Fashion students from RMIT’s Melbourne and Vietnam campuses have come together to investigate the truly global nature of the design process.
The cross-campus activity, which ran for the first time this year, saw students from the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) (Honours) design a garment and then liaise with students from RMIT University Vietnam on manufacturing specifications, such as fabric type, weight and colour.
With initial discussions carried out through email and social media, the collaboration continued when the group of 18 Melbourne students arrived in Vietnam for a 10-day study tour.
The initiative highlighted to the students the complementary nature of careers across the fashion design and fashion and textile merchandising industries.
RMIT lecturer Jo Cramer, from the School of Fashion and Textiles said the study tour included visits to fabric markets and garment manufacturers plus spending time working with the students in Vietnam.
"As well as the opportunity for students to share in different cultures and build relationships across campuses, it provided Melbourne students with a first-hand look into garment manufacturing," Ms Cramer said.
"Fashion design students studying in Australia don't often get this opportunity, given most garment manufacturing occurs offshore."
RMIT Vietnam lecturer Melina Silva said RMIT’s fashion and textiles merchandising courses equipped students with the skills to work with fashion designers to take designs from the sketchbook to the marketplace.
"Our graduates gain knowledge in researching the latest catwalk trends, helping to shape the design range based on what's selling well each season, providing direction for marketing campaigns as well as influencing the interior design of retails outlets," Ms Silva said.
Working on the design of a casual style woman's pant were Melbourne students Rochelle Duarte, Laksmi Deneefe Suardana and Isabelle See-Tho.
The trio collaborated with RMIT Vietnam students Nguyen Thi To Tam and Phan Hong Hanh, from RMIT’s Saigon South campus.
Ms Hanh said the opportunity to work with the students from Melbourne was an invaluable experience.
"I found it to be a very practical project, where we gained real world experience as a fashion merchandiser," she said.
"We were able to apply our knowledge from across many of our courses, such as fabric selection and converting the fashion designer's idea into reality.
"At times we faced challenges in translating and transferring the meaning and construction of the design to the manufacturer as well as needing to refine the sample to meet the designer's requirements.”
"But we really enjoyed taking on these tasks and hope there will be future opportunities for collaboration."
Melbourne student Rochelle Duarte said the study tour was a great learning experience.
"It was the first time we put together specification sheets for a garment, visited fabric wholesalers and met with industry professionals at garment manufacturers," Ms Duarte said.
"It was also fantastic to end up with a completed sample garment to take back to Australia.
"We did have some initial language challenges with terminology used in the brief but we worked around these through visual and written communication.
"We've learnt so much throughout the whole experience and we're really happy with the end result."