Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Holiday Fashion Designers

The Fashion Designers at Holiday Trading and Co Collective

The crew from Cocktail Revolution went behind the scenes at Australian fashion house Holiday Trading and Co Collective to meet the close-knit team of fashion designers behind its hugely popular labels.  We start with the newest member of the team Brian Yambao…

He had already completed internships at well-known international women’s fashion labels. If he was feeling a little nervous when he turned up for his first day of full time paid work at Holiday Trading and Co Collective, he needn’t have worried. Brian Yambao already knew he would be working with fellow TAFE SA fashion graduate Ali Ancel. But when he arrived at work that first Monday at a beautiful whitewashed, repurposed house in busy Port Road, he was in for another surprise of the nicest kind. It wasn’t just Ali with whom he’d be working. It turned out that all his co-workers, in what has become a tight-knit team, were also fellow graduates of TAFE SA’s school of fashion design.

Brian, together with Ali, Tilly Leighton and Heather Palmer-Green each completed their courses and started working at Holiday Trading at different times.  But they say having come from the same design school means they all “speak the same language”, making life easier when it comes to their design work.Holiday Trading Co.

Holiday Trading Collective and Co started 10 years ago in the picturesque seaside town of Robe, South Australia. Since that time, the company has expanded from homewares and textiles into a stable of resort wear brands.  There’s The Shanty Corporation, Talisman, Brave & True, Daisy Says, True North, Señorita and a Holiday jewellery range.

Working at Holiday and Co Trading Co

With each label producing four collections a year, this tight-knit quartet of fashion designers has their work cut out for them.  It’s an exciting stretch going from producing your graduate collection over a year, to designing and developing four collections for each of seven labels every year.  It’s been an exciting transition and we asked this awesome foursome to tell us more about working together as Design Assistants and Garment Technicians.

Ali Ancell

Ali Ancel

What’s the best thing about working at Holiday?

My favourite thing about working at Holiday is our team. It feels like a little family.  We all get along really well which creates such a fantastic work environment. Also, I love that we get the opportunity to work across many roles within the company. Due to being smaller, we don’t get pigeon-holed into one specific job. We work across many roles in Design and Production.

In what ways did your course prepare you for your day-to-day work in the role?

To be able to do our job you really need to have an understanding about how to construct garments and how to create patterns. This is definitely something I learnt a lot about at  TAFE SA. It’s a very hands-on course and the knowledge I have gained has supported me immensely in ensuring the designs we come up with are going to be functional, knowing what fabrics will work best and how to fix fit issues that we might come across.

What have you learned about working in a close-knit team since starting your role at Holiday?

Working in a close-knit team has been fantastic, although relatively new as Tilly and Brian have only recently joined us this year. We all have our strengths in different areas so it’s great to bounce ideas off each other when problem-solving, whether it be technical advice with fit issues, design construction or wash care/ fabric issues. It’s important that we discuss things as a team and open ourselves up to other opinions and ways to achieve the best result with our work.

 Heather Palmer-Green

Heather Green
Describe your role and what you do.

Like the others in our team, we all create trade sketches, work on spec sheets and fits. I also manage our parcels that are coming or going from overseas and organizing the finishing touches for garments, homewares and accessories that are currently in production.

Is there something you learned from your studies that you find yourself using a lot in your current role?

Yes, definitely! I find that the use of computer software such as Adobe Illustrator skills has helped immensely.

What has surprised you about working in the industry?

Here at Holiday, each day is never the same and is always surprising. One day you could be working on specs and fits to ensure that everything is perfect for production and the next day you could be preparing to send our gorgeous range to one of our overseas clients.

What have you learned about working in a close-knit team since starting your role at Holiday?

I’ve learnt to never underestimate the power of communication. We must always ensure to keep each other in the loop so that we know exactly where we are, depending on the task at hand.

Tilly Leighton

Tilly Leighton Holiday Fashion

How would you describe your role and what you do?

My official job title is Design & Productions Assistant. However, within our design team, we don’t really have one specific role. We all work together to take on every aspect of the production process. In saying this, to make things flow more easily, we each have areas we are stronger at. I’m mainly responsible for adapting designs and creating new drawings. This process usually begins with an inspiration image or garment, and I then draw up a new design from there.

Is there something you learnt in your course that you find essential in your current role?

We did a lot of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) throughout the course at TAFE SA which really prepared me for this role. It’s crucial to be able to accurately draw technical sketches of garments in order to communicate the design features to our manufacturers overseas. I remember how slow I used to be at drawing in Illustrator – I hated it! Never did I think it would become my day-to-day job.

Has anything surprised you about working in the industry?

 I’m still blown away by the turn-around time for garment production. I drew a pair of shorts on a Monday, sent the tech pack off to India, and had a proto sample back in my hands by the end of the week! Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my online shopping to arrive from Sydney…

Which aspect of your work do you find the most rewarding?

I think the most rewarding thing is seeing our designs on a coat hanger in stores! There’s a little boutique in my town that stocks our brands so I often see people I know wearing our garments. To think that a design initially started as a technical sketch on my laptop, it’s pretty rewarding to see the “real deal” in context and thinking hey I designed that.

Brian Yambao

Brian Yambao at Holiday Fashion

How well did your course prepare you for your day-to-day work at Holiday Trading and Co Collective?

Definitely the technical know-how I gained from the course, in terms of pattern making and grading, garment construction, and fitting is crucial to the work we do as garment technicians. The course was effective in giving us the knowledge and technical skills, while the lecturers have instilled in us good work habits.

We may not openly admit it, but there’s always some lecturer’s voice inside your head that tells you if something is technically sound or if it’s a good idea or not. I’ve also done internships at local labels and had previous technical experience at a local apparel manufacturer (a job I started while in my second year of studies) before I joined Holiday. It’s that combination of study and industry experience that really hones your skills.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Our days really vary and there are a lot of different things that we do on any given day.  That’s one of the things I enjoy about our work. One moment we could be drawing designs and the next minute, we would be working on the actual garments, and then we could also be dealing with production issues. It’s a very hands-on role and it’s great fun working with the rest of the team. The variety keeps it interesting and certainly keeps us on our toes. I’ve also been fortunate enough to go on overseas trips to help with sourcing and development and also with production meetings with our suppliers. It’s been an adventure!

Has anything surprised you about working in the industry?

It wasn’t really a surprise, but sometimes it just hits you how broad the industry really is and how much work goes into everything. There’s also still a lot of learning and growing involved for sure. It may surprise other people, but working in fashion isn’t as frivolous nor as glamorous as they may think!

Holiday Trading Co
Brian, Tilly, Heather and Ali are all wearing clothing from Holiday Trading and Co Collective.

To read more about South Australian fashion designers, check out The Rising Stars of Fashion 

and Adelaide Fashion Designers Blazing a Trail

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