Fashion CAD Lab
The Applied Fashion and Design Technology Course
While some pure fashion students have the dream to have their own collections and eventually brands of their own, students in this course are working towards working in the multi-million dollar industry that already exists. This is an applied course and as such students are gaining the skills to work in this industry. Potential career paths are production manager, senior pattern maker, specification technicians and the new roles that have developed after relatively recent changes in the way clothes are produced globally. Now, in Australia, and in many of the well known global brands, clothes are designed, prototyped, trialed, tested and re-tested in Australia (and the UK, Europe & USA) and then produced in countries like China, Indonesia etc. Initial efforts to move all production of clothing overseas resulted in poor quality merchandise being the result. Subsequently this course is skilling the future quality controllers of the Australian fashion industry.
Debra Lazenby, the teacher of this course at Sydney Institute of TAFE, Ultimo College, talks about what is involved in the training program. We also hear from Marianne Grantham, who has been a dancer, yoga teacher and has always had an interest in fashion and aesthetics. She says that this course is a realisation of a dream for her. She was frustrated about not being able to find clothing that she wanted to wear, or designs that excited her and after some experimentation of her own, began to have dreams and visions about the sort of things she would like to wear. She did some sketches and made a few pieces for her friends. They convinced her that this was what was involved in design and she looked into fashion courses at TAFE. Marianne soon realised that she was interested in the process of design, incorporating the practical approach. She found her way to the Fashion CAD Lab and realised that computer aided fashion design was her passion, she is looking forward now to working in the industry. Marianne has found the course extremely challenging, but loves the skills she has developed and her prospects now that she has these skills at her disposal.
She has learnt: computer-aided design (CAD); pattern making; quality control; block construction; storyboarding; PowerPoint and Photoshop. Her style is, she says, expensive. She works a lot with silks, satin, natural fibres and has a great interest in making her clothing ecologically sound. Marianne also likes to incorporate leather into her designs where she can.