The future of fashion emerges at UTS

25 February 2015

The future of fashion emerges at UTS

It's not easy for young fashion designers to make the cut for the exclusive National Graduate Showcase at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) but this year, nine out of the 12 finalists are all recent graduates of the UTS Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles degree.

The emerging designers were selected among 130 fashion graduates from around the country to secure one of the twelve highly coveted finalist positions. Six looks from their graduating collections will be judged by fashion industry leaders at VAMFF's breathtaking Central Pier runway on March 19, with the winner securing a $25,000 grant to create a one-off signature capsule collection for Target Australia.

"The tremendous success of our new graduates at this year's showcase selections is unprecedented in the industry. It demonstrates that UTS is at the forefront of producing outstanding fashion designers who are keen to push the boundaries and explore unchartered creative territory," says UTS Fashion and Textiles Lecturer, Donna Sgro.

Click here to view photos from the event

One of the finalists, Donald Chung, was selected for his "sombre minimalism" menswear collection, inspired by the visual culture and uniform of North Korea: "There's still so much possibility to explore within menswear, which really excites me. My graduate collection was derived from quite an unconventional idea but I'm really inspired by the mundane imagery of everyday North Koreans and the formalism of their dress culture. In essence, there's a strong notion of militarism and hypermasculinity within the range."

"To be representing UTS Fashion and then be selected as a finalist for the National Graduate Showcase is an enormous privilege as there really isn't any other opportunity in Australia to have your first body of work shown at such a prestigious and high-calibre event," says Donald. "It's thrilling to think that it may potentially lead to collaborating with a major fashion retailer."

Another finalist Vanessa Emirian has already been awarded the 2014 NSW Business Chamber Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry Award. The $10,000 award was established to encourage students to develop the skills needed to run a successful start-up business.

Past winners of the award include Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston, who went on to found the Bec & Bridge label, which is now stocked across Australia and internationally. The duo were also awarded the Alumni Award for Excellence – Design, Architecture and Building last year.

The UTS Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles is an internationally acclaimed degree, which has spawned the careers of many celebrated local designers who now work for leading international fashion labels including Alexander McQueen, Kenzo, Dion Lee, Alexander Lang and Helmut Lung.

The National Graduate Showcase presented by Target will be held on March 19 at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. The other UTS finalists include: Erica Deluchi, Monique Duggan, Felicity Gleeson, Megan McGrath, Sofie Teh, April Yap, Rachael Zheng.