The Future of Fashion – Wearable Technology the new craze

Forget the ‘geekiness’ that you usually associate with all things technological and imagine a beautifully tailored jacket that acts as a GPS, stylish garments that look fabulous, and keep you warm with the use of intelligent fibres.  Underwear that can keep you in touch, even when your better half is far away. Wearable technologies for use on the body are no longer fantasy – Wearable technology is a product of today.

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the world’s largest technology tradeshow held in Las Vegas in January this year has solidified this market trend. Over 150 thousand people visited the event, which gathered 3,200 new businesses. About 20 thousand products were presented with varied functions, among them were many examples of wearable technologies.

One of the biggest trends focused on the replacement of the smartphone itself. Think about the movie Her (2013). In the ‘not your typical futuristic movie’ Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) “falls in love with his new operating system designed to meet his every need.” (IMDb). The movie portrays a future in which people go about their daily physical lives whilst talking to tiny ear devices that are commanded by voice in a truly hands free future.

But is there a market for all these innovations? In the early days of most technologies, there is a phase where the new contraptions are used more as gimmicks than tools. The Las Vegas CES showcased more than 20 000 products and surely not all of them can become successful. Once the technology is developed, the next step is to find out how to use it for the right purpose. Here are 5 great examples of companies that have found their way:

  1. Start-up Wearable Solar is using the technology to make lightweight wired garments that enable the wearer to charge a smartphone up to 50 percent if worn in the sun for a full hour.
  2. In his fall 2013 collection, fashion designer Asher Levine included tracking chips that let items be located by the owner using a customized TrackR app.
  3. Adafruit, a company that sells DIY electronics and kits, has built a helmet to help make that process more efficient. It has a built-in navigation system that uses lights that flash on the left or right to let the rider know where to turn.
  4. Fitbit, Nike’s FuelBand analyses your daily activity and track your weight.
  5. Fundawear is the world’s first wearable technology which allows personal touch to be transferred from a smartphone app to a partner anywhere in the world.
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The many facets of a fashion degree

“Take every single bit of criticism and alter it to become advice. Every day is a learning experience and these people have been a part of the industry far longer than I have, so I’m going to value that they’ve taken the time to come and speak to me about how it all is going!”

-          Marie Antoniou, Whitehouse Graduate

When Marie Antoniou started her Bachelor of Design, specialising in Fashion, at Whitehouse Institute of Design in 2008, the vision she had of her future was of her own designer fashion label. Many fashion students at Whitehouse start off with this professional dream – after all, the glitz and glamour of being a fashion designer is particularly alluring. Fashion Design is one of the most sought after careers in Australia, and although there are plenty of opportunities for budding Australian designers, there are a multitude of other roles within the fashion industry that are lesser known but equally rewarding. One of the beauties of going through fashion school is learning a set of skills that prepares you for a fashion career with numerous possible outcomes. Three years after Marie graduated from Whitehouse, she tells us in a candid interview about her journey and how she found her fashion calling as a Visual Merchandiser for David Jones.

WH. So, what does a Visual Merchandiser (VM) do?

M.A. Being a visual merchandiser means more than creating amazing windows and in-store displays with mannequins. They are two of my favourite parts of the job, of course, but the job comes with the responsibility of exampling and displaying each individual brand as per the designer’s standard and the standard of the department store. Breaking that down further to the correct brand signage, updated brand collection groupings and overall styling in a safe and secure manner that prevents theft and promotes sales. Ultimately it is all about drawing the customer into the store and keeping them intrigued by the styling work created by VM!

Windows are a main focus of what we do at the Elizabeth Street David Jones store. They are propped out amazingly by national VM and we work with their vision to pull the stock that binds it all together.

WH. Tell us what is a typical day at work?

M.A. Any visual merchandiser will tell you this; no two days are ever the same! On a typical day, we’ll ensure the jobs we had completed the day before haven’t been altered by staff or customers and if so, reinstating them to the original vision. We will take the directive of national VM and work that in with any new brands that need to be displayed. We have to constantly refresh the floors to maintain interest in the stock. Other than that it’s a hell of a lot of fun because you will go in and await for instructions from your trusty leader (manager)!

WH. What is the most exciting thing you have done as a VM so far?

M.A. By far the most exciting thing I have been a part of has been working on the Flower Show that runs through the store and the windows through September! It’s so bright and awe-inspiring to watch the florists work their magic and to be able to mix fashion in just ticks all the boxes for me personally! Bump out is one of the most draining parts of the job but in all honesty, one of the funniest! It could be the delirious exhaustion of working crazy hours, but I wouldn’t have changed that entire experience at all.

WH. What is the best and the not so great part of life as a VM?

M.A. The greatest part is hearing and seeing people take notice of your work. Noticing people take photos of your window and popping it up on their Instagram or Pinterest really excites me!

The not so great part of the job comes down to three little words; ‘one day offer’. Spending excessive amounts of your day putting out signage and ticketing around a flagship store knowing you’re only going to have to take it down the next day is something I find really irritating! Great for the store though!

WH. Have you met any fashion celebrities yet?

