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Today we profile one of our Industry Partner Awards (IPA) projects for 2015.  Lecturer Verity Prideaux shares the story behind this successful collaboration:

Back in semester 1, second year BATD students commenced Fusion where we were very lucky to have Banita Leong from Tranzbiz as well as Five P Venture – an Indian based initiative that supports handloom weaving and traditional textile skills – partner with the project.




This was a fashion brief with a challenging twist that had students designing textile concepts for the Indian market. The aim being to develop a themed contemporary collection of fabric, swatches and paper based textile designs for the traditional saree, choli and petticoat silhouette. In designing the textiles students considered artisan production techniques such as handloom weaving, blockprint and embroidery with the intent that the concepts could be offered to Indian SME’s for translation and interpretation.




Banita Leong with BATD students Ruby, Gabi, Pip, Maddy and Tegan demonstrating different saree drapes and styles.


During the project briefing with Five P creative director Banita Leong, students were educated about the traditions of the saree, its timeless elegance and versatility. Banita enthusiastically related how a model of social entrepreneurship can fit within the fashion and textile industry. Including the role textile designers can play in this model through opportunities to collaborate with artisans and heritage techniques. Within this context the project raised issues for the students on ethical design practice including designing for craft techniques, the welfare of the artisans and the representation of heritage skills in the fashion market.

Based in Tamil Nadu, India, the Five P concept aims to empower the heritage skills and traditional craft systems of villagers to help them achieve economic self-reliance and prosperity. Five P believes that a contemporary approach to design will appeal to a new generation who has not been exposed to handloom products – enabling them to discover the cloths unique identity and expression.


Main Image 5PVENTURE


Five P partnered with RMIT BATD students to explore a juxtaposition of global and Indian trends, they are interested in how students Australian/Western skills, style and approach translates to designing textiles and garment styling for traditional Indian artisan techniques and dress silhouettes.

The project ran for 8 weeks and as part of the final submission in June, students presented their concepts to Banita and a panel of Industry judges including Georgia Chapman and Marijke Arkley. 8 students were shortlisted and 3 monetary prizes awarded as part of the Open House event last week. Congratulations to Gabriela Draffen, Jade Kentish-Barnes and Maria Dare.



First prize was awarded to Gabi Draffen for ‘Colour Block’





Second prize was awarded to Jade Kentish Barnes for ‘Postal Service’


Third prize was awarded to Maria Dare for ‘The Art of Deception’


The Fusion student design outcomes are presently in India and have been shown to a variety of SME handloom societies and organisations. This designer-artisan exchange with Five P allows craftspeople to access and interpret a range of contemporary concepts and a rare opportunity for our students to see their textile designs translated into weave, print and embroidery.

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