Designs capture the essence of Melbourne

Designs capture the essence of Melbourne

Meet Bachelor of Fashion (Design) students Talia Rubinstein and Lilli McKenzie who were selected to work with leading uniform company Cargo Crew to redesign the Melbourne Olympic Park uniforms.

Chosen from a group of 10 Honours students, Rubenstein and McKenzie pitched and developed their impressive designs to a panel of judges. Their uniform designs were chosen as the finalists and will equip over 1,000 staff in the Melbourne & Olympic Park sports precinct. We spoke the two finalists, about their experiences working on this exciting project. 

Blueprint of uniform design with graphic of suit jacket and trousers Blueprint of one of the management uniforms. Source: Melbourne & Olympic Parks Precinct

Can you explain how you got involved in this project?

McKenzie: Talia and I got involved in this project in our second year of the Bachelor of Fashion at RMIT in 2019. We were given the opportunity to apply in pairs to design and pitch new uniforms for the Melbourne and Olympic Parks precinct in collaboration with Cargo Crew. I think Talia would agree that it was a no brainer to apply when we were told that the winning designers would be sent to Paris during Fashion Week. But of course, the biggest win was the uniform outcome and knowing that our designs will be worn by the staff of Melbourne and Olympic Parks, for the next 20 years.

Can you explain how you and Lilli worked together during this project? 

Rubenstein: We started our design process by figuring out our colour story. Going into it we knew that the uniforms would need to be fairly simple and functional, so our colour palette was crucial. From there we drew inspiration from the Melbourne and Olympic Park precinct’s architecture to inform our signature design details such as our triangle motifs. We both collaborated on designing our colour palette and basic shapes. Lilli then mocked these up in Adobe Illustrator and I sewed garment prototypes. 

McKenzie: Talia and I were good friends prior to this project and luckily made excellent design partners in this endeavour. We worked extremely well together and knew how to play to each other's strengths, which for me was illustration and concept and for Talia it was technical construction and execution. I also think the key to our win was confidence. Confidence in our designs, knowing we had successfully met all criteria set by Melbourne and Olympic Parks, but also the confidence and trust we had in one another.

Two of the uniform designs Two of the uniforms that Talia and Lilli designed for the Melbourne & Olympic Parks Precinct. Source: Melbourne and Olympic Parks Precinct

What do you think was the most valuable thing you learnt?

McKenzie: Our top priority throughout the design process was addressing each criteria that had been set for us and not get carried away by grand ideas. Part of the brief was to design a collection of uniforms that spanned over five areas of work. So, it was important to design uniforms that were cohesive as a team, but distinguishable in their respective areas of work. We took a lot of inspiration from the precinct itself and those subtle design details were obviously appreciated by Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust. In the initial stages of conceptualising ideas for the uniforms Talia and I walked through the precinct and really documented our observations, down to the shade of blue of the tennis courts, which we later used for the Patron Services polo shirt. Triangular design was a theme used throughout our uniform's designs, seen in the print and sleeve head, inspired by the architecture of AAMI Park and John Cain arena.

Rubenstein: This experience taught us about working with a large-scale client and designing garments that would need to fit and flatter different body types. We had to make sure our designs were practical and comfortable for all day wear. 

What was your favourite part of the project?

McKenzie: I had so much fun working with Talia, and while naturally it was a very stressful and labour intense project, we were happy to give our time to a project we felt passionate about. I personally love structure within design, so being able to work to a brief of that scale and gravitas was an environment that I really thrived in. Ultimately the best part of this experience has been seeing the final uniforms come to life, and beautifully executed by the team at Cargo Crew. Cargo Crew did a fantastic job of keeping the integrity of our concept and designs down to the smallest detail.

Rubenstein: I really enjoyed the design process and working towards an industry brief. It was our first industry experience and I really enjoyed working with Melbourne and Olympic Parks and Cargo Crew as they were so passionate about the project and encouraging of us. Cargo Crew really executed our designs perfectly and we feel like our voices were really heard in this project.

The design of the new Melbourne and Olympic Park uniform was a collaborative effort, initiated by an M&OP-led Industry Partnered Project with RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles. The students’ winning designs were produced by Cargo Crew.

Story: Saskia Kostic


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.