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TAFE NSW graduate realises his dream at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023

TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio

TAFE NSW graduate realises his dream at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023

Bella Vista local Donovan Darling is one of six TAFE NSW Fashion Design graduates 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 property development student and stylist, Mr Darling decided to pursue his dream career with the help of TAFE NSW.

“I was working full-time as a stylist and fitter for a Sydney-based made-to-measure suiting company. I was also enrolled in a property development course,” Mr Darling said.

“A work friend introduced me to TAFE NSW Fashion Design studio because it gives excellent practical skills training and support. I then decided to pursue my lifelong dreams as a designer.

"The TAFE NSW training pathway was the best for my needs and to achieve my goal to design and construct garments with substance.”

Mr Darling explained that his graduate collection, SCRUM, is inspired by dramatic, theatrical silhouettes of American sportwear, and the technical properties of protective gear in sports. As part of the Bachelor of Fashion Design, he developed a range of technical skills including patternmaking, sewing and software editing to help him bring his designs to life. 

“This TAFE NSW course made me realise there is so much more to learn; that education is empowering. I gained confidence and work capabilities that will take me further as a creative professional,” Mr Darling said.

“I also gained an incredible network throughout the course. It catapulted my work to new heights that would have seemed unimaginable to the 20-year-old me at the start of my course. I wouldn't be at fashion week this year without my TAFE NSW teachers’ support.”

The Innovators’ show has earned a reputation for being one of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week’s “hottest shows,” and is an important launch pad for emerging Australian fashion designers both locally and internationally.

Fashion Design Studio Head Teacher Laura Washington explained that Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is an opportunity for TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio graduates to gain real work experience by using their refined creative and business skills.

“The graduate showcase is a pivotal springboard for our top-performing talent to launch themselves and their work into a local and international audiences. By participating in this event, our also graduates gain important professional industry experience that they need for their careers,” Ms Washington said.

“We’re excited that they’ll soon be joining some of fashion’s biggest names on the runway including Bianca Spender and Dion Lee. They’ll soon be able to share their valuable work that will positively shape and impact Australian fashion.”

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