Insider: What are the Challenges of studying Fashion Design?

Choosing to study fashion design at a tertiary level is a huge decision. One which you should not take lightly. If you want to make it in the fashion industry, there are amazing opportunities waiting there for you. However, you may also like to be aware of the challenges which you will inevitably face whilst studying, so I have compiled a list of things you will need to be prepared for if you choose fashion as your career path. I am a second year student in Australia studying fashion design at a reputable university, and I am undertaking a two year course in fashion design and technology.

  • Your work is probably going to be rejected at least once (probably more.)

You need to be able to face the fact that not everyone is going to love what you do. It doesn’t matter if you have put your blood, sweat and tears into a piece – your teachers/peers may simply just not accept/like it. This is something that will initially be hard to face. However, as you gain experience, you will also gain an ability to not let this affect you emotionally.

  • You will need to make Fashion Design your main (and only) priority.

Throughout my first semester at university, I was able to work two days a week on average in hospitality. In my second year of my course, I was required to undertake a work placement in a fashion design studio with a designer. Completing my work placement meant that I was unable to continue my part time work – as my work-placement was crucial to my study and I would not pass my course if I did not undertake a minimum of 40 hours. I have heard stories of fashion teachers telling students to “quit their part time jobs” if they want to graduate. I have also personally witnessed a teacher telling a student to “dump their girlfriends/boyfriends” if they want to finish this course. I am not saying this is wrong – as yes fashion is very competitive and if you want to make it you have to take it seriously. However I just want to convey to you that you have to be prepared to sacrifice other aspects of your life if you really want to succeed.

  • People cry at uni all the time.

I am serious. All the time. My peers have told me when they walk into the bathrooms they “hear people crying” all the time. You might end up crying, your friends might cry, and let me tell you these people are not weak or sensitive in any sense of the word. The people who are my peers at university are all very strong-willed hard-workers. But as quoted by Anita in iD Australia, a third year Fashion Design student. “It’s really normal to sit at your sewing machine crying.” There are a lot of expectations when it comes to studying fashion design – and you have got to be prepared to fail in some way or another. You just have make sure that you pick yourself back up again and keep trying.

  • You will probably stay awake all night to meet deadlines.

A year and a half into my course and I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t pulled at least one ‘all-nighter’ so far. The majority of my peers have stayed up for a whole night on multiple occasions. I personally know that there have been probably 7-10 times over my course where I have done this, and heading to the 24 hour computer lab is a regular occurrence for many students. If you plan to study fashion design, be prepared to be working last minute, this is a creative course and you are going to be forced to string out as many ideas onto the page as possible on a regular basis. This may seem like an enjoyable task, but if you want to be presenting your best work – you have to be working systematically, and consistently pushing yourself and your creative abilities if you want any chance at getting sleep for the nights when deadlines start approaching.

  • You will need to be completely adaptable and willing to try new things. Scary new things.

The fact is, if you are enrolling to study fashion design, you most likely don’t know much about what you are about to experience. I have been thrown into the deep end on countless occasions – the other day I had to work out how to use this enormous printer that prints full scale Lectra patterns (I mean MASSIVE) on my own and that thing is expensive and terrifying, and if I broke it I hate to think of what consequences I would have faced. Jumping on new machines and trying to work them out on your own can be really daunting and intimidating (also potentially dangerous), so make sure if you don’t know what you are doing you wait and ask for help. I have always had trouble/been a bit timid with buttonhole machines as they are loud and punch holes in your work (would you believe). So make sure you tie your hair back and wear glasses and know the safety requirements of the machinery you are about to use, so that you keep yourself safe when you are in production!

  • There is going to be people at uni that are much better than you.

I was completely intimidated in my first year because everyone around me seemed so talented and creative. If you have come to study fashion design straight out of high school, you will find that there are a lot of mature aged students with more life experience than you, and may have a lot more skills to bring to the table than you do. If I have any advice it is don’t let this intimidate you – learn from them and watch how they do it. When you look around and see other people’s beautiful work – admire it, but don’t put yourself down because yours doesn’t look so good. In fashion design one of the most important things to do is to work with your own aesthetic, make sure your designs are true to you, and do not let other people get you down because your work is unique and hopefully one day that will be recognized.

