Landing that Dream Job in Fashion
Penny Lim has loved garment making since she was a little girl. She couldn’t believe her luck when she found out about a course in fashion that was being offered jointly by TAFE SA and Flinders University in her home state of Adelaide. “I jumped straight on board and here we are!” says the enthusiastic Lim, who graduated in 2017.
A fresh graduate, Penny is incredibly positive about how much she enjoyed the course, how much she learnt and how proud she is of her graduating class. “Our final runway was the highlight of the three year degree. It felt so surreal to see your creations walk down the runway and I will admit that I teared up a little while watching my couture designs close the show. I was so proud of my entire year level. We had all come so far and I knew we would all be doing great things when we graduated! “
Positive, Qualified and Confident
Ever positive, Penny immediately landed a full time job in retail fashion after graduating. She attributes being employed so quickly to her confidence in taking responsibility and the technical skills, such as learning how to use Adobe, that she acquired in her course. Penny thrived in her new job, enjoying going to work every day.
Within a year, Penny discovered Two Sisters the Label on Instagram. She loved the label’s aesthetic and quickly became an enthusiastic follower. It was while watching Two Sister’s Instagram feed that she saw that they were recruiting.
“It’s actually really scary how I came about to work at Two Sisters! I absolutely loved their design aesthetic and felt like it suited mine and their office was just down the road from where my partner works. Only a few days beforehand, I’d been talking about the label with friends and family saying how much I’d love to work for them. Not long after, I was running through their Instagram page and saw that they were looking for a fashion design intern! I could not believe my eyes. This was an opportunity I could not miss. I was looking for a full time role but wasn’t sure if they wanted a full time fashion designer. I took my chances, applied and was interviewed. Going into the interview, I was confident as I knew I was qualified for the role.
Intern to Assistant Fashion Designer
They loved my work and offered me an intern role for one day a week and this would be my probation period. I worked hard for two months and I was recently offered a full time contract as Assistant Fashion Designer.
That means, within 9 months of graduating, Penny actually gets to create designs for the label, every day. It’s a constant process to keep up with all the latest trends. Being fluent in Mandarin is also an advantage as there’s a lot of direct communication with Two Sisters’ manufacturers who are based in China.
A Day in the Life
“My work day starts at 9.30am and finishes at 6pm There is no traffic to and from work, it’s amazing! I come in, grab a drink and I will be looking on websites like Vogue, Moda Operandi, Pinterest and browse labels looking for inspiration. Once I feel like I have enough inspo, I start looking through some fabrics that our manufacturer has sent to us and I will start designing.
I usually have a late lunch (it’s a Malaysian thing) and I’m back into designing. Because we are still a small business, I will occasionally be doing some graphic design work for Two Sisters as well. I am so thankful that we were taught how to use Adobe Suite at Uni!“
Penny’s favourite thing at work is watch her samples arrive. “You start off with a piece of paper with your design on it and to see it come to life is the most satisfying thing ever. None of my designs have gone live on the website yet, but I think I would be pretty happy with myself if at least one of my designs sold well online! “
There is no doubt at all in the new designer’s mind about the skill set needed to land her job as a fashion designer. She is effusive.
“The Bachelor of Creative Arts in Fashion is a degree that teaches you so many skills that you won’t know what to do with them once you’ve graduated. I not only know how to sew and pattern make, I also know how to do tech packs for manufacturing. I’ve learnt a wide range of business skills and have experience in running photoshoots and creating range books. Most importantly, I learnt how to use Adobe illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to an intermediate level. All of these skills are essential to my job right now.”