The future of Adelaide fashion with TAFE SA

Adelaide’s emerging fashion scene is good enough to rival even the most prestigious design institutions around the country, and TAFE SA are responsible for fostering a lot of this creative talent.

Third-year fashion student Rachel Van Brussel is a prime example of the quality of work coming out of this field, having recently won a prize at the highly respected Sheepvention and is now working towards her graduate collection.

Currently on the path to finishing her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) degree, which is delivered in partnership with Flinders University, Rachel says that she always had a keen eye for fashion and design but it wasn’t until she spent some time in Milan that it became clear that it was the career path for her.

“It was [in Milan] that I completely fell in love with the fashion industry and became completely obsessed with the idea of being a designer and launching my own label,” she says.

“This led me to apply at Flinders University and TAFE SA and the rest is history.”

Rachel says that she’s learned invaluable practical skills during her time at TAFE SA, ones that she’ll be able to apply to her future fashion career.

“Well considering prior to my degree I had never used a sewing machine in my life and drafting a pattern was a complete other language, it has been a steep learning journey,” she laughs. She credits the industry professionals that the students have access to both in teaching and mentoring roles for her own passion for the industry.

“[They] are all so deeply invested in making sure that we succeed and this has been such a blessing…I honestly couldn’t have arrived at this point without them.”

During her degree, she’s also had the opportunity to showcase her designs at the Adelaide Fashion Festival and to study overseas in Italy and China.

While she says it’s hard to narrow down the best part, Rachel says the most rewarding aspect of the degree is seeing her designs transform from sketches into real life. Which is something that has recently won her first prize in the Sports/Streetwear category in Sheepvention’s Australasian Young Designer Wool Awards.

After a lengthy design process inspired by the concept of fabric manipulation, texture, layering and having to use a predominant base of wool as the main fibre, she created a blouse, overalls and a jacket which required copious amounts of time and application of the technical skill she learned.

“Although this was a tedious and highly time consuming process, working with such a beautiful natural fibre was a pleasure and created everything I anticipated and more.”

My ultimate long-term goal though is to develop and launch my own label with a focus on ‘slow’ fashion and accessories.

As for what’s next for the young designer, Rachel says she’s currently busy working on her collection for the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) Graduate Parade. Titled ‘Portico’, she says she has drawn inspiration from her recent travels to Tokyo and the Harajuku district in particular.

“I really fell in love with the subtle nuances of Japanese streetwear and how the concept of tradition so seamlessly fuses with modernity.”

“My ultimate long-term goal though is to develop and launch my own label with a focus on ‘slow’ fashion and accessories,” Rachel says on what she wants to be doing after graduation.

“[But] in the short term I would love to work under a label as a designer…It would be amazing to work for a label who practices more of a slow fashion approach as I am really passionate about sustainability and natural fibres.”

She says it’s also a goal to spend time working interstate or overseas to expand her portfolio and skills as a designer and learn different perspectives within the fashion industry.

TAFE SA applications are now open! For more information visit: tafesa.edu.au/fashion or phone 1800 882 661

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Photography by Georgina Solomon
Content brought to you by TaFE SA

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