PAGEANT Designers Get Genki in Melbourne

SS GF Laila Sakini recently dropped by the studio of PAGEANT—where Japanese culture permeates both clothing & cuisine

Working long hours in the studio doesn’t mean sub-standard snacks and takeout for the busy girls of PAGEANT. Continuing with the Asian influence of their current collection, Amanda and Kate whipped SS up a neat Japanese lunch of ginger pork, brown rice, and tuscan cabbage that provides equal measures of style and sustenance. Stay tuned for their Organize the Chaos story!


Name: Amanda Cumming
Hometown: Melbourne
Day Job: Fashion designer for PAGEANT
Current location: Melbourne, Australia
Daily uniform: High-waist pants, cashmere, puffy jacket, Nike Rifts, and a Delfina Delettrez lips and pearl ring.
Daily routine: Black coffee and muesli in the morning before a day in the studio and an afternoon swim.

Name: Kate Reynolds
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Day Job: Fashion designer for PAGEANT
Current location: Melbourne, Australia
Daily uniform: For winter it’s mostly black: my North Face puffer, knitted beanie, Timberland boots, and my Dominic Jones knuckleduster
Daily routine: A soy latte from the café downstairs from my house, studio, emails, work, walk home, and then relax.

What did you both do prior to PAGEANT:
We studied Fashion Design at RMIT University and lived together during our time in London where we cut our teeth interning and working for some of our favorite designers (Kate was at Cassette Playa and Christopher Shannon and Amanda was at Tim Soar and Christopher Kane). We started PAGEANT to explore our own ideas and put our training and experience into practice. We wanted to do something that was inherently Australian with an international feel. We enjoy referencing cross-disciplinary interests, like pop culture, music, and art, through the medium of fashion.

So, what’s cookin’ today?
Because we don’t have much of a kitchen here in the studio, we usually bring in leftovers to share for lunch. Today Amanda brought in a ginger pork dish with some brown rice. When we lived in London, our super cute Japanese housemates taught us how to cook this dish. To go with it we are making a Tuscan cabbage/daikon/radish coleslaw with Ponzu dressing and Kewpie mayonnaise and some pickled cucumber inspired by our intern Hugh. Wasabi peas and Japanese sweets are a staple when we’ve got lots of work to do!

Finish these sentences:
In the studio kitchen, I need backup bottles of:

Amanda: Ponzu sauce
Kate: Soy milk and honey

I had the most incredible Japanese dinner at:
Amanda: Izakaya Den in Melbourne
Kate: An amazing tempura feast at a restaurant in Kyoto with my boyfriend John last year. We sat at the bar and watched the chef prepare and cook everything—it was the most incredible tempura I have had in my life.

My must-have serving items are:
Amanda: A selection of eclectic ceramic bowls
Kate: Shinkansen train chop sticks

Every bento box needs:
Amanda: Crunchy coleslaw
Kate: A Hello Kitty bento box to house everything in!

Every sewing kit needs:
Amanda: A pair of snips
Kate: Yeah, sharp scissors!

My work is motivated by:
Amanda: Art, friends and a need to create something unusual, wearable, humorous
Kate: A mix of 90s hip-hop, art, and my friends

My cooking is motivated by:
Amanda: Friends, Ottolenghi cookbooks, and a hungry tummy
Kate: Ease and my food intolerance

An unforgettable food-phase in my life was:
Amanda: When I was 20 I could eat a packet of Mint Slices (an Australian mint chocolate biscuit) in one go. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown this phase!
Kate: I still cannot resist a Cherry Ripe Double Dipped chocolate bar.

Ginger Pork Recipe:
500 grams pork eye fillet, sliced into strips
Sesame oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of mirin
2 tablespoons of sake
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
½ an onion sliced finely
For serving:
Spring onions, chopped
Black sesame

Combine marinade ingredients and marinade pork for an hour in the fridge. Heat sesame oil in a wok on medium heat and cook pork until browned. Serve with spring onions and brown rice sprinkled with black sesame.

Coleslaw Recipe:
Tuscan cabbage or kale, sliced finely
½ daikon, sliced into julienne strips
4-5 small red radishes, sliced
Lemon juice
Ponzu sauce
Sesame oil
Kewpie mayonnaise

Arrange ingredients for coleslaw on a plate. Combine dressing ingredients as needed and pour over coleslaw. Serve with Kewpie mayonnaise.

Pickled Cucumber Recipe:
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
Sea Salt
¾ cup of brown rice wine
1 tsp raw sugar

Slice cucumbers and cover with sea salt, leave for 5-10 mins. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Rinse and pat dry the salted cucumbers before combining with other ingredients. Leave for a few hours and serve with a sprinkling of salt.

Photography by Louis Horne