Happy New Year!
In this wrap, we look back at some of the many graduate and end of year shows from across the School, including in the Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours), the Masters of Fashion (Design) and the Bachelor of Fashion (Design Technology) programs.
SHOP @ LEFT
25 October – 1 November 2018
Masters of Fashion (Design) graduating students Rutika Parag Patki, Benjamin Garg and Amanda-Agnes Nichols presented a preview of their final projects and collections at the fashion boutique Left Melbourne on Coromandel Place. The opening event included performances to express the designers’ conceptual worlds.
Rutika tells us why SHOP was a unique experience. “At university, we are constantly taught to have a reason behind every step we take, every decision we make. We are encouraged to ‘dig deep’ and go beyond the norm of ‘designing.’ The process almost makes fashion a form of art. Because of this, we sometimes forget that clothes actually need to sell. SHOP brought us back to this reality. The challenge, for me, was to choose/create looks that ‘spoke to’ the audience at Left. Most of my work is very different from the design that Left usually sells so I decided to make my pieces stand out from the rest of the show, making it more of a performance than just work for sale.”
“My concept for the collection placed culture and heritage at the forefront. I was attempting what many designers have done before – trying to preserve heritage.
Today’s world demands practicality but heritage styles and materials, like those associated with the traditional sari, don’t necessarily provide that. Therefore, in an effort to preserve these beautiful and culturally rich fabrics and garments, I created a collection that is not only powerfully contemporary but also easy to wear. The wearer feels fashionable and the garments carry the past with them. I used my grandmother’s old hand-me-down saris and coupled them with sport-inspired fabrics like mesh and scuba knit, using gold lurex ribbing to emulate the gold borders of the sari in a sportswear context.
Re-creation of prints from the saris was one of my main goals. To do this, I printed scuba fabric with a slightly distorted print copied from the saris. I also reproduced the print through laser cutting onto tulle and sports mesh to change the identity and materiality of the textiles.”
TRI: The Retail Initiative 2018 Exhibition
Wednesday 7 November 2018
The Retail Initiative (TRI) project gives students from the Associate Degree in Fashion and Textile Merchandising and the Cert. IV in Custom-Made Footwear a unique competition experience where they work with industry partners to gain direct insights and knowledge in the Australian retail industry. The exhibition and event on the 7th of November showcased the students’ work and celebrated the winning teams.
Second year Fashion and Textile Merchandising student Eleftheria (Elly) Livaditis shared some of her insights.
“The TRI project gave us the opportunity to create a range for a leading industry team. Our allocated team gave us a specific market and we designed, drew and envisioned our creations based on their specifications and advice, as well as guidance given to us by our mentors and industry members during our presentations.
There was so much to do all at once (which made it extremely stressful at times!) but the project really pushed us and taught us the importance of good organisation and time management as well as the necessity for communication within the team.
During the evening, winning teams were presented by the industry members and following the presentation students and family were able to mingle with industry members and their teachers. It was a lovely and intimate way to reflect on and celebrate the year outside of the university environment.
Thanks to the amazing industry connections of RMIT I have been lucky enough to gain a retail job at Dior over the holidays. I hope that, after completing my Bachelor degree next year, I will be able to get my foot in the door at a large company, where I can work in marketing. My dream goal is to start my own online fashion business.”
Friday 9 November 2018
Final year Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours), Bachelor of Textiles (Design)(Honours) and Master of Fashion (Design) students presented their graduate portfolios and look books in the new fashion design studios on level 12, Building 8. The event included a celebratory ‘procession’ of students down Swanston Street as well as the launch of the inaugural publication Advanced Fashion Studios Papers, issue 1 ‘The Penthouse.’
The Advanced Fashion Studios Papers included a collection of images from the shoots the students completed with fashion photographers Agnieszka Chabros and Phebe Schmidt and a poster representing the student thesis projects, mapping the collective research interests of the cohort.
SHOW: Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Showcase at MPavilion
Thursday 15 November 2018
The MPavilion showcase was a collaborative presentation to celebrate the 2018 RMIT Master of Fashion (Design) cohort’s mastery of advanced fashion practice. Three graduating Masters students, Rutika Parag Patki, Benjamin Garg and Amanda-Agnes Nichols showed their collection in an immersive catwalk experience at the MPavilion.