M.A. I did run into Joel Madden the other day in the store! Other than that, buyers will often walk through the store with designers and discuss how their brand is going. We will generally get the feedback from them about how it’s all going and what/if anything needs to be changed.

WH. Have you ever had a ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ moment in your fashion career?

M.A. Hahahaha! Haven’t we all in the fashion industry!!! God the amount of times I’ve had to change a grouping because of the tiniest things is ridiculous. But hey, we just gotta roll with the punches!

WH. How do you handle criticism?

M.A. With a smile and a nod – Take every single bit of criticism and alter it to become advice. You are only as weak as you’ll allow yourself to be and somebody having an opinion on your work isn’t going to break me down. Every day is a learning experience and these people have been a part of the industry far longer than I have, so I’m going to value that they’ve taken the time to come and speak to me about how it all is going!

WH. You enrolled as a fashion student at Whitehouse in 2008, back then, what were your professional dreams?

M.A. My dreams were to work in a fashion house and work up to a designer position! But after interning at some fashion houses I realised how much I disliked the environment and changed to VM!

WH. What happened to you after you graduated?

M.A. After graduation I continued to intern and work. I worked at Telstra for a couple of years after I graduated then decided to travel through Europe and when I came back, I worked my way into visual merchandising with Telstra then progressed to where I am today with David Jones!

WH. How did you become a VM?

M.A. I worked my way into it with Telstra then scored the job I have now with David Jones! It’s as simple as that!

WH. What is your advice for the fashion students that will start their first year this month?

M.A. Try and have a clear idea of what you want to do but always try and absorb inspiration from those/everything around you.

WH. And what would you like to tell the fashion graduates of 2013?

M.A. Intern. Intern. Intern!!! Get as much exposure to the industry as you can and then row from there. It’s not about landing yourself a job as soon as you finish, it’s about letting yourself discover what you love! It took me three years after I graduated to figure out that I loved VM!

WH. What are your plans for the future?

M.A. I want to progress into a national VM role and develop my skills as much as I possibly can!! Hopefully then I’ll be able to pass on my knowledge to others who want to grow!

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Why Blue Jasmine wanted to be an Interior designer

Wannabe interior designer Jasmine (Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine)

There is an air of glamour that surrounds design professions. In Australia, one of the hottest career paths at the moment is Interior Design. With TV shows such as Extreme Makeover – Home Edition, Grand Designs and The Block, networks have wooed their audiences by displaying the work of magic that an Interior Designer can cast upon any sad looking old house. This love affair between the audience and the Interior Designer has created many overnight sensations such as Thom Filicia and Nate Berkus.

The glamour and the assumed lavish lifestyle of the profession seduced one of Woody Allen’s most animated characters – Blue Jasmine. Played with excellence by our beloved Cate Blanchett, the delirious and depressed former socialite dreamed of becoming an interior decorator and now you will find out why.

With an average salary in Australia of $79,784.07 per annum (source: mycareer) it’s not surprising that so many creative young Australians are choosing this exciting career path.  We spoke to a few of our Interior Design alumni students  who have been working in the industry since graduating from Whitehouse, and here’s what they had to say about why they love what they do…

  1. Independence – As an Interior designer, you can dictate your own schedule. You can choose to work from home or in a studio, you can choose between part time or full time job loads and you can choose to work for yourself, for a small firm or a bigger company.  You can also undertake freelance gigs in addition to your day job.
  2. Excitement – Imagine the excitement of working on a new project.  From designing a brand new hotel to the simple task of reinventing a friend’s bathroom. Even if you start your career designing 10 new bathrooms every month, no project will ever be the same.
  3. It’s the profession of the future – Here is one thing that will never change: unless we experience another Big Bang, Earth isn’t getting any bigger. That means that in the future, buildings will have to be redesigned, because there  is not enough space to keep building more.
  4. Creative Freedom – If you have a creative mind, it is likely that all those crazy ideas that pop into your head and keep you awake at night are in need of a place to go. Using your eye for colour and space and your love for design to create beautiful spaces for your clients is super rewarding and let’s face it, getting paid for doing something that you love is a pretty sweet deal!

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Year of the Paperboy!

For recent Whitehouse graduate Amie Jones 2013 will be a hard year to top. Along with being named the Designer of the Year from third year Creative Direction and Styling, Amie also won a prestigious award with the Australian Fashion Foundation. Out of 20 finalists, she was selected as a joint winner of a 6 month internship in either Europe or New York and received a healthy cheque to help kickstart her creative ventures. With her portfolio in toe, and a wanderlust for New York, we started the new year asking Amie what she plans to be doing in 2014.

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A Night In White

For the past 25 years, the common launchpad in some of Australia’s brightest, emerging young designers has been one place: Whitehouse Institute of Design, Australia. On December 2nd, we will officially mark 25 years of providing excellence in design education with a celebration, ‘A Night in White’.

