After five weeks in New York, fashion teacher Holly Siles has returned to St George College with a catalogue of contacts and an array of projects in the pipeline to help Sydney Institute build links with one of the leading fashion capitals in the world.
Holly was one of 31 teachers in NSW to win a prestigious teaching scholarship from Premier Barry O’Farrell and went to The Big Apple to set up partnerships with fashion schools and design houses and observe American training techniques.
If all goes to plan Sydney Institute will soon be offering its fashion students study tours to New York, internships with Ralph Lauren and an embassy-sponsored study exchange program with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York’s major government-funded fashion school which boasts the likes of Karl Lagerfeld among its patrons. During her trip Holly also visited fashion brand Helmut Lang and patternmaking experts Gerber Technology.
Holly explained: “My major goal for going to New York was to initiate a partnership between Sydney Institute and FIT to provide global opportunities for our students and we are working on projects now to ensure that happens.
“It was really reassuring to see that FIT, and also Parsons Design School which Donna Karan went to, teach and train their students in a similar way to us.”
It’s hoped that Holly’s trip will also initiate a series of guest lectures and seminars at Sydney TAFE by New York fashion experts which in turn should help pave the way for leaders of the Australian fashion industry to showcase their talents in New York.
While Holly was in NYC she made time to catch up with three Sydney Institute graduates – Kaylene Milner, Hayley Watkins and Sylvia Lee – who are currently working as interns for Diane von Fürstenberg who designed the iconic wrap dress in the 1970s. Holly said: “The girls are doing really well and have received lots of positive feedback from their mentors. Everyone’s very impressed with their abilities to turn their hands to anything which is great for us as it reinforces the fact that TAFE students get a comprehensive grounding in a range of fashion disciplines, from fine embellishments to great communication skills.
Holly added: “I was honoured to receive the Premier’s TAFE Scholarship and the opportunity has been amazing. Among other things it has reinforced what we do at Sydney Institute is world class and my experience will only add to the success of our fashion schools and students.”
If you dream of getting into fashion and think you have what it takes to be the next Dion Lee or Nicky Zimmerman, check out our fashion courses at St George and Ultimo Colleges, some of which start in July.
Read more about Holly’s New York fashion adventures.