Diversity of design and culture highlight the 2018 UTS Fashion Show

23 October 2018

On Tuesday 23 October, the UTS Great Hall was transformed into a statement show room with a weaving white runway and a network of viewing clusters designed to showcase the work of 23 students graduating from the UTS Fashion & Textiles program.

Each year the graduating cohort assembles a collection of its most impressive designs to send down the catwalk, attracting eager punters from media and industry who make the annual pilgrimage to Ultimo to catch a glimpse of the next generation of fashion talent. In attendance this year were legendary designer Carla Zampatti, stylist Kelvin Harries and philanthropist Dr Gene Sherman.

Attendees were treated to a parade of five menswear collections, 16 womenswear collections and two genderless collections (Hannah Culshaw, Niamh Galea).

Knitted and woven fabrics featured prominently as did printed textiles, floral motifs and deconstructed garments reinterpreting traditional tailoring techniques. Some designers cited an interest in sustainability, durability and ethical design practices, whilst others experimented with materials including laser cut wood (Jessica Xie). Scattered throughout were references to art from Dadaist collages (Chloe Mottau) to Expressionist painters (Ruby Phan) and the Bauhaus movement (Hannah Culshaw); whilst others were inspired by historically significant fashion ensembles including 1960s skirt suits (Sophie Mangraviti) and 1950s tailored menswear (Sarah Hawes).

Several designers drew inspiration from their cultural heritage. Agnes Choi, Yanny Yu and Rachel Song referenced their Chinese and Hong Kong roots, seeking to diversify cultural representations within a largely Eurocentric fashion industry. Likewise Golnaz Rezaei Daghigh drew from his Iranian heritage with references to Islamic architecture, Persian handicraft and calligraphy; and Nethmi Ratnayake explored traditional Sri Lankan garments.

A number of prizes were presented to the students including the Australian Wool Education Trust Grant awarded to Golnaz Rezaei Daghigh, Susan Tovar, Sarah Hawes and Diana Wei, providing assistance with sourcing wool fabrics. The Swarovski Scholarship was awarded to Ariana Patawaran and Agnes Choi, supplying them with crystals for their collections; Isabella Snelson was presented with the Australian Wool Innovation prize; and Maddison Alexis was awarded a prize from ISKO.

The UTS Bachelor of Design in Fashion & Textiles degree is a key undergraduate offering from the UTS School of Design that has a reputation for producing Australia’s next generation of global designers. In the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject, it was named the leading Art & Design School in NSW (second to only RMIT Australia-wide), and 28th internationally. In 2017 the London-based website Business of Fashion – a respected digital authority on the global fashion industry – ranked the UTS Fashion & Textiles degree 13th in the world and first in Australia, up from 28th in the 2016 rankings.

Alumni from the Fashion & Textiles program include Bec + Bridge founders Rebecca Cooper and Bridget Yorsten; Adidas apparel designer Katrina Ho; Kenzo senior womenswear designer Robby Tjia; Big W General Manager of Creative Ana Maria Escobar (who previously spent nine years spent at Oroton Group); 2018 Carla Zampatti Foundation Design Award recipient Sarah Lim, who is now studying at Parsons School of Design in New York; and two winners of the prestigious LVMH Prize – knitwear specialist Katherine Mavridis and designer Matthew Adam Dolans, both based in New York City.

Byline: Clio Anne Ellis

Photos from the 2018 UTS Fashion Show

2018 UTS Fashion Show