Fashion forward: RMIT student wins Melbourne Fashion Week award

An RMIT student has won the prestigious student award at Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW) for her Choose Your Own Adventure-inspired project.

Award-winning fashion student Helena Dong.

Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) student Helena Dong was announced as the winner during the MSW student runway at Melbourne town hall on September 5.  

Her collection, titled ‘The Practice of an Internal Dialogue’, explores the relational experience of alternative modes of fashion presentation adopting the form of an interplay that aims to amplify the various roles within a traditional fashion performance: designer, performer, viewer, and garment.

Through an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure narrative, the wearer is positioned as integral in the styling and configuration of the garments. 

The story draws on Dong’s childhood experiences migrating to Australia and explores themes of independence, vulnerability, chaos and resourcefulness.

Garment outcomes are ‘playable’ through an online text-and image-based game and, just like the iconic Choose Your Own Adventure books, there’s plenty of choice: wearers have 62 possible garment endings.

The work of RMIT designers, from left to right Claire Myers, Kristen Frewen, Navarone Johnson, Ruoyu (Yumi) Wang and Jordana Halperin (final three garments), on show at the MFW 2018 Student Runway. Photo: Lucas Dawson Photography.

The student runway showcases the creativity and daring of student designs, while giving fashion aficionados a tantalising glimpse of the potential ‘next big thing’ in Australian fashion.

The judging panel assessed the five finalists on their demonstrated excellence in

research and development of fashion design, fashion innovation, quality and attention to detail and potential to contribute to the future growth of the Victorian and Australian fashion industry.

Dong’s prize includes an internship at Fitzroy-based womenswear label bul and industry mentoring through the Australian Fashion Council.  

Fellow RMIT students Navarone Temple and Hannah Berry were also finalists in the prestigious award, which is now in its 13th year.

All three RMIT students’ collections were created as part of their final year major design project.

Story: Amelia Harris

11 September 2018


11 September 2018


  • Arts and culture
  • Design

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