Just sewing? No … an inspirational future! New England Girls’ School’s fashion and design program for the 21st century.
In all communities there has been a trend towards self sufficiency through activities such as vegetable gardening, home cooking, interior design and sewing. NEGS students have been embracing this trend!
New England Girls’ School has been running textile based courses in design for many years; local teachers Stephanie Thomas and Sam Morley are keen to dispel the myth that textiles is ‘simply sewing’. On the contrary, NEGS is leading the field in its development and delivery of Fashion and Design Courses in the region. Very few schools continue to offer both Textiles and Design and Technology as separate subjects. In conjunction with the school’s Mission Statement, ‘to develop accomplished, educated individuals, with active, passionate and creative minds’, Head of Department Kate Blackmore sees Textiles and Design as promoting innovative thinking, problem solving and high order cognitive skills. All of these attributes are applicable in almost every career path.
Do many girls still choose to do Textiles and / or Design and Technology at NEGS?
Yes, definitely! Our students choose these two subjects because they want to move into careers in the design industry. NEGS is in the enviable position of being able to offer a textile based design unit from Year 8 onwards and offers both Textiles and Design and Technology electives from Year 9 all the way through to Year 12. This means that students can develop their skills extensively across multiple aspects of design throughout their five years of studies.
Reflecting on studying both Textiles and Design and Technology for Year 12, 2011, student Georgia Epworth said, “I love doing both subjects, as it allows me to embrace multiple fields of the design industry – which is my passion. I want to work in design after school, and NEGS provides me with so many brilliant opportunities and contacts to do so.”
Our history of developing high achieving young designers is evident in the multitude of significant designers who have been educated at this rural boarding school. As a community of learners living and studying together, our girls’ ideas are constantly bouncing around, feeding their passions and interest in design. Add in a constant exposure to design competitions, which many of our students regularly win, and they love being here.
When students were asked to highlight some of the key features of the Technology and Applied Studies Department programs at NEGS, they identified the following:
A supportive, creative, busy environment. Located in the middle of the school, with its own kitchenette and bean bags for encouraging idea generation, our design studio provides a defacto home for many girls. It’s a place where they can get away from things, relax and draw, sew or construct according to their current interests. Add to this regular visits by top design colleges to run courses in the school, plus our Fashion Week Excursion, and our design students become the envy of the community.
Our current student cohort includes permanent students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, plus exchange students from India, Thailand, Canada, Switzerland and Germany. Additionally, our staff have recently participated in International experiences such as the Retrospective Christian Lacrouix (New York) and Valentino (Brisbane) exhibitions, and South East Asian and Indian textiles study tours. Bringing together this wonderful amalgam of students and staff promotes many cultural ideas and influences, thus encouraging and supporting excellence and diversity.
NEGS students also have the opportunity to complete part of their schooling at a range of schools throughout the global Round Square network. Round Square’s internationally renowned reputation in developing global citizens for the 21st Century provides invaluable experiences to our students, preparing them to work in an increasingly globalised society.
Outstanding Employment Outcomes
At NEGS. We take great joy in tracking the achievements of students when they leave our school. Our graduates are placed in some of the most reputable design colleges and degree programs around the country, going on to launch themselves into successful design careers.
After designing and redeveloping the Textiles and Design Studio as part of her 2009 HSC Major Project, local student Kate Carter earned herself a place studying Interior Design at the CATC Design College in Sydney. Fellow student Lucinda Nash was awarded an Academy of Design Scholarship for her Australian Wool Awards Garment (Secondary Schools Section) in 2009, as did Lily Purkiss, who accepted a Raffles College of Design and Commerce
Scholarship. This follows in the footsteps of Jade Tindal and Leila Sweeney, who won this prestigious award previously.
By 2009, Leila had become a designer for ‘Miss Earth Australia’– the third largest beauty pageant in the world. Currently employed as a Melbourne based milliner, she now also has her own design label ‘Lass by Leila Sweeney’, which includes 7 times World Champion celebrity surfer Layne Beachley as one of her clients.
With ‘old girls’ of this calibre, our younger designers have plenty of inspiration as they continue to achieve consistent high performance in many facets of fashion and design.
So what is the NEGS Fashion Week excursion?
Senior design students spend a week in Sydney during the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week. Through our multitude of industry contacts, students are exposed to the fashion industry at parades of both world famous labels and upcoming new industry designers, both on the catwalk and behind the scenes. They quickly learn how much work really goes into major parades. Other aspects experienced include corporate furniture designers, graphic design studios and marketing. The girls love their week away and rate it as one of the highlights of their time at school.
“I loved being able to participate in Fashion Week! NEGS allowed me to do that,” said Bonnie Forsyth.
So what is the future of design at NEGS?
The future is looking bright, as we continue to experience success and look forward to another year of high achieving students, continuing our excellent HSC results for both Textiles and Design and Technology subjects. We are excited to be moving into 2011 and have many new opportunities to offer our students both now and in the future. This includes recent offers of scholarships for both Textiles and Design and Technology students for Year 9 onwards in 2011.
If you or your daughter want to participate in the fashion and design industry in the future, NEGS is your school of choice.
Thank you Kate.