May 23rd, 2016

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“I am extremely proud of all the designers. You see them work so hard for so many months putting everything together, and the emotional roller coasters that they go through, and no sleep. We couldn’t be more proud of them today.”  Andrea Cainero, Head Teacher at the Fashion Design Studio discussing the Innovators of 2016.

It is an exciting time for The Innovators from TAFE’s Fashion Design Studio, and the beginning of a successful career lingers on the horizons as they take their provocative designs to the world stage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA), at Carriageworks Eveleigh.

Opened in 1955, the Fashion Design Studio run by Sydney TAFE is a first class fashion institution with a forward thinking mindset. Since 1999 it has held the proud title of being the only fashion school in Australia to showcase graduate collections at MBFWA alongside the most exclusive designers in the Industry. Bustling with photographers, celebrities and designers, Fashion Week is an ideal platform for international media coverage.

The Innovators of 2016 are the first students to graduate from Sydney TAFE’s Fashion Design Studio with a Bachelor of Fashion Design, and the gifted line-up in this year’s show includes Ahmad Taufik, Jessica Van, Frederick Jenkyn, Demetra Kakopieros, Wesley McDonough, Georgie Ipsen and Renee Saliba.

Anne Normoyle, a Head Teacher and Course Co-ordinator at the Fashion Design Studio believes the show reflected the diverse approach the studio takes in allowing students to pursue their individual direction as fashion designers, and that success happens when you have an international focus.

“We are developing many opportunities such as exchange programs and exchange internships so that students start to realise that there are differences in different cultures and markets … and that there are opportunities for the products designed to have global appeal,” says Anne.

The studio’s commitment to shaping current and future expressions of fashion is reflected in its renowned alumni names, Nicky Zimmermann, Alex Perry, Dion Lee and Lisa Ho, who mentor the students and provide them with Industry standard work experience.

Sydney TAFE and the studio are at the forefront of allowing students to push boundaries between fashion, design and science, while also driving them towards a fulfilling career where they can use their passions to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Head Teacher, Andrea Cainero, is extremely proud of all the designers because they have shown a great professionalism and commitment to their work, while also showcasing an ability to clarify what they want to say through their designs.

“I do believe fashion is an art form, and art is supposed to inspire emotions. Fashion is a medium where people can express who they are and what they are about … It is not just clothes on a rack,” she says.

“There is a reason and a purpose for it that comes across in the finishes and the details of the clothes.”

The Innovators embody a type of wide eyed and passion driven determination that only comes with youth and creativity, and it rubs off on anyone wanting to find out where they are going to next.

Ahmad Taufik, an Innovator defined by his modern take on traditional tailoring has already started accepting ready-to-wear orders for his newly revealed collection at MBFWA.

To those wanting to pursue a career in fashion, Ahmad tells them to go for it. “If you want to do it, do it, because I worked quiet a bit in a field I wasn’t completely happy with, and then it just clicked one day, and when you know you’re ready, you’re ready.”

Ahmad is thankful for The Fashion Design Studio’s facility, and the teachers who have mentored and trained him to become the designer he is today. “They are happy to let you go at your own pace, but they are also happy to push you … It is a very nice and nurturing environment to be around.”

Sophie Drysdale, one of the three Head Teachers at the studio leads the textiles component of the fashion design course and she stresses the importance of practical textile training because it gives students a signature to their designs.

“It sets them apart from everyone else and gives them the opportunity to be completely original,” she says.

Sophie reveals the studio’s use of new emerging technology in the Industry, which ties in with its commitment to partnering with textiles companies so that students obtain fundamental skills in creating their own designs.

Prominent across the studio’s faculty is the importance of practical training for the students, and the values attached to it, especially when students graduate and enter the competitive job market.

“We have a hands on, very applied learning environment so the students are in work rooms everyday working on their collections, their illustrations and their designs,” says Andrea, Head Teacher at the studio.

“The teachers put the time in with the students, working one-on-one with them to develop their designs, but then also to realise them into the actual 3D garments as well.”

Students at the Fashion Design Studio are academically trained, but there is a strong emphasis on practical hands on experience in important areas such as pattern making, creating designs through computer technology, and taking part in innovation processes.

“These skills will allow students to enter into the work force immediately … and up to ninety percent of our students go straight into a job after graduating,” says Laura Washington, one of the Senior Design teachers.

“It’s about moving straight from education into a job, and that is what Vocational Education and TAFE does.”

For more information on The Innovators and the Fashion Design Studio, visit this link.

Images sourced from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

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