I recently interviewed Lina Gaviria; a former MFI student who completed the Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology (MST30816) last year.
Lina was not only successful in completing her qualification at MFI last year, she was also successful in securing a job at The Country Road Group as a Design Assistant for (sub label) Witchery.
Now six months on, Lina couldn’t be happier! I had a chat with her about her role at Witchery, what she has planned for the future, her experience studying at MFI, and what advice she could give to others thinking about studying the Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology.
What were you doing before you enrolled at MFI?
Before I came to Australia in 2015, I was studying fashion in Colombia. When I got to Australia I worked in retail for a year, then I was able to get a short production internship with Australian label, Obus. Once I’d finished that, I knew I wanted to continue studying fashion here in Australia, so I started looking at different courses; I wanted to find the best route for me to get a job in the industry, and something that was practical.
Why did you decide to study at MFI? What was it about the Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology that appealed to you?
I came across MFI because I was looking for a practical course which focused on teaching industry skills, and that I could complete in a year. I already had some knowledge in fashion theory from when I studied in Colombia, so I wanted something hands-on that would give me the skills I needed to get a job in the Australian fashion industry.
I found the Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising on MFI’s website and thought it sounded exactly like what I wanted. I went along to an Info Night and spoke to some of the mentors, and that’s when I knew the course was right for me.
Another thing that appealed to me was the fee structure; because I’m an international student, I found it difficult to find other institutions that would allow me to pay my course fees through a monthly instalment like MFI do. It made it much more affordable for me.
What have you learnt in the course that has inspired you?
I found a lot of inspiration in the subject Fashion Design, and CAD (Computer Aided Design and Illustration). They both helped to give me direction, and learn what I love and what I’m good at. The mentors have a lot of passion for what they do, which translates to the students.
What is your position at Witchery?
I am a Design Assistant for the Soft Dressing category, which includes shirts and dresses, but I work specifically in dresses.
Tell me about your job role. What is a typical day at work like at Witchery?
My role is to assist the designers throughout the design and production process. No two days are the same, but some of my responsibilities include; creating moodboards for trend forecasting and research, assisting in range planning by creating CAD illustrations, creating tech packs for our suppliers, and communicating with suppliers regularly.
What are some of the things you love about your job?
I love how varied my role is; every day is different. In particular though, I love the design process. I get to be involved in finding new trends, and working out how we can reinvent old trends or best sellers. I also really enjoy communicating with our suppliers; it keeps me active and organised every day.
At the moment I’m still getting to know the brand and our customer, so I’m learning how to shift my perspective and create designs for our customer, instead of for me. It can be a challenge, but I think it’s an important skill; I love it.
Tell me one thing you learned in the course at MFI that has been invaluable in your current role?
My role relies a lot on the skills I learnt in CAD and Fashion Design (subjects). I create a lot of CAD illustrations, and the way I learnt to do them at MFI has made a huge difference. When I think about what set me apart from the other applicants, the skills I showed in CAD is one of them. My mentors also taught me to create and present my designs to industry standard; whenever I present something I know it has to be cohesive, have a clear purpose, and look professional.
The course was very practical, and the skills I learnt are based in industry; that’s why I chose it! Ultimately, I wanted to get a job as soon as possible, but I often think that I’d love to come back and continue studying.
What are your future plans and career goals?
In the short term, I want to succeed in my current role; I’m still so new to the role, and I’m learning so much. Hopefully in the future I can move into a bigger design role within the company. I’d also like to eventually look more into the business side of fashion, so I’ve been thinking that I will come back to MFI and study the Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (Fashion Business Stream) at night. In the long term, I’ve always wanted to start my own label.
What did you love about studying at MFI?
My mentors! They were all incredible, each in different ways; they were creative, industry-focused, and nurturing, and they were all professional and taught me current industry-based skills.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying the Certificate III Applied Fashion Design and Technology at MFI?
Give your best from the very beginning, and take the most you can from the course; ask questions in class, and talk to your mentors about your ideas. It’s also important to treat it like a professional environment; if you have a deadline for an assessment, make sure you work to your deadline and come up with something professional, because that’s exactly what will happen in industry.
To enquire or enrol in a course, call (03) 8669 1530 or visit this link to send an enquiry.