Designing dresses for success

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Fashion student Kara Matters is well on her way to fulfilling her ambition of creating a clothing label that challenges mainstream fashion trends and supports young designers.

The West Perth artist has won an Indigenous scholarship from Challenger TAFE’s Centre for Aboriginal Learning, Kadadjiny Mia, to study fashion design and technology at the College’s Visage Training Centre for Health and Lifestyle.

Each year, Challenger TAFE selected four outstanding Aboriginal students to receive up to $500 towards their course fees and books.

“This scholarship has given me the opportunity to complete a certificate and gain skills that I would not have been able to acquire otherwise,” Kara said.

“One day, I want to give disadvantaged youths the same breaks that I’m getting now by giving them training, jobs and a head-start in a pretty cut-throat industry.”

Kara said she liked to steer away from conventional fashion trends. Her own label would feature designs incorporating her own hand-painted material, love of Japanese style and fondness for interesting op-shop clothing.

Three years ago Kara and her mother Barbara, also an artist, created Karda Designs, a line of hand-painted silks. The silks were manufactured into scarves, wraps and sarongs that featured designs representing Nyoongar land and people.

They had now moved on to other projects and Kara was kept busy with her studies and a work placement as a seamstress at a fancy dress shop in Claremont.

Kara planned to further her studies with a Diploma in Applied Fashion Design and Technology and then head off to Japan for more inspiration for her own label.

“There are so many things I want to accomplish in the future,” Kara said. “I’m lucky to be doing what I love so there’s no stopping me now.

“The lecturers at Challenger TAFE have been great; they help us make our ideas come to life. We learn all the tricks of the trade that we could never learn from a text book.”

Fashion design lecturer Sonia Vivienne-Thorp said Kara had all the right qualities to become a successful designer. One of her designs had been selected for the Perth Fashion Festivals’ inaugural Student Runway next month.

“Kara has the creative talent, combined with the drive, to make things happen,” Sonia said. “In this industry, you need a lot of both to make an impact.”

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