Rutika tells us: “The MPavilion show was the biggest event of the season for us. It had to be perfect. Most of us had never organised this kind of event before so it proved tricky to balance creating our outfits and organising everything. However, although it was hard, it taught us the art of multitasking and priorotising jobs over one another. The garment-making part proved to be much easier than getting sponsors, making call and run sheets, coordinating with talent, the stylist, the choreographer, directing the lighting designer, the music etc etc!
For Amanda, the show was reminiscent of her collaborative work as a costumier on film projects. “Everyone, from the students and external creative to the academic and MPavilion staff, was aiming for a shared creative vision and working to a very specific brief. This process called for extensive collaboration in order to present a cohesive production – just like in film and theatre.
As a Masters cohort, we were incredibly diverse in our design aesthetics and methodologies. Both Benjamin and Rutika moved from India to Melbourne to study at RMIT, whereas I moved from Sydney. Our collections reflected our respective personas and personal histories. My collection, Replica Project #1, was based on based on archival research I have done in the couture collections at the V&A, Balenciaga and Kyoto costume museums. The garments are outcomes developed from my examination of Christian Dior’s Bar suit of 1947, the first ensemble I viewed at the V&A. My intention is to carry on the Replica Project with each iteration in conversation with a different significant garment or ensemble from fashion history.
In putting the event together, we wanted to present a show that unified our different perspectives and our collective vision as design colleagues and friends. We thought that the best way to do this would be through music. Seshadri Varadarajan, a classical Indian Veena musician, composed three tracks with each track embodying a sense of each designers’ unique creative vision. For my collection, we chose a futuristic Space Odyssey 2000-inspired piece, played on the Veena, which beautifully reflected and complemented the work.
After a year of development and then two months making the garments, it was such a great feeling to set the work free and have feedback from the invited guests and public attendees. I already felt so much support for the work from our academic community but having such positive responses from people outside our RMIT community, including stylists, magazine editors and other fashion designers, was so exciting and encouraging.”
Photography by Lucas Dawson.
AUSFF Scholarships – RMIT won times two!
Wednesday 19 December 2018
Congratulations to Amanda Nichols and Helena Dong, who won the Australian Fashion Foundation Scholarship Awards. They were each awarded a financial grant of $20,000 USD and a six-month internship at a global fashion house in Europe or the USA.
Photograph by Myles Kalus (c/o AUSFF).
End of Year Staff Events
Thursday 13 December 2018
Anything but Human! The School of Fashion and Textiles end of year event was held on the 13th December and saw creative spirits run (semi-)wild. There was a chicken, a batch of eggs, some coloured pencils, a cow, a fish, a banana, some emojis and even a dilemma (who won the award for ‘most philosophical’).
RMIT Christmas Party, Brunswick Edition
Friday 14 December 2018
On the afternoon of the 14th December, the rain clouds dispersed and the sun came out just in time for the Delta Society therapy dogs to arrive, along with an amazing array of food, drinks and entertainment – the perfect way to end the year before Christmas.
‘Brunswick Plant’ Garden News
December is Kangaroo-apple Season. The weather is changeable, thundery and hot. Dhuling (Goannas) are active. Fruits appear on Kangaroo-apple bushes. Bundjil (Wedge-tailed Eagles) are breeding. Days are long and nights are short.
January is Biderap Dry Season. Hot, dry weather. High temperatures and low rainfall. Female Common Brown butterflies are flying. Bowat (tussock-grass) is long and dry. The Southern Cross is high in the south at sunrise.
‘Usually when a storm’s coming, rain birds, black cockatoos, yellow crested, they come down from the mountains. And you can bet on it within two or three days it rains. Never fails. Two days and it rains. And they make a racket.’ – Brian Paterson, 1999
‘I don’t know why, we used to play around the tussock grass. Playing hidey. So they must have been big enough to hide around. And it was nothing to see a snake curled up inside the tussock grass.’ – Dot Peters, 1999
On Monday 19th November 2018, the Garden Committee, led by Dr Pia Interlandi, hosted the inaugural Garden Harvest. School staff came to the garden for iced peppermint tea and scones with blueberry and raspberry jam. Dani Andree and Verity Prideaux shared some of their dye testing with us and together we harvested rainbow chard, sorrel, beetroot and red onions. Guests were given dye packages with pieces of calico and silk, instructions for dyeing and a vegetable to take home to test for themselves.
This was a beautiful way to open the garden and welcome the RMIT Brunswick community into the space. We are looking forward to an amazing 2019!