The first thing you notice is that the uniform has moved away from
the traditional green and gold and has instead reflected the unique
qualities and colours of the Australian landscape. Ashleigh studied an
Advanced Diploma of Fashion Technology at TAFE NSW and is no stranger
to WorldSkills, having competed as part of the 2013 Skillaroos in
Germany. We caught up with Ashleigh to get an insight into her life
after TAFE NSW and WorldSkills.
What did you study at TAFE NSW?
Ashleigh: When I first started my course at TAFE, my plan was to head
into costume design, which I still have a passion for today. In my
final year, my goal changed from wanting to work in the costume
industry to working in the fashion industry. I was training for 2013
Worldskills International competition being held in Leipzig 2013, and
found the additional mentoring and training I received – through
WorldSkills and my teachers at TAFE – changed my path to eventually
work in Bridal Couture and made-to-measure for clients. So I completed
the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology
What was it like being a Skillaroo?
Ashleigh: It was an adventure and such an exciting experience! It was
amazing to be part of such a strong team and to be around people who
have a common goal of skills development and excellence on an
international scale. The journey was life-changing. A priceless
experience where I was able to challenge myself and gain exposure to
the international fashion industry. I definitely made some life-long friendships.
What happened after your WorldSkills experience?
Ashleigh: When I came back from the international competition at the
end of 2013, I worked as a design assistant for a sportswear company.
I soon realised how much I truly missed the hands-on art and creative
process of my trade. The amazing experiences that I was exposed to
through WorldSkills and couture made me realise that I needed to
return to my passion for creative design. So in 2014, I ventured out
and started my own dressmaking business (Ash-Lynne Couture) where I
worked with clients to make their dream outfits.
How did you end up designing the Skillaroos uniforms?
Ashleigh: I saw the WorldSkills Australia design competition was
asking designers to submit ideas for the new Skillaroos team uniform.
Having been part of the Skillaroos team in 2013, I was inspired to
submit my ideas based on my own personal experiences. My inspiration
for the uniform colours originated from the beauty and diversity of
the Australian landscape. I designed the uniforms inspired by the sand
and ocean, the rich turquoise of our pristine beaches and reefs. The
scarf and tie artwork is paying homage to Aboriginal dot paintings in
a spiral design.
Functionality was also a key point. I really wanted the design to
suit all shapes and sizes and to be cool and breathable in the hot
desert of Abu Dahbi. It was a beautiful thing to see the design taken
from a drawing to real life, and I felt like a proud Mama when I saw
the whole team in it! Very exciting!
What’s next for you?
Ashleigh: If there is one thing my experiences at TAFE and
WorldSkills has taught me, it is that I will always be open to new
possibilities. Along with running my own label, I have recently
returned to TAFE NSW as a teacher. I really believe in giving back and
giving someone else the opportunity to learn and grow in in the
multi-faceted fashion industry.
Find our more about a career in fashion.