Five of our Branded Fashion Design students and recent graduates have won their pitches to design for Myer in a collaboration that offered a “first break” into Australia’s highly competitive fashion industry.
Dave Snow’s inspiration to create a pathway for graduates
Dave Snow, Design Manager for Women's Apparel, Footwear & Accessories, and Intimate & Active at Myer, developed this program to create real-life experiences that support, excite and expose emerging artists to the local market. Replicating the experience of the freelance graphic artist, Myer engaged young artists for the print project.
Our first student to have a textile released in Miss Shop items was Andrea Maurer in July (pictured above wearing the final sample), followed by Kezia Iskandar in August. Jasmine Matthews’s design rolls out in September, Charlotte Davey in October and Felixia Agartha in November.
“Getting your foot in the door is often the hardest”
The program was born from Dave’s passion for creating pathways for students as they transition from education through to the workplace.
“Throughout my career I have always valued the importance of workplace partnerships that give students the opportunity for on-the-job experience,” said Dave.
“From impacting networks to reinvigorating confidence, to simply having had the opportunity to put what you have learnt to the test, these experiences are so valuable at that pivotal point as people embark upon their chosen career.”
“There are endless opportunities ahead but getting the first break is too often the hardest,” said Dave.
The Miss Shop initiative provided an opportunity for short and sharp quick turnaround, projects mirroring many of the commercial engagements freelance artists enjoy in today’s market.
“It has been great to engage with a group of graduates and know we have been able to nurture, inspire and encourage them as they begin their careers,” said Dave.
‘Miss Shop Introduces’ Artist Pathways Program
This first break opportunity included designing a commissioned textile print for upcoming garment releases, with their name on the swing ticket, and in the product description on Myer’s website, as well as being paid industry standard fees for their work.
The collaboration with Myer commenced in December 2021, when our Design & Creative Technology Industry Team, and our Fashion Program Director Russell Ponting presented the opportunity to students to prepare to submit a design responding to a specific brief in the real-world tight industry timeframe.
Successful students then worked directly with Dave from Myer, to finesse their designs as per specific feedback.
From August to December, each month for the remainder of 2022, Myer will feature a signature print from five Billy Blue artists.
“The Billy Blue industry team strives to uphold our position as Industry's University, and the collaboration with Myer is a stellar example of the detail we go to in matching our design courses to relevant industry practice,” said Saskia Fairfull, Industry Engagement, Design & Creative Technologies.
“The Branded Fashion students hone their skills in brand commercialisation and the Artist Pathways Program is an industry initiative that is greatly needed. Helping emerging designers not only gain access to an industry they're skilled to be part of but are recognised and compensated as an artist,” added Saskia.
Russell said Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University is excited about the opportunities this program affords our students and are keenly supportive of the continuation of this initiative.
“This opportunity absolutely reflects what students can expect in terms of deadlines in the "real" world, so it was appealing to share with our students,” said Russell.
“As much as we try to reflect industry practice in assessment, nothing beats the real-world pressure of a tight deadline.”
Introducing Andrea Maurer - Diploma of Branded Fashion Design graduate
A recent Diploma of Branded Fashion Design graduate, Andrea is an emerging pattern designer and illustrator based in Brisbane and excited to begin her creative journey within the industry with this exclusive print for Myer.
Andrea’s print answered a brief to create a swirly abstract print with bold retro flower motifs with sharp edges, and no painterly finishes. It needed to be clean and not too busy and 1960s inspired.
“It was a brief totally outside my natural style which I actually found fun,” said Andrea. “It’s a funky and bright 60’s print. This brief pushed me creatively to design something I wouldn’t normally.”
Andrea acknowledges Billy Blue College of Design set her up perfectly for this opportunity.
“Designing to a brief is something I became very much used to throughout my studies and actually enjoy the process to see what I’ll come up with outside my usual style.”
“I was keen to make sure they were happy with the print and each change or tweak meant we were closer to achieving their vision,” said Andrea.
“I was really happy with the end result and felt like they pushed my design to become what it did through our many iterations, but it still felt very much like me.”
Valuable real-world Fashion Design industry experience
“It was a tight deadline! I think after receiving the brief I had a couple of days before they wanted to see something from me. From there it was go, go, go, as they had to sign off on the print in time for their manufacturing deadlines,” said Andrea explaining that the whole process was over in a couple of weeks.
The experience was collaborative, and Andrea felt valued and included throughout the project’s timeline.
“They made sure I was included in each step of the process and was able to see the final artworks with the tech pack that was sent to manufacture, and I was sent the sample when it was approved,” said Andrea. “So cool to see the process beginning to end and to witness firsthand the lead times for a fashion brand as big as Myer.”
Andrea said that opportunities to connect with industry are so important.
“I feel like opportunities like this are what just give you the right mindset to venture out on your own. I have been a mostly full-time mum since finishing university so my availability for full time roles isn’t there, but freelance opportunities like this allow me to still establish myself as a designer and build a portfolio to enable more opportunities in the future.”
“It was really just about the real experience - working to a brief from a design team, the ambiguity, the process, the tight turnaround, the feedback process - the absolute authenticity of the experience,” said Russell. “It is an awesome CV and folio piece, and a step up from an internship because it is a real project.”
“A confidence boost” and “kind of surreal”
Andrea said seeing the designs featuring her textile on the website was “kind of surreal!” and loved seeing the professional photographs on their website.
“Being able to create a print for Myer was a real confidence boost as I begin to establish myself as a designer. I can only go forward from here,” said Andrea of the experience.
Follow Andrea on Instagram to check out her designs.
Each month we will reveal the Miss Shop designs of our other successful Artists Pathway Program students as they are released in Myer.
Myer’s Winter Range collaboration up next for our students
The success of this first run of collaborations means the program is set to continue into next year with ongoing opportunities for our students with briefs rolling in now for Myer’s winter range where our current students can respond in the real-world fast turnaround times.