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TAFE NSW at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week

TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio

TAFE NSW at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week

Dee Why local Cate Caldis is one of six hand-picked designers who will be launching their collections at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023 as part of TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio’s The Innovators showcase.

A former Gucci and Celine production intern working in Italy, Ms Caldis’ journey into the fashion industry is not what you expect from a Bachelor of Fashion Design student.

“I went straight out of high school straight to working overseas because I held a lifelong interest for fashion design and wanted to get quality work experience,” Ms Caldis said.

“I worked in factory quality checks and order fulfillments in the leather and accessories departments, but I quickly realised I wanted to be a designer myself. I wanted to innovate and redefine how clothing was produced and worn, that is with more intention, time and experimentation.” 

For over 60 years, TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio has produced some of the biggest names in the Australian fashion industry including Dion Lee, Bianca Spender and Zimmerman.

The graduate show is known for being one of the week’s “hottest shows,” and is an important launch pad for emerging Australian fashion designers both locally and internationally.

Cate said that her brand, Soltys Label, encourages consumers to reconnect to the power of ritual in their daily lives.

“My collection, ‘continuance’, is a playful exploration of regenerating recycled materials into individual garments and uses an ancient practice of eco-dyeing to add a grounded, connective quality to each piece.

“It’s also a platform for me to showcase the deep relationship I have with the fabrics I used. Part of my collection features a family heirloom, a handwoven bag, which ties to my Ukrainian heritage.

“I want this to inspire the audience to question the clothes they have in their wardrobe and to hold more respect for it.”

This year’s collections are capturing attention with vibrant, creative designs and reflect a blossoming fashion that honours Australia’s diversity and cultural heritages.

Fashion Design Studio Head Teacher, Laura Washington explained that Australian Fashion Week is an incredible opportunity to showcase the rich creativity and cultural storytelling of TAFE NSW Fashion Design graduates.

“Although it was a big dream of mine to work for Gucci and Celine, I knew I found my calling when I started building my skills and designing at Fashion Design Studio. I knew I could offer more to the fashion industry.” said Ms. Caldis.

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

Media contact: Katrina Trinh, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000