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Phoenix rises to the occasion

Following in the footsteps of his idols Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, Phoenix Parrah-Huynh is keen to make his mark in the industry he loves.

"Fashion has always been a bit of an instinct for me. It's been something that has run in my family, so it feels very natural for me to gravitate towards fashion," Phoenix said.

Like many fashion students, Phoenix has been influenced by some of the biggest names in the industry.

"I love people like Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent who have made such a big impact in the fashion world in the last 50 years. They have been a massive influence and they're the reason why I'm here," he continued.

But it's not just designers from longstanding fashion houses that are influencing Phoenix's designs. He's also gained inspiration from the growing trend towards more gender-neutral and feminine clothing for men.

"It's definitely this kind of rebirth that's happening in men's fashion at the moment. You see people like Harry Styles and Lil Nas X expressing themselves. I think it's a great time for designing men's fashion."

"I think one day, men will be wearing the most fabulous gowns and there will be no stigma, no judgment, just admiration," he said.

It's a growing trend that Phoenix was excited to be able to delve into in his major assessment.

"We get to have a lot of freedom when it comes to our design project. At the moment I'm doing a lot of menswear, which a lot of the fashion industry don't get to explore as much. I found that it's really interesting and it's a great opportunity to not just do women's wear, but to explore other aspects of fashion as well."

As Phoenix nears the end of his Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (MST60119), he's excited about putting the hands-on skills he learnt throughout his course into practice.

"When I started the course, we were sewing from day one, pattern making from day one. The practical skills start straight away. You don't just go to classroom and bring a book, or research, you do it straightaway," he said.

This hands-on training in industry-standard facilities has prepared Phoenix to hit the ground running when he graduates.

"The fashion industry can be extremely tough for a lot of young people starting out. Having those practical skill does elevate you to the next level and gives you a bit more confidence when you're first starting out in the fashion industry," he said.

His teachers have also been a critical part in helping him succeed throughout his study journey.

"The staff are absolutely amazing. They've all been very supportive of my whole journey here at TAFE. If I'm stuck on something, I feel like I can always approach the teachers for additional support. I'm grateful for the knowledge that they've passed on to me."

Phoenix is currently preparing for his end-of-year showcase, an event that allows TAFE Queensland fashion design students to showcase their designs in front of their friends, family, peers and industry.

"I think it’s important for TAFE to highlight the skill level and the talent level of their students. Having that runway event gives students the opportunity to show off their beautiful creations that they’ve worked so hard all year for. I’m definitely looking forward to it," he said.

When thinking of the future and what opportunities his career will bring, Phoenix is confident he can make a lasting impact just like those who've come before him.

"Greatness to me is about achieving things that few people haven't been able to achieve. Greatness is about creating something and being remembered for it. That’s what greatness mean to me," Phoenix concluded.