RMIT graduate Caitlin Holstock is heading to Miami this week to see her Dreamtime-inspired design represent Australia at the Miss Universe contest.
Miss Australia, Tegan Martin, will wear a gown designed by Ms Holstock at the international beauty pageant on Sunday.
Ms Holstock, a Bachelor of Applied Science (Fashion Technology) graduate, said words could not describe how grateful she was to have her design chosen to represent her country.
“I was just happy to be chosen as one of the top four in Australia, but to have my design chosen to represent Australia really is a dream come true,” she said.
The costume design beat three other entries, including designs inspired by corrugated iron and wildlife warrior Steve Irwin.
The Dreamtime costume was selected after a vote involving members of the general public and viewers of Channel 7’s morning breakfast program, Sunrise.
Ms Holstock said the design was based on indigenous art, painted in the late nineteenth century.
Esteemed Victorian indigenous leader William Barak, whose art inspired the design, was an elder of the Yarra Yarra tribe in Melbourne.
He was a renowned artist and storyteller and became a prominent figure in the Victorian and national struggle for Aboriginal rights and justice.
Ms Holstock said she was privileged to have been allowed to represent Australia’s Indigenous heritage in the Dreamtime design.
“Barak’s painting on its own is a brilliant piece of artwork, but it also gives history and a balance to my design,” she said.
The remainder of Ms Holstock’s design comprised of an ochre colour bodice and skirt embellished with clay beading and indigenous drawings.
She said she hoped to represent the deep intense colours and intense landscape of Australia.
“This is the country we live in and we’re very proud to call home,” she said.
Fashion Design and Technology Program Manager at RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles, Mandy Penton, said Ms Holstock had always been regarded as a student with a bright future.
“Caitlin was always a very creative designer and it’s fantastic to see her putting her ideas into practice,” she said.
“Our fashion and textiles school is at the forefront of global design and innovation practices, and Caitlin’s design represents all that we strive to instil in our students.”
Ms Holstock is travelling to Miami for the 63rd Miss Universe pageant on 25 January and hopes the exposure will lead to further career opportunities.