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Book of the Week: The Sustainable Fashion Handbook – Sandy Black

‘From Katherine Hamnett printed T-shirt, to Vivienne Westwood’s stance against global warming, the author questions the sustainability of fashion and its key players’– AnOther Magazine

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Yin Ye Resilience

In little over 24 hours, Whitehouse third year Fashion student Yin Ye will compete against 49 other aspiring designers in the Arts of Fashion Foundation competition in San Francisco. It’s taken a whole year  of pattern making, draping and late hours of sewing in the studio by dimming lights for Yin Ye to produce her fabulous garments.

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Whitehouse at Grand Designs Live 2013 – Olivia Daniele

Grand Designs Live 2013 has shifted cities, with Melbourne offered their chance to impress – and we’re excited for you to see our student’s room! The Grand Designs Live Melbourne entrant in the Rooms by Design competition is Olivia Daniele, fresh from winning the Domayne Designer Discovery award, and will display this winning design style in her room Aura Aura. Before the event opens this Friday (October 25th), we sat down for a Q+A with Olivia Daniele to discuss what makes her interior a winning room.


Whitehouse: How did you get involved in Grand Designs?


Olivia Daniele: My [lecturer] had told us about the opportunity in class. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved with Grand Designs. I love both the Australian and English shows and I also helped out the girls from last year create their spaces. It was really fun and the outcomes where incredible!


W: What has the collaboration with Whitehouse teaching staff been like?


OD: Great, they are really enthusiastic about helping create the best space I can. Giving me great advice both creatively and the functionality of my bathroom.


W: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve needed to overcome so far?

OD: Ah… that would have to be the process of working out the dimensions of the space! Creatively I am really comfortable, styling and creating this beautiful space, but when it comes to finding out what the measurements for things, its a little different! Thankfully I have a great people behind me to help out.


W: How would you classify your design style?


OD: My style is a mix between edgy, contemporary and a hint of organic celebration. Taking pride in the abstract and avant-garde, my style is simple but creative.


W: What would you say is the overall focus, or intention with your space?


OD: The intention for the space is going to be cleansing space with organic properties, a place of ritual to cleanse ones self in there own place of worship. Aura Aura is a cleansing zone to bathe the body, to rid yourself of impurities both inside and out. Filled with live greenery, smooth finishes and cool lighting, getting away from the harsh work world and get back to nature: To purify your mind, body and soul.


W: What do you think will set your design apart?


OD: The style of the space isn’t your ordinary look for a bathroom. It’s organic and fresh, my design sets itself apart by its outdoor look, filled with both vertical greenery’s and textured walls it creates a place of luxury.


W: What do you hope to achieve from this Grand Designs Live?


OD: Basically a space that I am truly happy with: I would love people to view the space a think “hey, I could do that in my own home!” So far the process has been really insightful about interior styling works, design wise it has pushed the limits of my own style. I cant wait to see how it turns out.

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The Winner of Domayne Design Discovery Award is…

Congratulations to Olivia Daniele from Third Year Creative Direction and Styling! Olivia, from Whitehouse Melbourne campus, beat out fierce competition to be crowned winner of the Domayne Design Discovery Award 2013. We must also make an admirable mention to the the four runners up – Casey Simms, Ruby Keddie (both from Sydney), Larissa Ryan and Ashlea Hawkins (both from Melbourne). The competition brief was to style an interior based on the three Summer themes from Domayne. As part of the competition, the rooms were  shot  for the November 2013 issue of Home Beautiful magazine. Grab yourself a copy and see which was your favourite room.

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Whitehouse at Grand Designs LIVE 2013 – Casey Sims

There’s just one week left until Grand Designs Live 2013!  Before you see the rooms at Grand Designs, we sat down for a Q+A with our students in the Rooms by Design competition. From Sydney is the very talented Casey Simms, third year Creative Direction and Styling, to talk about her room: Effervessance.


Whitehouse: How did you get involved in Grand Designs?

Casey Sims: After having success in another interior design competition it was suggested to me the Grand Designs might be something fantastic for me to get involved with.


WH: What has the collaboration with Whitehouse teaching staff been like?

CS: Collaborating so far has been fantastic. Its a huge project, and having the support from Luke with twice weekly meetings has really helped the whole process run smoothly.


WH: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve needed to overcome so far?

CS: As a Creative Direction student the biggest challenge has most certainly been juggling this and my major work all at the same time as well as dealing with my lack of technical interiors knowledge.


WH: How would you classify your design style?

CS: I’d classify my design style eclectic, elegant, exuberant and unexpected.


WH: What would you say is the overall focus, or intention with your space?

CS: Effervescence is a space to cleanse the mind, body and creative soul, the design intention was to create a retreat like space which provided the feeling of being within your own personal bubble.


WH: What do you think will set your design apart?

CS: What will set my design apart is the mix of patterns, textures, styles, shapes and colours. Its a room that is at once modern, classic, eclectic and sustainable.


WH: What do you hope to achieve from this Grand Designs live?

CS: I really hope to achieve not only a room that I love but a room that others really enjoy and want to engage with. I’d also like the chance to be involved with the interior design industry on a more long term basis, and of course I want to go to London!


Grand Designs Live is showing in Sydney from October 18-20 at the exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour.

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