The Countdown is on for the HomeStart Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade. Each year the third-year students of the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) and Bachelor of Creative Arts (Costume Design) degrees offered in partnership with TAFE SA put together their Graduate Parade powered by HomeStart. This year’s theme: IRIDESCENT!
We chatted with two of our Fashion students, Brooke Reynolds and Emily Parker, and got the low down on the creative process behind their collections presented at this year’s show.
Both graduates are excited. Emily is looking forward to the designs, “There are so many different collections from wearable art to festival wear.”, while Brooke also points out the venue, “This is the first year that the Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade is being held at Festival Plaza and I am very excited to see all the amazing graduate designs being showcased at such a dynamic venue.”
Undone by Obsidian House
Brooke’s inspiration behind her collection for the Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade
At the Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade, Brooke will be presenting Undone, which is the debut collection of her label Obsidian House.
“My initial inspiration was the bedroom. I wanted to capture the feel of sliding across soft luxurious sheets and being wrapped in big voluminous quilts. The range embodies a soft set glamorous feel, contrasting volume with sleek simple lines.
“I also wanted to ensure I was environmentally conscious and using more sustainable and natural fibres, so the majority of my collection has been made from bamboo sateen bedsheets.
“The first half of the year was spent curating and refining ideas and inspiration to a point where I was able to begin sketching. Hundreds of sketches later, I sat down with my lecturer, and we refined the collection down to five outfits for the runway.
“The next step was to experiment with fabrics, sewing techniques and manipulations before pattern making and toiling, then cutting the final fabrics and sewing the final garments.
“I am particularly happy with the yellow skirt featured in my collection which I hand-dyed at home using turmeric, I am very proud of the eye-catching colour that this natural dye produced.
“Overall, producing the final collection is a huge undertaking, which at the start of the year can seem rather daunting. Looking back now, as a mature student with two young children, I am incredibly proud to have made it.”
Last Dance by Stone Fox
How Emily’s collection for the Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade came together
Emily’s collection Last Dance draws upon classic elements of disco with a modern twist to make you feel like a dancing queen. She tells us, “My designs are mostly based on my love of 70s music and the bright fashion both males and females wore. I love how men weren’t afraid to wear bright and flamboyant clothing.
“I created my designs by experimenting with different mediums and fabrics and how they would collectively look. I am most proud of how I created my own sequins for my garments by hand-cutting sequin film. Although this was really time-consuming, it allowed me to get the perfect size and colours.”
Collaborating in the Bachelor of Arts (Fashion)
Collaboration is a huge part of the study at TAFE SA and Flinders.
Emily points out, “Our interactive class environment made it easy to collaborate with other students and ask for their input which I loved. From asking them for advice to using their knowledge to help solve problems – it was so beneficial.”
Brooke was especially happy about the different perspectives and techniques she gained from studying together with several international students.
“During the final collection, we were all working on our individual designs, but we were doing so alongside each other, meaning that when you got stuck (and at some point everyone got stuck!) there was a room full of people whom you could turn to for help and advice.”
Memories to last a lifetime
As a mature student, deciding to enrol in the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) was a big step. “Moving back to Adelaide and taking the plunge back into full-time study was not an easy decision but definitely one of the best that I have made, not only because of the skills that I have developed but also for the friendships and wonderful mentors.
“Of course, seeing a design that I created from scratch walking down the runway on a model in front of family and friends is a pretty special moment too!
Emily also has fond memories looking back on her time studying. “My favourite memory of my degree was the start of the third year, creating our visual diaries for our graduate collections. It was great to share my ideas and to see everyone’s inspiration behind their collections.
“Also meeting so many lovely and like-minded people throughout the course. My favourite lecturer would definitely have to be Teena Johnston! She was so supportive throughout the whole process and her knowledge and experience were amazing to learn from.”
How the degree has changed the students
Both Brooke and Emily say the course has helped them develop not only professionally but also on a personal level.
“Professionally my background is in fashion buying. Coming back home to Adelaide to study has shifted my focus from being practical and more business-minded to being able to think and problem-solve more creatively”, Brooke tells us.
“Personally, and as simple as it sounds, this course has taught me to try. Where previously my mindset was often stuck on ‘no I can’t do that’, I have learnt not to limit myself throughout the creative process because whatever the problem there is always some kind of workaround and there is always a lecturer more than eager to help you out or learn with you!
Emily agrees, “Personally, my time at Flinders helped me to improve my time management skills and really encouraged me to push myself to achieve. Professionally, it showed me the standards of the industry and what is expected of us.”
At TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of Arts, the students loved the central, creativity-inducing environment of the Adelaide CBD.
Brooke raves, “Being able to study in the heart of the city helps to cultivate a creative vibe that I personally found very beneficial, especially in the creation and development of my final collection.
“It’s more than coffee on Leigh St and lunch at my favourite sushi shop on Waymouth St, it’s being able to walk to the Art Gallery after class, being so close to the Jam Factory and its wonderful array of exhibitions or being able to walk to the Mall for last minute supplies or to just sit and watch the street fashion walk past. The city has an abundance of inspiration making it a great place to study creative pursuits.”
Flinders at Festival Plaza
With Flinders at Festival Plaza opening its doors for semester 1 of 2024, students will have full access to all amenities, student support facilities and more in the city.
“It is exciting to see Flinders really embracing city study options for future students. I have loved being able to study in the city, I find the feel of being in the centre of it all and being a part of something bigger motivating and I am sure future students will benefit similarly from this new location.
“The Festival Plaza building looks set to provide some fantastic spaces to enable collaborative working which is a huge part of any creative study. I am excited for the future students and can’t wait to see what I’m sure will be some amazing future collections and innovations”, Brooke says.
After graduating Brooke is set on staying in Adelaide, “I want to work in and contribute to Adelaide’s local fashion industry. There are so many talented locals working to build up the Adelaide fashion scene and I am excited at the prospect of being a part of that forward momentum.
“With my new design and sewing skills, a portfolio jam-packed with samples and sketches and a background in buying I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do!”
Emily is also looking at working locally to grow her casual wear brand, Free the Rip. “I upcycle second-hand fabrics into new garments. Sustainability is a big passion of mine and I hope to make a positive change through my brand. I also look to release more collections through my graduate collection label Stone Fox and get my designs into the Adelaide Fringe Festival and cabaret scene.”
Don’t miss out!
Grab your tickets for the HomeStart Fashion and Costume Graduate Parade – IRIDESCENT on March 23rd. But be quick, tickets are selling fast.