Gabrielle Adamidis has been sewing for as long as she remembers. Following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother who both sewed, she began at five or six years old and made her own clothes as a teenager. While she originally embarked on an Arts degree at Melbourne’s Monash University she left halfway through to complete a fashion diploma at the Box Hill Institute’s school of fashion.

“I always knew that was what I really wanted to do, I needed to be doing something practical and hands on; writing essays was just not for me,” Adamidis says. Three years ago the 28 year-old Melburnian started her own lingerie line Hopeless. “I started from scratch, we didn’t do much lingerie at Tafe I just applied everything I learnt there,” she says. In the cut-throat fashion industry Adamidis knew she had to do something different to stand out.

“Every man and his dog wants to start a clothing label, not many people do lingerie so I noticed it as sort of something not many people do and I thought I’d have more chance of succeeding by doing something like that,” she says. “I also really like working in detailed, smaller things so it suited what I enjoy doing.” Working from her small apartment in Hawthorn, Adamidis says small garments are also far more practical. “I have very little space I don’t think I could make a dress in the space I have. I pretty much do everything from what would be my dining room,” she says.

Adamidis says she has always had a penchant for vintage lingerie. “I’ve always been quite passionate about the pin-up girls and I love old movies from the ’40s and 50’s and even up to the ’80s and ’90s,” she says. It’s movies like Evil Dead, Jaws and Alice in Wonderland that inspire her ranges. One thing Adamidis avoids is basing her designs around trends. “I think the worse thing you can do as a designer is to base what you do around what is popular at the moment because by the time you get around to getting into production it’s going to be over”. The designer does about 90 percent of her own sewing and has this year taken on two interns.

“I hope to teach them a lot and hopefully employ them at some stage once the business grows a bit. They’ve been really willing and eager to learn everything that I’ve experienced the hard way because I have no business experience and it’s been very much trial and error,” she says. “It’s a really hard industry to break into so I know for both of my interns coming out of fashion school to have this experience on their resume will really benefit them; it works for both of us”. Hopeless lingerie is mainly sold online, distributing worldwide. Most of Adamidis’ orders are from overseas.

“The lingerie industry is quite different overseas than here; the Australian girl is much more typically a Bonds girl, more about comfort than dressing up,” she says. “Interest has been growing here which is really good, but I had wholesalers in UK and Paris before here, which is quite amazing; it’s an absolutely different market”.