  • You need to work out who you are as a designer

This may seem obvious but it’s a lot easier to say this than do. I feel like this hit me towards the end of second semester in my first year, and I am really glad it did. When you are at uni, it is probably one of the best times to be working on your professional portfolio that you will be presenting to industry in order to get jobs when you graduate. You need to be creating work that sits well with your personal aesthetic so that your folio displays who you are and who you want to be to potential employers. It is important to do your best to show off your personal style when you are at uni (although people don’t actually care if you rock up in trackies when it is all getting too much). But in my opinion if you are a fashion student and do want to get noticed, it is good to try and dress to your personal aesthetic and to show who you are through your clothing because this is a way in which people will start to understand you and how you want to portray yourself as a designer.

  • You will discover there is way more to fashion design than just sewing and sketching.

I personally came from a background where I did have come basic domestic sewing knowledge, however I had never used any form of industrial sewing machine before. I was extremely lucky to scrape into the course as I did not create my folio through any school related course, I had to scrape together the work that I had done for personal purposes and collate this into a folio for course entry. This was a huge challenge and I recommend if you want to get into a fashion design course you do take a sewing class and you create your folio through a school/external course as I found it extremely challenging to do this on my own. This also made it challenging when I entered the course as I discovered most people there already knew a lot more than I did about how to create and present a design folio. I recommend you do take a course prior to commencement to make the highest quality entry folio that you can, and you will therefore be more prepared for the assessments when you get there. There is way more to fashion design than just sketching and sewing, and you will have to learn how to fill out heaps of paperwork such as design specifications and pattern specifications. Basically there is a lot of unexpected numbers and paperwork that they don’t seem to mention when you read articles and documentaries on fashion design. In my course we also learn a lot about computer aided-design and we use computer pattern making software to produce industry standard patterns. I recommend that you are good with using computers if you are planning on becoming a fashion student.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please feel free to contribute below, this article is intended to prepare you for studying fashion design and in no means do I intend to deter you from doing so if this is what you want to do with your life. I encourage all of you who believe you have what it takes to go ahead and study fashion because altogether I have loved every minute of it and it is a really rewarding industry to be a part of and I wish you all the best for your future careers in fashion! 


How to produce a fashion school worthy portfolio

There are many misconceptions held in regards to how to be accepted into a fashion course at a university level. I myself was under the belief that because I had not taken any folio electives at high school that I would no longer be able to be accepted into my dream course of fashion design at university. Well I stand here on the other side of these misconceptions, to tell you that yes, you really can get into fashion design even if you have not taken any subjects in high school that will enable you to create a folio.

If I could wind back time then my recommendations for anyone considering to study a design-based subject at university would definitely be to make sure you do take the necessary prerequisite subjects. However, if you find that you haven’t taken the right subjects and you have changed your mind – there is still time. If you do decide to create a folio on your own terms, then this is not necessarily a bad thing at all. This will distinguish your folio as it will be very different to all of the other folios that are handed in at the submission date. As long as you understand the basic necessities for folio development, then you will be noticed by assessors for your original style and choice to showcase a variety of your own works. You may be required or allowed to incorporate a short segment of text at the beginning of your folio, outlining the work you have chosen to include. Make sure that you make a point of stating in your folio description that you have done all of the work included on your own terms. This will stand out to your assessor, and may get you across the line into the course that you want to be accepted into.

It is possible to create a folio that will get you accepted into a good university fashion design course, as long as you have a couple of months to do so, and can squeeze in as much work as you can in this amount of time. I sure wouldn’t recommend this method as there is no guarantee that you will get accepted, however if fashion design is your dream like it is mine, then your mindset will probably get you over the line.

My first piece of advice for you if you have made the decision that you are going to undertake the same path that I did and create a folio externally from high school, would be to set your own “assignment briefs”, and include these in your folio. I did take a folio development short course to assist me in creating my folio run through the university that I wanted to get into. This course ran for four weeks and I went to the class each weekend and they taught me the basic structure of what was required. However this is also not compulsory, and this really can be achieved by yourself as long as you have a basic understanding of folio requirements.

In creating your own “assignment briefs”, what you want to look for is creating a goal for your work, which in turn will add structure to your folio, and you will see more of a point to what you are doing, and so will your folio assessor. In doing this I recommend choosing a starting point, for example a film you find aesthetically inspiring, or a second hand garment that has interesting design lines, and using this as a platform to create a small individual collection of garments.

My next piece of advice is to make sure that you annotate your folio, as this is the only way that you will be able to communicate to your assessor what your point is and what you were looking to achieve as you were creating each different garment idea. If you are looking to be accepted into a fashion design course, I definitely would recommend that you do include a lot of fashion sketches and design ideas into your folio, as this will communicate to your assessor that you do have an interest and a love for fashion design, and you really want to portray this through your works.

