What do you study in the first year of a fashion degree?

What do you study in the first year of a fashion degree? | Torrens University

Lily Willow was the 2022 Brisbane Fashion Scholarship winner. Read on to find out what her first year of studies included, highlights and all.

Committing to your passion and starting a fashion degree can be daunting, even for those who have been experimenting within the field for a while, like Lilly.

What you’ll learn in a fashion degree can vary from institution to institution, but at Billy Blue College of Design our focus is on teaching professional garment construction techniques, enterprise management skills, and the all-essential communication and branding strategies. We believe these are the key elements to a successful start in the industry.

In your first year at Billy Blue, you’ll learn to scrutinise past, present and future fashion trends, gain skills in fashion illustration and technical drawing, and ultimately discover how to produce clothing designs to industry standards while meeting budgets, timelines and maintaining the integrity and positioning of a brand.

How does Billy Blue connect students to industry?

Partnering with organisations like, Fashion Queensland, who are passionate and advocate for local designers and creative industries is a true reflection of our aligned values. Over the years, Billy Blue has collaborated with Fashion Queensland on their flagship events like Ekka Natural Fibres Fashion Parades and Brisbane Fashion Month which both have provided creative opportunities for our students.

We launched the Emerging Fashion Design Scholarship program to empower the next generation of designers to find their niche in the industry. The recipient of our inaugural scholarship, Lily Miles, in 2022 is already running her own label, Sallows while studying a Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design, which she commenced at Billy Blue College of Design in 2023.

We interviewed Lily about her first year of university, balancing life and studies and what she’s looking forward to in her second year of studies.

What do you study in the first year of a fashion degree_Lily 8 | Torrens University

Looking back on your first year of university, were there any challenges you faced as a fashion design student or unexpected, exciting opportunities presented to you?

The biggest challenge I faced as a fashion student was probably my nerves, I was quite timid having just moved to Brisbane and starting my dream course but after a few months I became more comfortable and got involved with exciting Brisbane Fashion Month (BFM) events like the Queen St Runways with Laura Churchill, Director of Fashion Queensland.

How did you balance your academic commitments with extracurricular activities or personal interests during your first year?

I think living in a big share house helped me balance my academic commitments with life, it was exciting and strange to have my personal interests complement my uni work so perfectly so if it wasn't for my housemates I may well have fallen into a pattern of nothing but uni, which is terrible for the creative brain long-term.

What do you study in the first year of a fashion degree? Lily Willow Dress | Torrens University

How did your first year shape your thinking about your career? Has anything changed, were you exposed to anything new that repositioned your thinking, or has it solidified your initial direction?

My first year has definitely helped me realise the areas in which I have the most interest. At the moment, I'm obsessed with the idea of textile and print design but nothing is set in stone yet.

Now that you are half way through your second year, what subjects are you most looking forward to this year?

Year 1 was all about an introduction to the world of design and fashion, learning about different materials, illustration, technical drawing, as well as branding.

I cannot express how excited I am to do Digital Print Design and Print Theory with Zoe in Trimester 3 this year! I actually cannot contain my excitement.

Alongside, Digital Print Design and Print Theory, my Year 2 subjects will include more advanced draping and sewing as well enterprise management.

You can see more about these fashion subjects and elective options in the course overview.

What do you study in the first year of a fashion degree? Sewing Station| Torrens University

What advice would you offer to new students starting, that would help them succeed in their first year of university?

Everything is overwhelming when you first look at it but things clear up quickly and it is always the big overwhelming changes that become the most exciting ones.

If you are relocating for uni, move into a sharehouse (not like you have much choice in this economy), but it truly is the best way to make friends and become comfortable with a new place.

Take every opportunity that arises because you only have things to gain, nothing to lose. Pour who you are into your work because that is what makes your work interesting and original.

Check our Branded Fashion Design Courses to learn more
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