While finishing up her studies in fashion at TAFE SA, Rebecca Cristea was lucky enough to be offered a job at Adelaide’s own Australian Fashion Labels. During her first six months here, Rebecca worked as a Junior Garment/Wash Care Technician, building up her knowledge of fabrics and familiarising herself with AFL’s labels: Finders Keepers, C/MEO COLLECTIVE, Keepsake, The Fifth and Jaggar. Fast forward six months, and she was offered a position on the Finders Keepers design team, where she’s now been working for 2 months.
We caught up with Rebecca to discuss her career and to find out what exactly a day at Australian Fashion Labels looks like.
Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in the fashion industry but what I knew for certain was that I needed to be a part of it! I have been infatuated with fashion for as long as I can remember. I would constantly find myself looking at clothing and thinking of ways to improve designs by making alterations and adjustments, so it only seemed fit for me to head down the path of being a designer.
Can you tell me a bit about your role as a designer at Finders Keepers?
Australian Fashion Labels is very fast paced, so each day is quite different as we juggle multiple tasks at once. A day in our lives can be so different from the next as we tackle deadlines and push to meet our goals. On any given day we could be: preparing for a photo shoot, searching through trend reports, designing and sketching up another range, creating a tech pack – which is basically a “how to” on how we would like styles to be made – for each style, fittings with our garment technician once we receive styles from our factories to ensure they are meeting our standards, constant back and forth communication with our factories to ensure everything is running as smoothly as possible, and so much more that I couldn’t possibly go through without going on for paragraphs!
What’s your favourite aspect of working at Australian Fashion Labels?
I would have to say being a part of the Finders team is my favourite part. The team inspire me daily to push and challenge myself as a designer. I believe creating an environment that is as stress free as possible in our line of work is very important as there are always pressures. So, I am very grateful for the hilarious personalities behind the Finders Keepers brand that keep everything moving along.
How has studying at TAFE helped you to get to where you are now?
TAFE has helped me to be the designer that I am today by preparing me in all aspects of the industry. Without TAFE, and all the wonderful lecturers, I wouldn’t have the knowledge of how a garment is constructed from start to finish, what fabrics best suit a design, how to use [Adobe] Illustrator and sketch up trade drawings, how to create a tech pack and so much more. I think this is all essential to know when it comes to being a designer because it challenges you to take a step back and think about how a design could become a reality, and if it’s even possible/practical.
What was the most important thing you learnt at TAFE that has stuck with you?
I learnt to not give up if something went horribly wrong with a design and instead look for the solution. The lecturers were always so happy to help when the stress became too much and I would watch how they would problem solve quickly and waste little time by doing so – by all means if you need to have a little cry, go ahead and do so but get back up and keep going because you’ll regret it if you don’t. This lesson has helped me greatly not only in my career but in life.
What’s next for your design journey?
At the moment, I am feeling so blessed to be working within the Finders Keepers team and am looking forward to further progressing within the company.
I have always been fascinated with how others live and interpret fashion so I’m also looking forward to travelling in the near future and gaining more inspiration for designs.