Designer Ruvini Jayasekara discusses how RMIT’s international reputation and connections with industry prepare students for a global career in fashion.
RMIT’s Master of Fashion (Design) has provided Ruvini with a platform to extend her fashion practice, and to explore material properties, folding techniques and the visual rhythm evoked by the body’s natural curves.
Her designs graced the runway at CLASH, the RMIT Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Show, which was held at Melbourne’s iconic MPavilion on 16 November 2016.
When did you realise you wanted to be a fashion designer?
From childhood, I always wanted to design the dresses I wear. My mum taught me how to do dressmaking and sewing when I was 10-12 years old, so I’ve always been good at it, and as I grew older I started to make my own garments.
At high school, I choose subjects that would allow me to apply for the Fashion Design University in Sri Lanka. I realised that I choose the correct path because it really enhanced my capabilities and ambition.
Why did you choose to study in Australia at RMIT as opposed to studying in Europe or America?
RMIT is one of the ten best schools for fashion design in the world. I always had in mind that someday I would do my masters at RMIT, because of its recognition and the quality of education offered to students.
As an international student it can be quite hard to balance educational and financial necessities, but living in Melbourne makes things a lot easier. Australia offers much better living conditions for students and temporary residents as opposed to Europe or America.
Tell me about your design ethos. What underpins and drives your work?
My practice is about developing new ways in fashion for how specific constructions and techniques can enhance material properties through experimental and collaborative work.
How is studying a Master of Fashion (Design) at RMIT beneficial for your career?
RMIT is ranked as one of the top ten fashion schools in the world, and it has global influence on fashion in the conceptual and industrial spaces. In such an environment there is a lot of potential to better understand the fashion business and master your craft.
Going back to Sri Lanka with a Master of Fashion (Design) degree from RMIT will give me a greater reputation, better career opportunities and will help me establish myself as a designer.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation I intend to find a job as a fashion designer at a high-end Australian fashion label, and then after that I will look for opportunities in Europe to broaden my experience and exposure.
In two or three years I plan to do a PhD at RMIT based on my practice, and then I would be interested in teaching design either in Sri Lanka or Melbourne.
What piece of advice would you offer someone considering a career in fashion?
If you feel you have the talent, strength and commitment for fashion design, your choice of educational institution is essential. You need to go somewhere with recognition and connections in the industry.
Starting your own brand or label without ample experience in how fashion businesses run will usually end in failure, so having extensive study and work experience is a must.