Cinderella story: students design garments for Disney 100-year celebration 

Cinderella story: students design garments for Disney 100-year celebration 

Vocational Education students have embraced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Disney to design garments for public showcase celebrating 100 years of the iconic brand.

Earlier this year, Disney challenged students enrolled in the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology to design garments as part of the local celebration of Disney’s 100th Anniversary.   

Students could choose their inspiration from six classic Disney moments from across its vast catalogue.  

The results of this challenge have culminated in a fashion showcase of final student works put on display at Westfield Southland, which launched at an exclusive preview party.   

The pop-up showcase will be on display until October 5, with the students’ garments on display to thousands of passing shoppers.  

13 September 2023


Crowd of people at pop-up showcase in shopping centre. The pop-up at Westfield Southland showcasing students' final works.

Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Products Commercialisation at The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand, Tim Everett, said he was happy to see a local project like this come to life.   

“We tasked the students at RMIT with presenting their spin on much-loved characters and films – which is no mean feat – and they have in turn created a wonderful and visually stimulating collection of outfits that present their take on what Disney means to them,” said Everett.   

“I am so happy to see such a wonderful local project come to light that really showcases the future generation of Australian fashion designers.  

Program Manager Fashion Design and Technology, Katrina Rose, said the project designs were based on Disney moments that spoke to the students personally.   

“The project was about individual students being able to design something that's connected to a movie that speaks to them personally, and has allowed them to share their moment with a greater audience,” said Rose.

“The students took the brief and they delivered at a level that was even above and beyond their pattern making and sewing abilities,” said Rose.  

A soft landing: guiding the students through design and production 

Second-year student Zoe Harrup chose Peter Pan as inspiration for her moment, specifically the scene where Peter and Wendy are flying out of the window, towards the beginning of the film. 

“In that scene, one of the things that pops up is one of the children has an umbrella and while they're flying to Neverland, his umbrella pops open as he floats down towards the ground, acting like a parachute,” said Harrup.  

“I thought that was an interesting silhouette to play with, so the core feature of my design is that I have this really 3D skirt. It's quite short and it looks like an umbrella with sparkly fabric.” 

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse figurines Disney allowed students special access to their original designs as part of the project.

Industry-readiness at the heart of the project 

Disney allowed students special access to their original designs, as well as offering technical advice and guidance through the design and production process. 

The months-long journey from concept to completion was an immersive and hands-on real-world experience for students in the Associate Degree Fashion and Technology. 

“An associate degree in Vocational Education is grounded in commercial reality,” said Rose. 

Aiden Lim, another of the participating students, said that the experience had been great.  

“Studying this course helps me with understanding a lot of the technical construction of the garment, like jackets, dresses, or tops and bottoms. We learn a lot, and all the attachment is way more complex than I thought.” 

Gemma Clearwater, a second-year student, expressed how this project has helped her attention to detail.  

“We’re doing it for a client so everything has to be perfect, like perfect. Learning this I was like ‘oh my god, my whole world has changed!’” she explained. 

“Before I did this course, I'd be selling something and the seam would be, for example, five centimetres off and I would think ‘I'll just cut it off, it’s fine, I’ll just make it match’. I’ve learned details like that they are critical.” 

Mish Eastman speaking in front of mannequins featuring student designs Mish Eastman, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Vocational Education and Vice President, speaking at the opening of the pop-up.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Vocational Education and Vice President at RMIT, Mish Eastman, expressed how the project was beneficial for RMIT.  

"It's fantastic for our vocational education students to get hands-on experience working with one of the world's biggest brands,” said Eastman.  

"It’s a pleasure to see the excitement of our students as they present their designs to a client that is sure to be close to their hearts.”  

Get involved in the Associate Degree of Fashion and Technology in 2024.


Story by: Finn Devlin

13 September 2023


  • Design
  • fashion

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Acknowledgement of Country

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.