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Northern Beaches TAFE NSW graduates showcase their collection at Fashion Week

Exclusive look at the work of the fashion graduates set to take on the world

Northern Beaches TAFE NSW graduates showcase their collection at Fashion Week

For over 60 years, TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio (FDS) has produced some of the biggest names in the Australian Fashion Industry. This year, six of the top performing graduates from the Bachelor of Fashion Design will launch their collections on the catwalk at The Innovators show as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA).

Balgowlah local, Valeska Dominguez and Frenches Forest local, Mia Kate Rodrigurez are two of the TAFE NSW graduates from the Northern Beaches who will showcase their resort collection in The Innovators show on Monday 13 May.

With 25 years’ experience in graphic and jewellery design, Valeska Dominguez has turned her hand to fashion design. Used to dressing the necks of Hollywood, Valeska’s hand-stitched collection is inspired by the Sydney Opera House and made out of 100% Australian merino wool. After winning the Woolmark Sponsorship Prize in 2018, Valeska received access to resources and knowledge to help create her final collection. The collection has already attracted praise from throughout the industry. Valeska was awarded dux of her year at TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio, and the Powerhouse Museum (MAAS) has chosen to exhibit two of the VALESKA pieces as part of an ‘Australia’s emerging fashion designers’ exhibition.

“I’ve always loved wearing the latest fashion and I needed to keep my creativity in-check so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Fashion Design at TAFE NSW.

“Studying at TAFE NSW has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learnt hands-on practical skills on how to design and make couture garments, and travelled to India to experience the processes involved when working with manufacturers and buyers. It has also pushed my creative boundaries and challenged me to think outside the box.

“I’ve finally found something I’m excited about and I can’t wait to open my own studio specialising in couture designs featuring natural fibres and sustainable practices,” Ms Dominguez said.

Mia Kate Rodrigurez’s brand, Mi’an’Mar is an ode to her ever effervescent and stylish Grandma. The name is a collaboration of her name, Mia, and her talented grandmother, Marie. To kick off Mi’an’Ma, Mia has drawn inspiration from Marie’s wonderful and vibrant life. Each garment tells a different story with a number of layers both inside and outside. While studying at TAFE NSW, Mia had the opportunity to travel to Paris and London on a scholarship to learn Haute Couture embroidery and beading. Mia also made her way to China and India on a fabric buying trip to establish relationships with suppliers and manufacturers.

Mia’s streetwear collection combines illustrative prints, original hand embellishments, soft tailoring, and inventive layering.

“These last few years have been very hard but extremely rewarding. It has been pretty incredible learning to create a garments from illustration, print design, pattern making to sewing the final garment. To be able to show my graduate collection in MBFWA is something I wouldn’t have been able to do without TAFE NSW, not only for the exposure for my designs but to be completely immersed with the whole industry.

“I loved designing Mi’an’Mar. Each component I designed confirmed I was in the right industry. It’s an exciting and vibrant life and I can’t wait to see more of it,” Ms Rodrigurez said.

The Graduate Show, now in its 21st year, has earned a reputation for being one of the week’s “hottest shows,” and is an important launch pad for emerging Australian fashion designers both locally and internationally. With a list of alumni that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Australian fashion, the TAFE NSW Fashion Design studio is a fashion school of excellence. Consistently ranked in the top 30 fashion design schools worldwide, TAFE NSW has over 60 years of experience in educating fashion industry professionals.

The Bachelor of Fashion Design is a degree like no other. Internationally recognised, the degree gives students the start they need to pursue a career across all facets of the international fashion industry. Graduates of the program are highly sought after, not only because of their creativity and innovation, but because they possess the necessary technical and job ready skills required by industry.

The TAFE NSW teachers at FDS were impressed with the graduates work, selecting this group of unique individual designers to showcase their designs at the exclusive Fashion Week event.     

“The students have produced such high quality work, and it’s very satisfying to see that kind of diversity coming through. AT TAFE NSW, fashion design is taught through active engagement in the craft of fashion. Students explore new ways to re-interpret or re-invent this craft through collaborating with fashion and textile artisans and exploiting new technologies to support the realisation of original signature collections,” they said.

As the only fashion school in Australia to present graduate collections at MBFWA, TAFE NSW is proud to introduce the new generation of creative fashion designers to industry.

Many of the designers will go on to work for leading international labels, with past alumni heading to the likes of Dion Lee, Nicky Zimmermann, Genevieve Smart, Luke Sales and Anna Plunket, Ainsley Hansen, Karla Špetić, Gary Bigeni, Bianca Spender and Christopher Esber.

Media contact: Laura Kelly, TAFE NSW Media & Communications Business Partner, 0411 777 676 or