BY MADALYN PLUMMER
We all know Perth is not the most exciting city. Perfect for bringing up a young family perhaps, but once you’ve past the teens a question hangs around the head of most, should I stay or should I go?
Whether it’s the job prospects, the social life, or the change in atmosphere; Sydney, Melbourne, New York and London are a lot more appealing to most.
While I am struggling to build up the courage to commit the temporary move to London next year, it’s an experience I will not let myself miss.
This goes for a large proportion of students interested in fashion/design/textiles courses in Perth.
While Perth is growing rapidly, along with its awareness in fashion trends, Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s fashion hubs – are the aim of the game for most students.
The Central Institution of Technology TAFE opened a promising exhibition on Wednesday, 25 May, which showcased the Advanced Diploma of Fashion and Textile students’ work from the beginning of the year to date.
SLIDESHOW: Madalyn models and displays the new designs.
Lecturer at Central TAFE, Garth Cook, who also has his own fashion label under his name, says for anyone studying in the fashion industry it’s important to get experience outside of Perth.
“I really encourage my guys to leave and do some research overseas or over east as it’s so small here,” Garth said.
“It’s really hard to get a good paying job anywhere in the fashion industry, let alone in Perth.”
Garth began by designing jewellery for close to 10 years, and then decided to go back and study.
After completing his Advanced Diploma in Fashion and Textiles at Central TAFE, Garth moved to London to get some experience.
While he loved it over there, he said it was hard because he was not getting paid when working for Marios Schwab for a season, so he did jewellery design in the meantime to earn some cash.
Garth may encourage his students to get out and around the world for their design work, but studying abroad may not be the answer for everyone.
“It all depends on what the school and the people that teach you,” he said, “Here at Central TAFE we have amazing facilities, and our course is evolving with the industry’s needs.”
The exhibition lasted until 28 May and showcased abstract designs, more commercial designs as well as a few pieces of jewellery and accessories.
All of the commercial design pieces are on sale, with the profits supporting their end of course runway show at the end of the year.
Gautam Kapoor is in his third year at Central TAFE and is completing his Advanced Diploma in Fashion and Textiles.
He says he considered moving to Sydney a few times, but is glad he made the decision to stay in Perth and study at Central TAFE.
“I find I have learnt so much here (at Central TAFE) and I would not change it at all,” Gautam said.
Yet Perth is nowhere near where his future lies.
“As for the future, I will probably apply for an internship with international designers I admire halfway through the year; I feel overseas is calling,” he said.
“A lot of boys and girls finish the year and take time off but I don’t want that. I want to keep pushing through.”
Gautam’s designs are featured in the slideshow; the patterned silk dress I am wearing is one of his designs that ended up selling on the night.
“The chaotic and beautiful universe inspired the dress and the shape,” Gautam said.
One of Gautam’s fellow students at Central TAFE, Emily Van Veen, would have loved to have moved over east to study, but says it just didn’t fit into her plans.
“I would certainly love to further my experience in Sydney – the hub of decision making … especially because a lot of our Australian designers are situated over east too,” she explained.
In the slideshow, Emily’s design is featured as the holey dark jacket and burnt orange skirt.
“Textiles are where my passion lies,” she said.
“I’d love to go back to Sydney and spend some more time interning or better still get into a textile designer and work with developing textiles – or alternately designing textiles myself.”
Melbourne’s where it’s at
Kelly Gamble is one of my heroes who made the move to Melbourne’s School of Fashion to do her Certificate IV in Fashion Business and Retail Management.
At a young 19, Kelly said she was very lucky in that her parents were interested in moving over with her for her father’s work.
“I always knew I wanted to study fashion in Melbourne, so it worked out perfectly for me that my parents wanted to move too.
“I definitely would have moved anyway though, just not so soon!”
While the question will linger around most of Perth’s young adults minds, in the meantime head down to the Showcase Gallery at 12 Aberdeen St, Northbridge to support our talented young designers. You can also check out Garth Cook’s collection at Wasteland on Kings Street, Perth.