Inside the Collection

Making it: 20 years of Student Fashion

Photograph of model in white outfit
Photo by Tomy K C Leung, Hair: Daniel Yang, Makeup: Kristina Milisavljevic, Model: Sandra Janssen @ The Agency Models.

2013 is an important year for the Museum. Not only are we celebrating our 25th birthday, but we’re also celebrating 20 years of Student Fashion.

The Student Fashion display has been held annually at the Powerhouse Museum since 1993. Initially established as The Student Fashion Awards exhibition, it included outfits drawn from a wide range of industry sponsored fashion design competitions submitted by students from all over Australia. In 2002, this format changed to a smaller display of 6-8 outfits showcasing the work of the top students from each of Sydney’s four fashion design schools – The Whitehouse Institute of Design, The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), The Fashion Design Studio (FDS), Sydney TAFE and Raffles College of Design and Commerce.

Photograph of 'Goth Innocence'
‘Goth Innocence’ by Toni Maticevski on display at the Powerhouse Museum

Since 1993, the exhibition has featured the work of around 142 students, many of whom have gone on to outstanding careers in fashion. A selection of eight of these (recommended to us by the teachers at each of the respective schools) are featured in the exhibition with 1-2 outfits from their latest collections. Among these include Prue Rainey and Lauren Vieyra, Whitehouse Graduates who both now design for Cue; Timo Rissanen and Alana Clifton-Cunningham, UTS graduates who have both gone onto careers in academia (Timo is Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability at Parsons in New York and Alana is a Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles at UTS), as well as Toni Maticevski, RMIT graduate; Dion Lee and Micaela Ezra, FDS graduates; and Gabriel Lee, Raffles graduate who have gone on to create their own very successful self-named labels.

Photograph of model in blue gown
Photos by Brian Low Chin Zhi, CZ Photography
Makeup by Yen Xin

Also featured in Making It are the most recent top fashion design graduates from 2012 – Ryan Samways of Whitehouse, Kathleen Choo of UTS, Inder Dhillon of The Fashion Design Studio and Andriana Jacky of Raffles. Two outfits are showcased in the exhibition from each of these designers, including some very edgy, yet sophisticated, menswear by Ryan Samways, a seam free laser cut industrial wool felt dress by Kathleen Choo, a glomesh evening dress inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting Water Snakes II by Inder Dhillon and a magnified rose petal print outfit by Andriana Jacky (above).

Student Fashion is showing at the Powerhouse Museum from March 8 until early August, 2013.

Melanie Pitkin, Assistant curator, design and society

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