Starting with TAFE at School and powering all the way through to a fashion degree , Tyler Iwinski is proof that it pays to do uni differently. It’s something he never thought possible, being initially unsure of his future career path when he finished high school. Torn between a love of the arts and aspirations to design theme park rides as a mechanical engineer, it was a disinterest in maths that led Tyler to enrol in a TAFE at School fashion course in Years 11 and 12. “I love using my hands and being creative,” he said.
“I chose fashion because there is an element of engineering in there too. You have to build the pieces you’re working on."
“And there’s also the global element. Everyone wears clothes.”
From those first afternoons at high school figuring out if fashion was for him, Tyler’s love of the industry grew. His passion lead him to complete a certificate II and III in fashion before enrolling in a Diploma of Fashion after graduating high school. After completing his diploma, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Applied Fashion offered by TAFE Queensland in partnership with the University of Canberra. Five years on, Tyler has interviewed fashion royalty Professor Jimmy Choo, and has just wrapped up his final collection. “When I compare my work at the end of my diploma with what I’m producing now at the end of my degree it’s amazing how much it’s changed. I can see how much I’ve improved,” he said.
“For me, it’s all about refining my practice and producing work that is up to the standard that I expect for myself. Furthering my education has definitely helped me to achieve that.”
Tyler's final collection is partly inspired by a six-month break in his studies where he travelled the world and pondered what he wanted in life.
“It’s a safari-chic collection inspired by the modern day traveller,” he said.
“It sums up who I am as a designer. From a visual point of view it’s aesthetically beautiful and glamorous — I’ve always loved luxury brands.
“But for me, it’s not just about travelling the world, it’s also about exploring who we are and what we want from life. It’s like battle armour, a high-end power suit.”
Though Tyler thinks globally, he isn’t set on leaving Brisbane straight away. He's just accepted an internship with The New Garde — a fashion start-up for independent designers run out of Fortitude Valley.
“There are so many different realms in fashion to explore. People think it’s just about designing but there’s marketing, pattern making, printing, and business,” he said.
“I’ve always been interested in all facets of the industry from accessories to men’s, women’s, and even kid’s clothing. I’d love to dabble with it all in the future. I don’t want to close myself off to any opportunities.”
Being open to different possibilities is a motto that Tyler lives by. It’s being open to opportunities that led him into the industry as a teenager.
“I’ve learned so much just from saying yes to things and seeing where it takes me,” he said.
“TAFE Queensland really helped me to solidify my love of fashion, but I went into it knowing that if I didn’t like it, I could just do something else. You have to be open to just trying things out.
“It’s all about the ripple effect, you might meet the person who gives you your first break just by saying yes to an invitation.
“The opportunities I’ve had are beyond what I ever expected and I’m really looking forward to the future.”
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