However, if you have previously taken an art based subject in school or externally, which is not fashion related, I would still recommend adding this work into your folio, as not only will this save time and allow you to add more work to your folio, but it will also showcase your other skills as a designer that can be transferred into fashion pieces. However one piece of advice I would like to convey is that definitely live by the words “quality over quantity” when it comes to your folio, particularly if you find yourself rushed for time between creating your folio and the deadline for submission. You want to showcase you design capabilities not your ability to mass produce designs that do not represent your full capabilities.

If you do decide to add mood boards/collages of inspiration into your folio, I would steer clear of including other fashion designers works into your folio, instead make sure that your draw all your inspiration from other places for example architecture, artwork, fabrics and anything other non-fashion related sources of inspiration that resonate with you as a designer. This is critical as it will ensure that your designs are both personal and original and are not just reconstructions of other fashion designers pieces.

I would recommend researching the basic elements and principles of design if this is something that is foreign to you. These elements and principles should most definitely be referred to through your annotation and sketches of garments. Make use of the elements and principles of design in order to extend and stretch your fashion sketches to their fullest and most rich potential. I would recommend that you do incorporate some computer aided design usage throughout your folio, if you are lucky enough to have a basic knowledge in this area. Design assessors really are looking to accept design students who are able to convey surprising results through their design experimentation, so do not be afraid to convey a lot of your own character and personality as a designer in your works.

Finally, do not be afraid to give it your best shot. As I stated earlier, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted the first time. However, even if do miss out initially, there is nothing wrong with reapplying at the next submission date. You can use this extra time to enroll in a folio development program or short course and hopefully you will make some connections there that will be able to assist you in the folio development process for your next attempt. Work your hardest and do not give up. Work up until the deadline and you never know what the outcome will be. You could find yourself accepted into the course of your dreams, but you will never know until you try.



Liv Perry X


Ten ways to stress less and enjoy your life more


In this crazy technologically advanced world that we live in, it is easy to get caught up in the stresses of work, life, priorities, expectations and deadlines. We often tend to focus our entire attention on these aspects of our lives – sometimes to an unhealthy extent.  I am here to remind you that yes, working hard is important. But looking after yourself is equally as important. If we forget to look after ourselves the whole balancing act will fall apart. Here is a list of ways I find helpful to unwind, refresh and regenerate myself so I am in the right mindset to tackle my weekly tasks efficiently an effectively.


1. Have a bath

Baths are the most underrated invention ever. Grab your Beyoncé playlist, a Lush bubble bath bomb (the ones with the petals are amazing!) and you are set for a solid chill sesh in the bath.

2. Go for a long walk

Leave your phone behind. Go on an adventure – explore a new place. 

3. Take a day trip to the beach

Next weekend, you are going to the beach. Sit by the beach and listen to the waves. Free your mind.

4. Create a new playlist

A really good one. I created a girl power playlist and it was life changing. Feel good playlists are honestly the best thing and they can improve your mood in seconds. I feel so much more motivated to get up and work hard after listening to my playlist.

5. Do something creative

Even if you don’t view yourself as a creative person, exercising our creative side of the brain is always beneficial and can be calming. Try beading, origami, painting, colouring in, cooking, writing a diary entry, write a song, write a poem, sketch – there are so many fun and creative things to try. You could even enroll yourself in an art class in your community. I enrolled myself in a community sewing class a few years ago and now I am studying fashion design. You never know what might become of your new hobby! Get out there and unleash your creative talents Picasso.

6. Read Something

Read anything really. It doesn’t have to be a book. I personally absolutely love Yen magazine. I highly recommend it as an alternative style magazine, and I love making collages with the old copies I own. Read a blog on a subject that interests you. Even listen to a podcast on a topic that you love. Extending your knowledge in general will improve your quality of life. Focus in on reading about what really interests you. Don’t forget about non-fiction books either. I personally absolutely love reading fashion illustration books. Read a book about starting your own business. Personal development is a great place to start. But of course any type of literature is beneficial regardless as to whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction. There is so much knowledge out there waiting for you, why waste it?

7. Take yourself on a date

Go to a cool new cafe by yourself. Wear something nice and order something even nicer. Embrace being alone, and keep that iPhone in your pocket! Embrace real life human interaction. Have a chat with the staff. It can be really refreshing, and trust me the staff will probably really enjoy meeting you and remember you for next time!

8. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages

Have a good laugh with someone that you miss. They will probably be over the moon that you took the time out of your day to re-establish the friendship. It’s a great way to relax by simply having a good vent to someone you haven’t spoken to in ages.

9. Have a glass of water

Hydrating yourself regularly is so important. I can’t stress this enough. I discovered green tea when I was taking my final year of high school. It was a total game changer. Any form of water is great for relaxation and for your overall health.

