Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design graduate Amelia Lee is happy to have conversations large and small on her favourite topic: moving us towards a more sustainable fashion landscape. “Sustainability is really important to me as fashion is the second-largest polluter in the world,” she explains. “The ability to have that platform to have those conversations with my friends and colleagues, especially about sustainability in fashion, is obviously really important.”
Since graduating from Billy Blue College of Design, Amelia has moved into a fashion buying role at The Iconic. What is fashion buying? What does a fashion buyer do? We’re glad you asked. Fashion buyers research market trends, create fashion forecasts and, ultimately, decide which products a given shop or business should sell. In a nutshell, they predict whether we’ll be wearing flares and paisley next season, or if it’s going to be pastels and boot-cuts.
“I always had a deep desire to do fashion,” Amelia revealed at the exclusive Speaker Series last year, in conversation with PE Nation founder Pip Edwards. “From when I was young I’d be drawing on my whiteboard at home, and I’d cutting up all sorts of things as well. Cutting all my shirts into crop tops and all sorts of things. My mum also sent me on a really similar path, where she was like ‘do business’, you know, go on that traditional route – all of my family was rooted in business.
“A big part of my choosing this degree was the business aspect of it, and I knew it would help Mum agree to me being in this course. It really taught me a lot about all sorts of segments of the fashion business. It wasn’t just all design-focused like a lot of other unis are, it incorporated all sorts of parts of the fashion business, which is really important. It really helped me grow and grow into my career.”
Recently Amelia took time out from The Iconic to tackle a design challenge in collaboration with Junkee that stretched her skills like cotton jersey. She had to design two looks that were environmentally and sustainably focused – one for the red carpet and one for the afterparty.
And she had three days to concept, design and source materials. Easy as, right? Well, we don’t like to brag but we helped set her up for success… “I learnt how to do a lot of my sewing at Billy Blue,” she reveals. “I didn’t know how to do much besides hand stitching, so I learnt how to use the machines and all different types of techniques as well.”
After lots of research, second-hand shopping and sewing, Amelia presented a red-carpet fit for the Grammys, and a “dancing afterparty look” that we’d happily wear if anyone has a spare +1 for a high-profile awards show…
“I always work better with a timed brief and with budget,” says Amelia of the result. “It’s quite stressful leading up to the end but when you get to see the final product it’s really rewarding, and I think we got two really good looks out of it, so I’m really happy.”