Cindy's labour of love to find the perfect look
IT'S never just been about the clothes for local fashion and accessory designer Cindy Vogels and her Racy & Lucky label.
Not just content on creating something that looks pretty for her clients, she goes above and beyond to create something truly unique.
Her services are now more in demand than ever before, with the attention and care she shows awakening a ravenous appetite amongst young country music starlets.
"These are all individual pieces, because it's truly a collaborative effort when we're making them,” she says.
"The final product is a result of the process and relationship between myself and the client.”
The designs regularly blend fashion, costuming and theatricality to create something wholly unique.
The length of the process, which begins with a consultation session between Ms Vogels and the client, can wildly differ from day to day.
"I think a lot of it comes down to how long the artist has been performing, and how strong her identity as a performer is,” she says.
"When you have somebody who's maybe in the earliest stages of her career, it can be an exploratory process about finding what works for them.”
The goal, as Ms Vogels explained, was to create pieces that were emblematic of both the client's personality and visual sensibilities.
The process begins with the construction of a moodboard, including photographs, motifs and designs to create an appropriate and pleasing aesthetic.
Clients are then invited to make contributions as the pieces come together, including the selection of materials that will be used.
This close, almost symbiotic relationship between artist and designer is typified by the work Ms Vogels has done with Gympie singer-songwriter Caitlyn Shadbolt.
After Ms Shadbolt's appearance on the X-Factor, the two were introduced ahead of an extensive touring schedule for the young artist.
"She was performing at quite a number of dates and needed a lot of stage-wear, which is how we've got introduced,” she says.
"In a lot of ways the business is growing because of her, and I think it's still so important to protect that relationship.”
The partnership marked a unexpected, but pleasant return to fashion to Ms Vogels, who had previously been working in the realm of headwear.
One of those headpieces was worn by Lady Gaga, an opportunity that gave Cindy the confidence to start Racy & Lucky in the first place.
"It's interesting how serendipitous life can be,” she says.
"Starting out, I'd always had an interest in fashion, but being so caught up with the headwear I didn't see myself returning to it.”
2017 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for the designer yet - she'll be providing over 20 dresses and outfits for a slew of appearances this year in Tamworth, including the Golden Guitar Awards.
"We've got two Golden Guitar nominees wearing my designs (including Ms Shadbolt), as well as three entrants in the Toyota Star Maker competition,” she says.
"Following that, there'll be the CMC Awards and the CMC Rocks festival at Willoughbank as well.”
With these high-profile, highly visible appearances, Ms Vogels said the next big challenge for Racy & Lucky was to find out how to balance an increased profile and the intimate, time-consuming creative process.
"From the start I knew I never wanted to let Racy & Lucky grow to the point where the personal touch was diminished,” she says.
"There have been a number of offers for investments and I've turned them down, once that amount of money gets added to the equation you give up a lot of control.”
As she heads into a promising new year, Cindy said that even as her business and profile continues to grow exponentially, the core of Racy & Lucky will always remain the same.
"Going ahead, it's going to be an awesome year,” she says.
"I'm really looking forward to it.”