10. Exercise

Keeping yourself locked inside for days at a time will lead to feelings of negativity and lower your health levels in general. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do ten push ups. Exercise will make you feel happier. Go running. Try going down to the local pool and swimming a few laps. Exercise should be a fun thing. Grab a few friends and start a social netball team. It’s a great way to schedule in a weekly dose of exercise into your busy schedule and keep in touch with friends. You could even consider joining a local team. Get out and about and meet new people in your community. You never know what it might lead to!



Liv Perry X












How to own your first year as a fashion student

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Studying fashion design may seem like a glamorous lifestyle when observing from an external perspective. I personally envisaged killer outfits, selecting fabric and trim samples on a day to day basis, sketching perfectly framed fashion poses and sewing up whatever garment came to mind. However, throughout my first year as a fashion design student, I have learnt that yes, there are killer outfits – but there are also the days where you and your classmates all arrive at school on one hour of sleep and rock up to school in outfits more closely associated with pajamas. In order to get through your first year of fashion design, you must be in love with what you do, because it’s not easy. But if this really is your thing, then trust me you will love every second of it, and I have provided a few tips that I would recommend taking on board if you have made the decision to study fashion design at a tertiary level.

Time management is your new best friend

If time management is something you have never taken too seriously, now is the time to change that. With deadlines left, right and center you absolutely will need to make sure you know when your deadlines are, and what small steps you need to take prior to submission in order to produce results that you are proud of. This is most critical when submitting folios – I personally take out at least one hour at the start of an assessment to break down the assessment requirements and assign mini deadlines to stick to. I find tables are a great way to do this. Best of all, if you manage to stick to your mini deadlines – you won’t be working any all-nighters the night before submission!

Start saving money now!

As a uni student, this advice is more than relevant for any course. However, having a few spare pennies to purchase a coffee or a baguette for lunch always makes the day better! Fashion schools tend to have extremely intensive contact hours (the amount of time you spend on campus), and I don’t know about you, but having a something nice at lunch to look forward to always motivates me to work harder! If you try and save a certain amount each week you may even be able to consider that “study trip” to Paris too!

Wear your personality

What to wear to fashion school can initially be quite daunting. My advice is this: Don’t be afraid to wear what you REALLY like. The people that get noticed the most at fashion school quite literally wear their personality, regardless of the cost or brand of the garment. What do I mean by that? Wear exactly what you feel like wearing – even if it feels a bit quirky or risky. People will most likely love it. Today I wore a Vintage Japanese Hipster inspired outfit to class. Huge success. You get my drift.

Embrace fashion as your life style

It may already be your lifestyle – but as a fashion student this is more crucial than ever before. Attend galleries, exhibitions, go to cute eccentric cafes and don’t forget your sketchbook! You never know where you will find something that inspires you and you should always note it down in a visual diary. I highly recommend investing in a portable notebook and sketchbook so that you can document quick sketches or notes of things that inspire you on a day to day basis. You may come back to your sketchbook in a few years and use it to produce a new fashion collection. The world around you is a source of endless inspiration – Don’t waste it!


Presentation is key

I highly recommend teaching yourself more advanced fashion drawing techniques and to learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator prior to commencing study at a fashion institution. It is not crucial, however having a well presented folio definitely will get you places –  not only in school but also in the fashion industry. Having a strong skill set in presentation and layout of fashion sketches and collections will set you apart from other fashion students, and I highly recommend books such as “9 Heads” by Nancy Riegelman to get you started.



Liv Perry X

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Hello Adventure

Hello Adventure


Hello lovelies,

I would firstly like to personally welcome you to my new blog “Lifestyleliv”, and thank you for visiting. This year has been full of all kinds of new and exciting adventures for me, and I can’t even begin to tell you all how much I am looking forward to bringing you new content.

My name is Olivia Perrignon (Liv Perry) and I am in love with all things fashion and travel. I am currently studying Fashion and design technology, and I love photography and writing/expressing my thoughts, so I really hope that I am able to tie all these things together to grow and develop “lifestyleliv” into something truly wonderful.

I am hoping to bring you a fresh new spin on lifestyle and fashion blogging, and I would really appreciate any general feedback you guys have, so please feel free to leave comments and I will do my best to get back to you! My main goal for “Lifestyleliv” is to create a fun and interactive blogging community to share general thoughts and opinions on different topics centred around fashion and lifestyle. Can’t wait for what the future holds for us!

Yours truly,

Liv Perry X

Hello Adventure by oliviap97 on Polyvore