Cindy Vogels with singer Missy Lancaster, who wore one of her gowns to the CMC Music Awards.
Cindy Vogels with singer Missy Lancaster, who wore one of her gowns to the CMC Music Awards. Seanna Cronin

Meet the woman dressing country music's rising stars

CINDY Vogels is the woman behind many of the head-turning fashions at this year's CMC Music Awards.

The Gympie-based fashion designer dressed eight artists and special guests for tonight's glittering event at The Star on the Gold Coast including Kirsty Lee Akers and Missy Lancaster.

While she's best known as The Devoted Milliner, whose hats and headpieces have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, her work under her new fashion label Racy and Lucky made its CMC red carpet debut last year thanks to Caitlyn Shadbolt.

"In one year I've had an enormous amount of exposure and success," she said. 

"I'm on a mission to raise the bar for female Australian country music artists because it's not always easy. A lot of them are holding down part-time jobs to fulfill their careers and dreams. I sponsor a lot of them, especially the emerging artists. Most of them can't afford a stylist.  To engage a designer is beyond their wildest dreams."

Country and western influences like tassels, leather and turquoise are all the rage at the moment, and not just in clothes.

"I particularly love things that are country inspired at the moment - fringing, feathers. I saw it coming maybe two years ago when people started buying cowhides and horns for their living rooms," she said.

"All sorts of Western paraphernalia was creeping into homewares. There's definitely this movement coming through."

The mother-of-four said she felt an affinity with the Australian country music family after attending the Golden Guitars in Tamworth last year.

"It was really good timing for me. I'd just launched a label and I ended up at the country music awards night (in Tamworth)," she said.

"I was sitting there and it was such an incredible night. I was completely taken by the music and the people and how hard working they are. It was like a family and I decided these are the people I want to work with."