Study your way to conquering the fashion world, as told by someone who’s done it

Jessica Van is making strides in the cut-throat world of fashion. She’s participated in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, has seen her work praised in fashion editorials, and now runs her own small business when she isn’t working for an Aussie designer.

The key first step for Jessica was her education. While at university, she gained experience in textile fabrication development, CAD, construction and pattern making, as well as the business side of the fashion industry. But she started at TAFE NSW, completing a course which equipped her with the skills and confidence to enrol in further study.

Jessica values the “hands on” learning she was given at TAFE, which allowed her to really “[get]to know, explore and love so many new areas of design”. Being guided by knowledgeable teachers with strong industry experience, and learning alongside a creative cohort has equipped her with the skills she needed to succeed in her later Bachelor of Fashion Design. She actually topped her graduating class with an overall mark of 88!

We spent some time chatting to Jessica about her time at TAFE, and where she’s going next.

How do you think your TAFE Studies helped or progressed your career path?

“TAFE offers such a practical course, it teaches you skill in so many different areas and prepares you to jump into the industry, prepared for anything! What you learn at TAFE you can immediately utilise within your own business, your internship or your new job in the industry. A lot of courses offer a heavy amount of theory that never gets utilised, I am grateful for every subject I completed within my course and believe it all adds up to give you a well-rounded foundation to start your career in the industry.”

Tell us what you’re doing now and where you hope to be in 3 years from now?

“At the moment I am working for an Australian designer part time, as well as starting my own small business in design. In three years I hope to have my business up and running offering a small collection to the global market in fashion and as well as art.”

Who are some of the people in your career field that inspire or motivate you?

“Of course, I admire all of the top designers you see around the world, making a name for themselves and putting their stamp on the industry. It is the everyday people I admire. This industry is so incredibly tough, it takes bravery, perseverance and resilience to even attempt to survive. Anyone who has the will power to continue to peruse their goals and dreams in these conditions has my admiration.”

What advice do you have for people contemplating doing a TAFE course to further their career?

“Keep going! It is so tough sometimes, but you just have to keep moving forward no matter what. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down in the stress but there’s always a little bit left in the tank, there is always a way so don’t give up! It will all be worth it and enjoy it while you can. You don’t realise how fun the course was until afterwards!”

What are the key requirements to be successful in your chosen career?

“Bravery, perseverance and resilience. The industry is tougher than tough, but you can not give up. If this is your dream then keep moving forward bit by bit and don’t stop believing in yourself.”

If you want to achieve YOUR dreams in 2017, check out our friends at TAFE NSW – the best option for those looking for alternatives to university or to upgrade your existing skill-set. TAFE can help you be whatever you want to be, regardless of how ambitious that dream is.