A Who’s Who of Adelaide Fashion Designers
If fashion had a hall of fame for trailblazers, there are many from Adelaide we could add to the list. So many of the alumni graduating from TAFE SA’s school of fashion have found a place in the industry either under their own names, or working for some very well known brands. Having either graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising from TAFE SA, or with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts (Fashion) delivered in partnership with Flinders University, here are some of Adelaide’s fashion designers who are blazing a trail!
Josephine-Rose Arganese – Josephine-Rose
Josephine-Rose Arganese launched her own eponymous label in 2020, soon after graduating from her Bachelor’s degree course in fashion. Quirky, bold and colourful prints define her brand and her second collection is dropping just this month. With all her garments designed, produced and made in South Australia, Josephine-Rose uses a made-to-order business model that defines her label as a slow fashion brand and an ethical, low-waste business.
Amy Bower – The Holiday Collective
Working for multiple brands under the Holiday Trading Co, Amy gets to do so much more than designing. Thriving on the fast-paced environment where every day is a new and exciting challenge to conquer, Amy loves working for a company driven mostly by women. While it was always in her plans to start her own label immediately after graduating, she realised that the most valuable thing she could do was to get a job with an established label and learn as much as possible, and now “wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Emma Cherry –The Holiday Collective
Emma absolutely loves her work as Senior Designer/Brand Manager for Brave+True. Trend forecasting, designing and curating quarterly collections, shooting and directing campaigns and mentoring juniors are all part of the everyday tasks that she “loves… from start to finish”. Emma always planned and dreamed of working in fashion. “Anything creative is where I need to be.”
Adrian Costanzo – Prada
Adrian Costanzo has carved out a career in men’s fashion, as Prada’s made-to-measure man in Milan. Adrian takes charge of measurements and styling made-to-measure customers. His role involves producing custom made men’s clothes from scratch, from all the endless possibilities, styles and fabrics. Often meeting clients in the privacy of their own homes, his work involves frequent travel to Japan, China, New York, the Middle East and most of Europe.
Molly Ellis – The Wolf Gang
Wholesale and Production Coordinator for The Wolf Gang, Molly loves her job. Like many in fashion, Molly is constantly multi-tasking. She liaises with suppliers and is responsible for overseeing garment production from start to finish. This includes initial design, tech pack creation, sample garment fitting, placing production orders, and more. “I love absolutely everything about my job. The clothing I get to help produce is so my style…I enjoy every second of what I do.”
Scott Faulder – Journey Beyond
Now working as Retail Designer with Journey Beyond, Scott was previously the Designer and then Head of Global Product Development at R.M. Williams. In fact there isn’t much Scott hasn’t done in the relatively short time since graduating from TAFE SA. With his own successful label now taking a backseat due only to his current commitments that include sitting on the Board of the SA Fashion Industries Association, Scott is also THE designer for all things Drag in South Australia
Kat Hill – R.M. Williams
Kat enjoys “every moment of her fashion career so far”. Working at R.M. Williams as a Junior Product Developer and Sample Coordinator, Kat’s time is spent creating tech packs, fit garments, wash tests, communicating with suppliers and managing agent samples. For Kat, getting a job in the industry straight out of fashion school with a business that’s a house-hold name was a definite “pinch me” moment! “I love that my work involves using my practical and analytical skills and my creative side.”
Tina Kalivas has emerged as an international costume designer, producing designs for the National Greek Opera and a number of Hollywood movies, including Operation Fortune and Bond movie Die Another Day. She has created outfits for a string of stars, including Amy Winehouse, Bill Nighy and most recently, Rihanna.
Martina Langmead – Acler & Significant Other
After working for local label Criss Cross, Martina landed a job in London with French Connection before she eventually returned to Adelaide as Production/Technical Manager for Acler and Significant Other. Together with her “amazing team” she oversees quality standards for both brands. She’s responsible for production timelines and deliveries and the relationships with supply chains. Martina’s met some incredible people in her professional journey and sums it up when she says: “I love working in fashion because it’s always evolving. It’s a dynamic industry and I love being amongst creative people.”
Tilly Leighton- The Holiday Collective
Her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts (Fashion) set her up “extremely well”. Tilly took up a job with Holiday Trading Co straight after her graduation parade and is now the Head Designer for two brands, Talisman and Holiday. The variety keeps her busy and she never gets bored. “It still blows me away to think that something that started as one of my little drawings ended up as a physical product in a store. It’s even cooler to see my friends are wearing it! I also love the travel aspect. It has always been a dream of mine to travel the world doing a job that I loved – and now it’s a reality!”
Penny Lim – Ara Experience
After starting her working life with a local women’s label, Penny started Ara Experience, a bridal label that produces couture gowns in the shortest time. Penny has introduced a modular system of design which is proving incredibly popular. Apart from her Gilles St store in Adelaide, she’s already opened a second store for fittings in NSW in Botany St, Alexandria, and there’s a good chance of even wider interstate expansion coming soon.
