Nikki Cupples

Nikki Cupples

3rd-year student, Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa – Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design with a minor in Creative Entrepreneurship

Studying at Toronto Metropolitan University and living abroad was an invaluable experience, says Nikki Cupples who is studying fashion design and creative entrepreneurship.

“Going on a student exchange had been a goal of mine from the start of my degree – it’s the best time to travel and experience the opportunities that come your way. I travelled to Toronto, Canada, to complete a student exchange over a six-month period.

“On the other side of the world I made meaningful connections both within my personal and professional life. From assisting at fashion shows to travelling to New York, I had an amazing time navigating new and interesting experiences. Taking the step beyond New Zealand into the unknown was completely worth it and I’d recommend going on exchange to any student considering it.”

She says her time in Toronto also opened her eyes to how endless the opportunities are out there in the world.

“I see myself travelling overseas and learning from the experiences and lives of different cultures and their unique approaches to the concept of fashion. I’d love the opportunity to be part of the growth towards an increasingly sustainable future through new and innovative fabric design, manufacturing and application techniques. Eventually, my goal will be to establish my own brand, however I’d like some more experience within the market first.”

A love of fashion
Nikki says she has always loved fashion and the process of turning her imagination into reality.

“The freedom of creativity and self-expression alongside the challenge of new and interesting techniques offered within this degree really appealed to me. Rather than specialising in the second year, AUT allows prospective students to study fashion design from the onset. This appealed to me and I feel that the structure of the course has been extremely beneficial in enabling me to kickstart my journey into the fashion industry.

“AUT has established a supportive, fun and inclusive environment for students. With an abundance of clubs and people you meet along the way, I’ve really enjoyed my time here. In particular, I found it exciting to meet people in my classes with similar interests and unique opinions. We can learn by sharing thoughts and ideas with each other, a process that continues to surprise and challenge me.”

One thing she has particularly enjoyed throughout her studies is the unique challenge behind each garment.

“We’re encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones and channel innovative thinking into every project, which can be daunting at times. As a result, I feel that I’ve developed my skillset, having grown more confident about sharing and critiquing my ideas. Moreover, the feedback I’ve received throughout the ideation and construction process has been invaluable.”

Advice for other students
Now in the final year of her studies, Nikki has some great advice for other students.

“When it comes to advice for studying at a tertiary level, you often hear: manage your time and attend every class. While these concepts are both very important, I’d also like to remind other students that life is unpredictable. Sometimes, you can’t control your circumstances. As such, it is important to establish a sustainable and realistic balance within your life.

“Yes, gradually chipping away at assignments each week is much better than cramming the night before. But remember to find the joy within your work, be flexible and create healthy habits that will give you the space to do your best in each task you undertake.”