New Course About
the Business of Fashion
For those wanting to work in fashion but not in sewing or pattern making, there’s a new course being offered by TAFE SA that’s all about the business of fashion. There won’t be a needle or sewing machine in sight!
Have you always wanted to be a fashion buyer but had no idea where to start? Or dreamed about running your favourite brand’s Instagram account but know you’ll need more than sass before you get a foot in the door? A new 18 month course, the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (Fashion Business) will be right up your alley. It provides skills that lead into a broader choice of jobs in fashion including those that are experiencing huge growth.
Traditionally, jobs in production, design and development are areas that are almost impossible to break into without a few years of experience. That also applies to styling, visual merchandising, sales and marketing, sustainability and innovation.
TAFE SA graduates who are now working in the business side of fashion and who are all relishing their work, agree. The new course would likely have provided a smoother and more direct entry into the areas of the fashion industry in which they are now thriving. While they learnt so much about designing, pattern making and costume construction in their course, they now find themselves working in the “other” (business) side of the game that’s well covered by the new course.
Jacqueline Pirgousis – PE Nation
Jacqueline Pirgousis qualified with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) degree in 2018 but she’s working in a role that’s more aligned with the new business fashion course. She’s about to move into the Product Developer role at PE Nation where she’s worked for 18 months. 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.
She had planned to work as a buyer, but feels that her current role gives her “the best of both sides” of the fashion business. Starting off in retail Jacqueline then took the leap and moved from Adelaide to Sydney, where she could hardly believe her luck in landing a dream role with such an iconic brand. It was the right decision, she says, to move interstate, without even knowing anyone in Sydney. She’s enjoying success in her chosen career and loves working with such a highly skilled and experienced team.
However, Jacqueline also says that “learning more about quality control (offered in the new course) would have been beneficial in preparing me to work in bulk production for a wider market. Having this skill set is more attractive to businesses that are producing off shore as you need to have a level of communication which is concise but ensures the quality standards are clearly understood by the supplier.”
Kat Hill – R.M. Williams
Graduating earlier this year with the Lecturer’s Choice Award in the Bachelor of Creative Arts in Fashion, Kat Hill is “enjoying every moment of her fashion career so far”. She’s working at R.M. Williams in merchandising and sample coordination.
Kat’s time is spent analysing historical data, market research and trends. As Sample Coordinator, she also has to make sure the right samples are at the right place at the right time. Her work is about as far away from her training in garment construction as you could imagine. But 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. I’m also very lucky to work with great people who are happy to share their knowledge.”
While it was not exactly part of Kat’s career plan to become a Merchandise Assistant, she believes her training still helped prepare her well for the role. “Now that I am here, I love it and can see how this position will help me become a better designer, a role I hope to pursue in years to come.”
Molly Ellis – The Wolf Gang
Wholesale and Production Coordinator and Head of PR for The Wolf Gang, Molly Ellis loves her job.
Like many in fashion, Molly is constantly multi-tasking. She liaises with wholesalers and is responsible for producing all the label’s Lookbooks and Linesheets. Molly also helps in approving and sourcing fabric swatches and overseeing the production of garments from start to finish. On top of all this, her PR role sees her working closely with influencers and marketing specialists.
“I love absolutely everything about my job. The clothing I get to help produce is so my style, making work always very fun! And I enjoy every second of what I do.
While Molly was unsure of her career path after finishing her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) degree she’s glad about where she is now in her career. It’s allowing her to learn so much about the industry and “incredible for my knowledge and understanding of the business of fashion.”
Rio Mignone – Australian Fashion Labels
Design coordinator for C/MEO COLLECTIVE and Finders Keepers, Rio Mignone was lucky enough to land the job straight out of fashion school where she had graduated as the HomeStart Outstanding Fashion Graduate for 2020. Rio works closely with the head designer and assistant designer to develop and produce four collections a year. Her work involves trend forecasting, inspiration sourcing, developing concepts, prints and embroidery, and working with off-shore suppliers to produce samples.
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.”