Sophia McMahon- autark
Since 2016, Sophia’s slow fashion label autark, has been leading the way in the sustainable fashion movement. A finalist in the National Designer Awards in 2021, autark has featured on runways at Australian Fashion Week, the Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne Fashion Week and the Adelaide Fashion Festival. Now in residence at Fashion Est in North Adelaide, autark’s ethos means that all pieces are made locally, from 100% natural fibres.
Rio Mignone – Australian Fashion Labels
Assistant Designer at Finders Keepers, Rio Mignone was lucky enough to land a job straight out of TAFE SA/Flinders University Bachelor of Creative Arts Fashion where she had graduated as the HomeStart Outstanding Fashion Graduate for 2020. Rio works on four collections a year. It’s her dream job. “I’ve always been passionate about design and loved the idea of working for a large company where I have the opportunity to learn from others.”
Patricia Pantelios – Peloponnese The Label
Turning her back on her successful career in finance, Patricia headed back to Adelaide specifically to enrol in TAFE SA/Flinders Uni to study fashion. A recent graduate, she’s now living the dream having launched Peloponnese The Label which caters from sizes 6-26 and specialises in making plus size, curvy women feel amazing. Her slow fashion designs wowed the crowd at The Black Dress, SA Fashion Weekend and Cairns Fashion Week runways and are stocked at Fashion Est in North Adelaide.
Jacqueline Pirgousis – P.E Nation
After a short stint in retail that followed her graduation with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts (Fashion), Jacqueline Pirgousis landed her dream job in Sydney with P.E Nation. Working in Product Development for the iconic brand, her job involves following the garment through each stage of its development from initial design, right through to the finished product. It’s about attention to detail and quality control and it’s work that she loves.
Özlem Polat- R.M. Williams
Ozlem previously worked as a Textile Engineer overseas before re-qualifying with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts (Fashion) and now works as a Material Developer at R.M. Williams. Her role involves collaborating with the design team while sourcing and purchasing fabrics each season and managing relationships with long-term suppliers. She’s heavily involved in sourcing sustainable fabrics to mitigate the brand’s impact on the environment, something she’s passionate about. A favourite part of her work is watching raw materials transform into finished garments
Abby Potter – House of Campbell
Along with lecturing in fashion at TAFE SA, Abby is the creative force behind House of Campbell, which presented in Tranoi, official partner of Paris Fashion Week last year, having already been a veteran of the runway at New York Fashion Week. After graduating, Abby started her career at Australian Fashion Labels that included a 6 month stint in China. With so much work experience behind her, House of Campbell is fast becoming recognised for its quality tailoring and fashion forward artisan designs.
Julia Ritorto – Acler & Significant Other
One half of the successful duo behind international labels Acler and Significant Other, Julia’s first foray into fashion after graduating was with Australian label Pilgrim clothing where she became head designer. Following a stint with Style Stalker in the USA, Julia returned home to launch Acler and more recently Significant Other. One of South Australia’s biggest success stories, Acler recently launched its bridal and jewellery ranges at Australian Fashion Week.
Greta Rumsby – GretaKate
Greta Kate bridal and couture designs have been a thing in Adelaide ever since Greta Rumsby started her label straight out of studying in the Diploma of Fashion course at TAFE SA. Greta could hardly wait to start her own label, but first ventured out for a few years to get more experience. Evolving into bridal wear, GretaKate is now a much loved bridal brand in SA and Greta loves being part of such an important day for most women. “I love getting to know my brides and making their gown dreams come true!”
Cristina Tridente – Couture Love + Madness
Having completed an Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design and Technology, Cristina is now based in her Norwood Parade boutique where her clients range from celebrities, brides-to- be and mothers-of-the-bride-(and-groom), Cristina’s couture label has become one of the best known and most popular in Adelaide. When she’s not working around the clock in her exclusive but welcoming premises, she’s busy supporting other SA Designers and sits on the Board of the South Australian Fashion Industries Association, an organisation she founded.
Julie White – Julie White
Australian artist and textile designer Julie White produces art fashion accessories. Her popular patterns and designs in bold colours are based on contemporary Australiana. From socks to scarves, gift boxes and art prints, Julie has built a business that goes beyond fashion. Julie has always loved being her own boss and with a growing family, she’s forged a career that allows her to maintain her independence.
Brian Yambao – Acler & Significant Other
Working as Design Technician at Acler and Significant Other was an opportunity that Brian just couldn’t say no to, having enjoyed a wonderful stint at Holiday Trading Co before that. The hands-on aspect of his role is something he enjoys most, interpreting design concepts and sketches and translating them into actual garments through hand draping and calico mock-ups. “It’s problem solving which is the crux of good design.”
Featured Image courtesy of Adelaide label: @thewolfgang
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