Jordan Gogos learnt about the importance of community as a child sitting in his mum's Gymea hairdressing salon, and last month - much to his family's delight - the designer splashed onto the runway at 2021 Australian Fashion Week, with a show that beat with that same kind of heart.
Nestled above The Vinyl Room nightclub, the Smart Image Hair Designers - owned by Anne-Marie Gogos - exuded the type of "flamboyance and energy" that was key to Mr Gogos's runway debut, he said.
The ex-St John Bosco College Engadine student makes wearable art, and his first runway showcase under the moniker Iordanes Spyridon Gogos captured the hearts of the fashion world.
The collection and the show itself provided a "way in to fashion" for guests who - for the first time ever - had the chance to attend a Fashion Week show.
This came after organisers replaced former naming rights sponsor Mercedes-Benz with the much more accessible Afterpay and opened the event up to the public for 2021.
"I didn't meet the criteria to be accepted into runway," Mr Gogos told the Leader, "but I had an amazing reference from an editor at Vogue [magazine]."
Mr Gogos studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and took up furniture design under the brand gogos.online.
Mum, Mrs Gogos, said fashion had been a "Plan B" after her son came home to Australia due to the worsening COVID -19 pandemic.
She was "blown away" by her son's show at the Carriageworks in Eveleigh.
I grew up around Mum showing me pictures of the Madonna era, smelling the hair and perfume at her salon.Jordan Gogos
"It was so fantastic that we were shocked," Mrs Gogos said. "I'm not just saying this because I'm his mother, but I was like, wow, what is this - it was like art."
Mr Gogos was keen to talk about his mum's salon and what it taught him.
"She hasn't renovated it in 35 years even though she's had the salon since she was 15," he said.
"I grew up around her showing me pictures of the Madonna era, smelling the hair and perfume.
"That inclusiveness, that acceptance, and the love for community - what a salon is - was tied into my upbringing."
In a world separated by the COVID-19 virus, Mr Gogos's show reminded attendees of the importance of acceptance and inclusiveness.
"I let go of the ego, and I think that really shocked the industry," he said.
"There were people moving around and dancing to pop music. The clothes were a talking point but the people's energy was just as much a talking point.
"The show was about ushering people into the industry who didn't exist in fashion. Everyone gets to feel good about themselves and feel accepted at my show."
This included Mr Gogos's grandparents from Kareela: "My grandfather was dancing on the back of the seat, filming, and he had to be told by security to sit down. My mum brought all her girlfriends. My nan cried and said 'It was beautiful, it was perfect, it was brilliant'."
Mr Gogos said he wasn't always treated with acceptance while growing up in the shire, but he hoped his "hyper experimental" fashion designs could help people "reorient how they see things" - in the fashion world, at least.
"The more you see something, the more you become familiar with it," he said.
"All of us need to be accepting of people."