|Ruth Fattal playing with French lace and silks.|
When the leather-bound book is expediently returned, Ruth's relief is palpable. She can now return to her creative enterprise, squirreling sketching sessions in between trips to the shops and cafes and cultural landmarks on our American expedition.
Three of her favourite things? Coffee, ice-cream and her sketch pad.
"I rarely look at trends when I design," she says. "I think trends come and go. I rather focus on things that are inspiring like books, quotes, my Christian beliefs and God's beautiful creation."
Ruth is my "roomie", a fabulously frenzied mess of shoes, tops, jackets and journals exploding from her suitcase onto the floor at every hotel stop. Trivial preferences about the order of one's room or an appropriate bedtime matter little in Ruth's company: such is her sweet demeanour that a t-shirt to wear to bed and cosmetics are immediately offered up when I lose my luggage, no qualms.
We speak of Biblical things at night. She is a sister within seconds. A true girl's girl and exquisite travel companion who delights in everything and everyone she sees, stopping only momentarily to snap an Instagram.
Like her luggage, Ruth, 22, is a spirit that's hard to contain, which bodes well for her creativity. Her all-the-world's-a-stage vivacity is contagious. A moment in her presence and it's hard not to get swept up in the wonder of her world. Her Facebook page is a living testimony to her love for life, her family, her faith and fashion, people flocking to respond to whatever she posts (she *blushes* frequently).
"I love just seeing people rushing about or just exploring historical landmarks and beautiful scenery," she says of her frequent travels (dad, George, and brothers Michael and Josh are in the business.
"On the America trip, I fell in love with their thrift shops. I went into Goodwill in Washington DC and stumbled across the most amazing antique jewellery box, which actually plays an old love song! I got it for only $1.50 and I lugged it all around America from DC to NY to Buffalo, to LA then finally home."
This quirk of personality that sees her wandering and exploring and taking a genuine interest in all people and all things, not unlike the Little Mermaid Ariel, is helpful given Ruth's line of work, which calls for a sustained amount of creativity that mere mortals can only fleetingly entertain.
"God has opened so many doors," she says. "Since graduating I started of working as a Fashion Design Assistant and still am, on my day off I work at a high school were I run a Master Class tutorial for the Year 12 Textiles class, and I just recently opened up a small boutique studio in Parramatta were I am working on my label, Ruth Fattal Haute Couture."
Her fashion illustrations, which she frequently shares, are simply magical, reflecting her eclectic tastes and preference for strong colour. Before joining Silva Guanta in Sydney, where she has honed her craft with the Italian-born designer, Ruth gained a Bachelor of Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design where she learned that in the fickle world of fashion the best thing a designer can do is "be true to yourself and make and do what you love with all your heart".
It was her father who encouraged her to pursue her interest in fashion beyond her Visual Art and Textile Design studies at school, though the interest was first sparked by an aunt.
"I grew up admiring my auntie who would sew and make me pretty dresses to wear to church," she says. "The credit goes to my Dad, though. He really saw that I had a talent and really pushed me to study Fashion Design. It wasn't until I first got into the degree that I really fell in love with designing. I think the moment when I knew was seeing my sketches and designs come to life."
Credit also goes to the Year 12 Drama teacher who told her that through God all things were possible, to pursue her passion and go for it. The simple truth of staying true and working hard has helped her along in what can be an unforgiving industry.
"God has totally guided me through this whole journey and I am so blessed that he has opened so many doors and opportunities," she says. "My favourite verse, Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a wonderful life lesson: 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight'."
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