RMIT graduate Talisa Trantino will launch her design career on the world stage after being awarded Australia's top fashion scholarship.
Ms Trantino is the joint winner of the 2013-14 Australian Fashion Foundation scholarship, receiving $20,000 and a six-month internship in the United States or Europe.
She is the fourth RMIT Bachelor of Design (Fashion) graduate to win the AUSFF scholarship, following in the footsteps of Natasha Fagg (2012), Laura Wade (2011) and Georgia Lazzaro (2010).
Ms Trantino shared the prestigious award with Sydney-based creative director Amie Jones.
AUSFF co-founder Malcolm Carfrae said: "Talisa and Amie both demonstrated a 360-degree view of the industry and a multi-dimensional approach to fashion.
"Their submissions showed variety, innovation and both were excellent self-marketers."
Ms Trantino is currently considering the location for her internship, with guidance from the AUSFF.
"Having just graduated from RMIT and now as an emerging designer, this opportunity to choose where I would like to intern is truly incredible," she said.
"AUSFF is a phenomenal foundation fostering the next generation of designers and it is a true testament to its co-founders, Malcolm Carfrae and Julie Ann Quay.
"I have been interested in the foundation since my first year at RMIT, so to have been awarded this opportunity is such an honour."
Driven by the duality of the traditional and the contemporary, Ms Trantino's work merges technology and artisanal technique with a design practice heavily influenced by art direction.
She said studying fashion at RMIT surpassed her expectations, offering myriad opportunities to flex her creativity and experiment with new technologies.
"The fashion program is phenomenally creative, intellectual and business savvy with such dimension that at no point do you ever feel fashion is a glamorous industry, which is perhaps a misperception too often attached to the industry," Ms Trantino said.
"RMIT encourages a strong interface with both local and global industry, but more importantly they drive us as the next generation of designers with forward thinking and advanced technology.
"In my final year, for example, I was able to experiment with a vacuum form machine - which is typically used by industrial design students to form plastic over objects - to create textural impressions on cloth.
"Fashion at RMIT is undeniably a very demanding course but when you love what you do, you thrive in that environment."
Ms Trantino spent a semester of her degree overseas after being chosen for a prestigious study exchange to Parsons The New School for Design in New York.
"It came at a good time for me, as I'd reached a point where I felt burnt out and questioned how I would regain my creative spark," she said.
"I yearned for an experience that would open my eyes to design abroad but also give me the opportunity to grow as a person and designer.
"New York ignited that energy back into my thinking and also gave me a deeper appreciation of what I had at RMIT.
"The experience was such a defining and memorable moment for me, particularly catapulting me into what was a challenging but exciting fourth and final year."
Associate Professor Robyn Healy, Acting Head of the Fashion and Textiles, congratulated Ms Trantino on her success.
"RMIT Fashion and Textiles is at the forefront of global fashion education," Associate Professor Healy said.
"Our graduates have now won the prestigious AUSFF scholarship four years in a row - a testament to the innovative and industry-relevant approach to fashion at RMIT.
"We are proud to have nurtured talented designers like Talisa and look forward to following her career in fashion as it develops in the years ahead."
The cocktail party to announce the AUSFF winners was held at the Royal Hotel in Paddington, Sydney, in partnership with The Woolmark Company.
Judges present on the night included Malcolm Carfrae, Chief Communications Officer and Executive Vice President at Calvin Klein Inc, Conde Nast Asia's Nancy Pilcher Fashion designer Dion Lee, blogger and stylist Romy Frydman, myTheresa.com's Director of Communications, Anthony Kendal, and The Woolmark Company's Director of the Americas, Michelle Lee.
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