Ethical Officer, Sustinnoworx
Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design
Deciding to come to AUT for her studies was easy, says art and design alumna Ella Martin who completed a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design with a minor in Sustainability.
“I wanted a fashion degree with a well-rounded variety of design and technical skills. I chose AUT because my fashion teacher at high school recommended it, understanding that it had positive employability outcomes because of internship opportunities and the Rookie fashion show.”
She had a number of highlights throughout her studies.
“The highpoints for me were the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded and uniquely skilled people, being able to research topics I was interested in, and developing my knowledge of fashion ethics and sustainability in my minor. I never would have challenged my design, sustainability and conceptual skills as much as I did without this degree.”
Taking part in CO.STARTERS
Another thing Ella particularly enjoyed about her time at AUT was being able to participate in the AUT CO.STARTERS programme for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“After finishing my graduate collection, I had done much of the grunt work to start independently making and selling clothing through my brand. My idea was to create a fashion brand trading garments made entirely from waste textiles, selling the items through online platforms and directing all of the profit to local charities. I did CO.STARTERS as I was lacking the business knowledge, specifically legal knowledge, to start operating as a social enterprise.”
She says it was an invaluable experience.
“I’ve gained a fantastic understanding of the components necessary to start a business, and where to find any information I may be missing. I also developed my presentation confidence and my understanding of general business concepts, and gained the contact details of some of the impressive professionals that attended the sessions.”
Making a positive difference
Since graduating from AUT at the end of 2021, Ella is now playing her part in creating a more sustainable fashion industry through her role as an ethical officer for Sustinnoworx.
“My project for 2022/2023 is a textile waste campaign. This involves holding in-person and online workshops for the community and school groups, holding workshops and one-on-one classes with clients of the non-profit organisation Shakti, and developing designs and products upcycled from unsaleable donations the shop receives. I’m also responsible for developing online resources to educate people about the textile waste crisis and upcycling skills, as well as hosting events and managing large-scale projects like a fashion brand collaboration.”
While she is still at the start of her career, she already has a number of achievements she is particularly proud of.
“One of the proudest achievements so far was conceptualising, organising and facilitating an online workshop – teaching how to upcycle using crochet – entirely independently. This was the first time I had done this task end to end, and it gained a positive reception and a much bigger turnout than I had anticipated.
“My other proud achievement is encouraging my Shakti clients and helping them build their confidence, English and sewing skills. Watching these women have pride in the work they have created or be excited about a new skill is massively fulfilling.”
*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.