Best wrapping ever, with Awards, Careers and Open Day

Beginning this layer of the wrap with *CONGRATULATIONS* to two of our alumni who were recognised in the annual Design Institute of Australia Graduate of the Year Awards.

The Fashion Careers Forum on the 1st August was a great chance for our students to hear from industry panellists about the many career paths open to fashion graduates. RMIT Open Day, on the 12th August was an opportunity to launch our new programs to a gathering of potential students (and curious parents!) – very exciting for us all to share our new thinking and delivery models to imagine the future direction of the fashion industry.

In the garden, the days are getting longer and the birds are getting louder. Roses in the dye garden are blooming and we are planning our next harvest and planting. So, be ready volunteers for digging and weeding, and the release of the ladybirds!

Design Institute of Australia Graduate of the Year Awards

The Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Graduate of the Year Awards (GOTYAs) is the flagship program for emerging Australian designers. Each year, educational institutions are invited to nominate their top graduates across various design disciplines. Nominee portfolios are anonymously evaluated on their design excellence based on a transparent judging process and criteria. Finalists are interviewed by a panel of judges to determine their transferable workplace skills and predicted impact on the Australian design industry.GOTYA 01We are very excited to announce that RMIT graduate Lauren Stringini has been named Australian Textile Design Graduate of the Year!

Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) graduate Helena Dong has also been awarded the Fashion Design Graduate of the Year Award in the state category for Victoria.The Houndstooth Wrap got in touch with Lauren to ask her about her project submission and how it feels to have won this award.

“As a designer, I am inspired to produce emotionally durable textile designs that help to fight product obsolescence within a throw-away society. The idea that a textile design may inspire someone to hold onto, pass on or re-purpose a product motivates me to continue creating. My approach to design is inspired by the ‘Slow Design Movement’ and the idea of producing quality over quantity. Each design is hand-rendered, with minimal digital editing and a huge amount of attention to detail applied throughout the entire process. My aim is to create textiles that feel like pieces of art, in the hope that they are then cared for and avoid a linear journey straight to landfill.

I am definitely inspired by the natural world when it comes to motif choice and colour development. Although my focus has been on floral’s during my final year (and will always be a huge part of my work), I am also looking forward to creating more conversational textiles that evoke feelings of joy or perhaps tell a story. I have always had such love and respect for the environment; something that inspired me to experiment with natural dyeing. The ‘Make Do’ collection I completed during third year, encapsulates my commitment to sustainable textiles. The designs were created to challenge the common ‘eco-aesthetic’ that is usually associated with sustainably made textiles. My illustrative style, natural dyes and screen-printing pigment made from powderized clothing items (developed by scientists at Deakin University), combined to create a range of commercially viable textiles that continue to inspire me to refine and develop this concept.

Winning this award means so much to me. I am so grateful to Dr Rebecca van Amber for nominating me. I moved away from my family and my home town of Townsville to study this course and the awards I have received are a wonderful acknowledgement of my efforts, as well as a reminder of what I am capable of. I am hoping that this award will bring with it some added credibility to my practice, as I am planning to approach sustainable companies and businesses for possible collaborations in the future. I am also excited to build a relationship with the DIA and experience their support of young designers during this next phase of my career.”

Congratulations to Lauren and Helena on this amazing achievement! We really look forward to seeing what you do next.

Fashion Summit Award

Monday, 22 July

In July, Dean of the School of Fashion and Textiles, Professor Robyn Healy received a  commemorative plaque from the Hon. Felix Chung, Legislative Member, 6th Legislative Council of HKSAR, and Chairman of the Fashion Summit (HK) Steering Committee.Robyn_HK awardCongratulations Robyn!

Fashion Careers Forum

Thursday, 1 August

On the 1st of August, the School of Fashion and Textiles hosted a Fashion Careers Forum in the Hanger at the Brunswick campus. The day included three panel sessions:


L-R: Kiri Delly; Olivia Smythe (Intent Journal); Megan Edwards (Cargo Crew); Natasha Demers (Ark Clothing Co.); Maria Rinaldi-Cant (Country Road)

We got in touch with Lucy (Shengyi) Zhu to hear about her experiences of the day.

“I went to all the sessions and it was so beneficial to meet all these industry leaders, gaining insights to their journey and being able to network with them. I learnt so many things! I think one of the most important things I learnt was to set boundaries with your mentor and to work with people who balance out your skills. 

