Academy of Design alumna Jennifer Georges has been very busy since finishing her Bachelor of Design Arts in 2015. We caught up with her recently to chat about what she’s up to and her amazing experience in China’s fashion industry where she made it as a top ten finalist in the Chinese International Ceremonial Couture Design Contest.
ADA: You recently came back from China after entering the Chinese International Ceremonial Couture Design Contest. Tell us all about it!
JG: My tutor Samita Bhattacharjee told me about it and I emailed the organisers. My tutors where always very supportive and encouraged us to participate in many exterior fashion events, as well as fashion events held by the Academy. The organisers sent me a brief which was to design three Chinese Ceremonial Couture outfits, one for a woman, one for a man and one for a child. This was the first year the competition had been international, prior to this only Chinese applicants could participate but they are now going into a global playing field so any design students or graduates around the world could enter. The theme was Silk Road so a lot of my inspiration came from a fusion of Chinese and European influences back when the trade route first began between China and the Western world.
A few weeks after submitting my designs to China, I was informed that I had been shortlisted as a finalist among 19 other designers. Then it was time to produce the designs we had submitted. In November 2016, I made the trip over to China with my garments and we had the fashion show and awards ceremony. I made it as a top 10 finalist from the 300 designers who applied internationally.
ADA: What was the challenge and the best part about entering this competition? Particularly as it was held outside Australia?
JG: It was obviously a challenge to travel by myself to China, especially because it is a non-English speaking country. Thankfully, the organizers of the competition made it easier as they communicated in English with us contestants and helped us a lot with the entire process.
It was also tough from a design perspective as you are competing with other fashion designers on a global level, you really have to lift your game. All of the top 20 finalists were so talented and many designs really stood out. The thought of competing with international designers pushed me to create flawless pieces, with a strong attention to detail and great quality standards. All the fabrics I used were beautiful silks and natural fibers. I spent hours hand painting hundreds of floral motifs on the transparent silk organza used for my main pieces. This gave my designs a high-end couture feel and helped me stand out against some of the other competitors.
ADA: Has being a top 10 finalist changed your life in any way or opened up other opportunities?
JG: The opportunity itself was an amazing experience for personal growth. I was able to gain many international contacts with other international applicants. I also formed a great friendship with the competition organizer who I know I can contact in the future. Also, the competition was a really great addition to my resume and a big portfolio builder. Since adding it to my resume and portfolio I have gained more recognition when applying for design positions.
Being in China at that time also allowed me to attend the Canton Fair before I went to Beijing for the competition. Through this experience I was able to gain lots of contacts with off shore manufacturers.
ADA: What are you up to now?
JG: At the moment I am working on a few of my personal design projects. While I was in China I gained a few manufacturing contacts and I am now working with some of these factories on my own personal designs.
ADA: Any advice for future students at the Academy?
JG: I think it is important to grasp every opportunity you have, especially in the fashion industry where there are so many different avenues you can take. Also, the more experience you have can give you an advantage when trying to succeed in such a competitive field.
ADA: Thank you Jennifer and the very best with your career!
You can find out more about Jennifer by going to her website www.jenev.com.au.
Alanna Mitchell completed the Bachelor of Design Arts majoring in Fashion and Costume Design last year. She has already had an interesting journey so far and has just embarked on a new position in the fashion industry with Myer. We caught up with Alanna recently to talk about her studies, exchange in Paris and what lies ahead.