Australia is widely known to be difficult, logistically & economically amongst other variables. It has come with its challenges, but I am grateful to have overcome some of these difficulties because it made everything that VILAR is today.
Australian fashion is not really a culture or lifestyle for majority of people like it is around the world. Growing up, I was never really surrounded by people with similar interests as me, especially in design. I always felt it was a lonely ride, which I enjoy. This is what developed VILAR, a brand in the shadows, an outsider for outsiders alike, creating something that doesn’t already exist. I’m cool with it if VILAR doesn’t fit into the Australian fashion norm because I have a global audience, as long as I have that effect on one person, in Australia or elsewhere, I am grateful and will continue to push myself to inspire and create. There is always opportunity to expand the brand to the US or Europe, but this is all a process & ill take it as it comes.
4. The imagery and direction by Vilar holds a strong aesthetic. Was this something directed by you or something that came intro fruition over time?
I believe my aesthetic to be so strong because my vision is so strong; to me, they go hand in hand.
My vision is never tainted; it is purely an expression of me, my experiences as a person, and as a designer. I have always been certain of the direction I want to take my brand, and make conscious decisions and efforts to achieve this.
5. What was the inspiration behind Vilar?
Growing up, everyone called me by my surname; VILAR. It had always been a vision of mine that if I got to create my own thing, that I would use the name to represent my creative work. It took years to build the identity of my brand, its something that has come naturally and not something that was thought of overnight. The inspiration behind VILAR consists of all different types of cultures & movements such as rave, skate, punk/grunge and a balance between streetwear & high-end, which I like to call “Avant-garde streetwear”. VILAR is a brand for outsiders who take pride in individuality. You are buying into a lifestyle when you wear VILAR. There is much more meaning & representation than just clothing.
6. What have been some of the advantages and disadvantages of starting a brand?
There have been no disadvantages. Everything has been an advantage. This state of mind has helped a lot with not only the brand but with my own self-development, Having a platform where I can fully express my creativity and imagination, breaking rules has been really fun. I am living my dreams, how could there be a disadvantage? The overwhelming support and feedback has been nothing short of amazing. Selling out a collection in my first launch, nothing is impossible.
7. What advice would you give other who are trying to start in the industry?
Trust in the process.