Meet the rising stars of fashion. From accessories design to active wear, bridal, couture and luxury labels, here are eight talented South Australians who are carving their name in fashion design via their own labels or working for well-known Australian fashion houses. All TAFE SA graduates, our rising stars share what a day at their work looks like and what they love most about what they do.
Tiffany Stuckey – MILLICENT ELIZABETH
Since finishing TAFE in 2015, Tiffany has established the luxury women’s wear label Millicent Elizabeth, which has grown internationally since first appearing in the Adelaide Fashion Festival in 2014 and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2015. Millicent Elizabeth now has clients from all over the globe including the UK, USA, Singapore, and across Australia. Tiffany also acts as a mentor to emerging designers through the Textile Fashion Council of Australia’s mentorship program.
The joys of having your own business and fashion label is that no two days are the same the role is quite varied from designing, runway shows, photo shoots, look books, attending events, appointments with clients, managing staff, packing orders, sourcing fabric, pattern making, viewings. It just depends where you are in the season what your schedule looks like, what the focus is.
I get to meet the most amazing women in this role and the most fulfilling part is making women feel good in their own skin. Making them feel empowered to tackle their day with confidence.
Sophia McMahon – AUTARK
While at TAFE SA I always knew that I wanted to start my own label as soon as I could. I had learned a lot about different aspects of the fashion industry through my study, and really my learning has just continued since I have been running my own business, Autark, after graduating. I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible experiences already, like showing at the Adelaide Fashion Festival, launching my online store, and taking part in some fantastic collaborations with people who I really look up to. I’m also proud of the fact that I have kept all production local to Adelaide, and I look forward to building more sustainable practices and materials into the business as it grows. It’s been a busy and incredible time!
The most fulfilling part of running Autark is absolutely seeing people identifying with, enjoying and living their life in something I have designed; it’s an incredibly addictive feeling.
Greta Rumsby – GRETAKATE
Since leaving TAFE SA in 2009 and working in the industry for a couple of years, I started my own fashion label, GretaKate. I play a lot of roles in my business from consulting clients and designing, to fittings, patterns and sewing. We are a small team and I oversee everything- I’m a bit of a control freak!
No day is ever the same and that is one thing I really love about running my own business. The most fulfilling part of my job is making brides-to-be feel amazing on their wedding day. I love getting to know my brides and making their gown dreams come true!
Every day is a mixed bag and no two days are the same! – I juggle my working hours between managing incoming orders from the online shop and stockists, general admin tasks and dreaming up new prints on an ongoing basis. I produce one main print story per year and injection products in between. Mostly I produce prints for my evolving accessories line but I also collaborate with other brands. More planned for 2018 so stay tuned!
Being your own boss allows you to make your own rules. It forces you to be on the ball, and there’s never a reason to be bored.
Jessica Salvi – RYDERWEAR
I am currently working as Fashion Director at Ryderwear, a South Australian activewear brand for gym goers. I began as the company’s only designer. As the company has grown, we have hired another designer and I have now been promoted to Fashion Director. My main responsibilites include trend forecasting, design development, production and photoshoot coordination, e-visual merchandising/graphic designing, customer experience and PR/marketing.
An average day for me can be doing one to all of the above things. I work fairly independently but also have an assistant designer. Sondra handles a lot of the design development while I deal with production as that takes a lot of time and concentration. Ninety percent of my day is going back and forth with our three international factories while juggling all other areas of my role.
My favourite part of my job is seeing a whole collection come together at the end of the design development stage. In my office, I have one wall that has every month of the year with the corresponding collection underneath. Finally seeing all the final collections for the full year ahead is super exciting because you can see that there will be so much variety to come! Another aspect I love about working in activewear means not only am I making something that someone thinks they will look good in, but also something that is going to inspire someone to make themselves, their lifestyle, diet or whatever it might be, better. It’s amazing to know that your clothes can be the motivation a person needs to get out of bed in the morning and take the first step!
Brooke Wise – C/MEO COLLECTIVE
A day in my working life at C/Meo Collective as junior assistant designer is filled will a million different tasks! We are always working on sketching up designs and building new ideas designs for upcoming ranges. We do 11 collections a year so we are always super busy and working at a fast pace!
What I love and find most fulfilling about what we do is when new samples come into the office. Seeing our combined ideas and hard work suddenly in front of us as a real life, tangible piece is something we always enjoy! It is such an exciting process seeing something come from a sketch into a garment a C/meo Collective girl can wear!
Isabella Sykes – TIFF MANUEL
I’ve been working at Tiff’s for about 5 years now since I started doing my degree at TAFE SA and Flinders University. People often comment on the amount of colour we’re surrounded by and it does make a huge difference having such a lovely, bright place of work. The only downside is I have ruined a few pieces of clothing by getting splashes of hot pink or mint green on them.
Cristina Tridente – Couture+Love+Madness
Cristina Tridente travels overseas annually to select all her fabrics for her bespoke pieces ensuring individuality and the highest quality for every garment. Having studied an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE SA, each piece is hand-crafted by Cristina from her South Australian studio with fabrics sourced from around the globe including Italy, France, India and Asia.
There are a lot of firsts in Cristina’s career since she graduated from TAFE SA with an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology. Cristina’s couture+love+madness label was the first ever Australian label to be invited to showcase at the Qingdao International Fashion Festival in 2015 and was invited back to stage a solo show at the 2016 festival. Last year, Cristina was the only Aussie to be accepted into the prestigious international design school Central Saint Martins in London for the Advanced Fashion Summer School.
couture+love+madness pieces have been worn in America and Europe by Keltie Knight (Entertainment Tonight) and more recently, by Dannii Minogue for her Loreal Hair Campaign and Lucy Durack for Carols in the Domain. Cristina’s latest collection, Les Fleurs, was inspired by Paris in the spring time and was shot in iconic locations around Paris including Pont Alexandre II, Gardens of Versailles and Trocadero.
Each day I get up early and go for a quick beach walk to clear my mind. I then make a list of everything I need to do that day before I get started. Each day is different. Some days I work really late. Most nights I have clients come so each day is quite different.
I love seeing the look on clients’ faces when their outfit is complete. It’s such a personal process where I work with them from the design right through to the fabric choices to ensure their garment captures their personality. It’s a real collaborative process!