The best advice I got from the day was to just go for it, the more ‘no’s you get, the quicker you will get a ‘yes’! It was such a great day and it was really helpful being able to network with fellow fashion students as well as the amazing industry professionals.”

Open Day 

Sunday, 11 August

Despite a forecast of rain the sun shone for most of Open Day on the Brunswick campus, perfect for the Little Market and for visitors to see all that our leafy campus has to offer. The market featured stalls from clothing brands such as No Normal Girls, and CANDID by Alyse as well as other initiatives such as Good Material Magazine.

In building 513 the Print Workshop was open for demonstrations of screen printing and in building 516 students from across the Higher Ed programs presented work in a series of “Open Studios.” Work was displayed in vitrines, on tables and on mannequins and included works in progress from undergraduates, fourth year and masters students.

One of the highlights of the day was the Runway showcase for VE and HE students held in the Hanger. The show featured work by alumni Amanda Nichols, Benjamin Garg, Kit Valerio, Amy Thomas, Julia English and Hannah Berry, current Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) students such as Lakkari Kim, Molly Johnson, Olivia Rowan and Amy Lawrence, and second year Associate Degree of Fashion (Design Technology) students such as Lillian Armitage and Tia Korevaar. It was a special moment for potential future students to see the work of current students and recent graduates across multiple programs and year levels.     

Many thanks to RMIT student photographers Kennardi Sebastian, Jovita Sari Gotama, Huong Truong, Audrey Michael for the great images of Open Day 2019.

RMIT Sustainability Annual Report 

The RMIT Sustainability Report for 2018 includes a Feature Case Study on all the initiatives being put in place across the School of Fashion and Textiles. The Report is a great platform for sharing the work being done across the School.

The five-page spread features examples of sustainability embedded in our programs, including  in Textile Design and Fashion Entrepreneurship, as well as details about the establishment of the Garden Studio, student participation at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit and the showcase of student work at the end of year event, So, Sow, Sew. Work by students, Katherine Nolan, Georgia Zulian, and Jemma Lobwein is also featured. Take a look back on previous issues of the Houndstooth Wrap for more details about these activities and events.

‘Garden Studio’ Growings

We have now entered Gulung (Orchid season), early spring. It is still cold but the days are getting longer and the skies are getting brighter. The orchids are in season and the Muyan (silver wattle) and Yellow box are in flower, providing nectar for birds and bees. Koalas are mating, Lyrebirds are making their courtship displays, moths are emerging and the birds are continuing to nest in time for true spring. 

On Monday 5 August, Dani Andree hosted a two-hour Garden Studio visit and Natural Dye Workshop with the third-year “Closing the Loop” studio. The studio, led by Kate Sala and including workshops with Miriam Borcherdt and Courtney Holm is about teaching students how to apply circular design principles to their own personal practices. The garden visit started with an introduction to the garden, including details of the initiative such as plant care, selection and labelling, composting, and dye testing. Dani tells us:

“I talked about our future hopes and dreams for the Garden Studio and the campus landscape as a functional space. We talked about each of the plants in the garden and discussed things like the fugitive nature of plant-derived colour, including the possibilities, limitations and current research about natural dye, the concept of ‘plant-time’ and its relation to ‘human time’ within the creative process, especially when we think about the notion of collaborating with plants, and the ethics of using plants for creative outcomes. This conversation gave the students an opportunity to think about a different way of producing garments and textiles, particularly when they are considering the idea of a long-term relationship with garments or textiles that needs maintenance and care over time. 

After the tour, we went to the Print Workshop, where I showed the group some of the testing I’ve been working on:

  • Suitable fibres: protein vs cellulose, differences in treatment and colour outcomes
  • Mordants, binders, pigments, dye extracts
  • Quantities of raw plant matter required; storage of plant matter
  • Extraction of colour from plants by boiling
  • Intensifying colour for use in printing and hand-painting
  • Experiments in Indigo printing & recycled indigo printing
  • Plant-derived dye practitioners and important reference texts

Finally, the students had the opportunity to do some hand painting with my pre-prepared plants onto soy-treated cotton and linen. 

Spring Planting Workshop

We welcome you to join us in the garden for a planting workshop at lunchtime on Tuesday 10th September! See you there.

Planting Workshop

Stay tuned for the next wrap on Melbourne Fashion Week, updates on the building program on the Brunswick campus and the latest industry projects.

 – Compiled by Dr Harriette Richards, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

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