Make a mark.

Words by

Veronica Stanford

In just a few just months, Alice Kennedy has gone from the classroom at RMIT to designing for one of Australia’s largest department stores. Yep, she’s achieved a lot in her short time as a designer.

After presenting a cleverly textured collection on the runway at VAMMF, Alice was announced as the 2016 winner of the National Graduate Showcase.

The talented grad is now undertaking Target’s mentoring program and will soon be launching her own collection for the retailer. With a strong design style and plans to head to New York in the next year, you’ll want to remember her name. 

How did you enjoy showcasing at VAMFF?

Amazing, it was so much fun. I was really lucky, two of my friends from uni were in [the NGS], so it was fun to experience it with them. It makes you feel special (laughs). All the hard work everyone does in fourth year has paid off. Obviously we weren’t the only ones who worked hard – everyone worked so hard and we were just lucky to get in. 

Have you started on your Target capsule collection?

I’m about two months in. I was expecting my first day to be like: ''this is where the coffee is, this is where you sit.'' Instead it was: ''here’s a pencil, a pad and off you go.'' The design process was very fast-paced, different to RMIT. [At school] we could chop and change elements as we went, as it was only ourselves involved in the process. But at Target, it obviously involves many other people, both in Australia and overseas. When you sign off on a design, that’s it, it’s out of your hands and it’s in production. It’s been very ‘go, go, go’ but the whole team is so lovely. They’re really warm and welcoming. 

How has the process been so far?

It’s been amazing. I’ve had total freedom to design how I like, however it’s very commercial, which is different to how I’ve worked in the past. Target already has an idea of who its woman is. But [the team] has been saying, ''design however/whatever you like and we will reel you back in if it’s too risky for the market.'' As my style is quite clean and minimal, I haven’t had any trouble with the design process at all.

What can we expect from the collection?

The collection is 12 pieces. It’s minimal with clean lines and includes garments [ranging] from a slip dress to wide-leg pants. It can cater for all outings, which is definitely something I’ve learnt at my time with Target. At RMIT you could evolve as your collection came to life. But with the Target collection, the brand already has a market that isn’t rapidly changing.

What else have you learnt throughout this experience?
Stay true to your designs and pick your battles. You aren’t going to win every battle and will have to sacrifice some things to get [others]. Relinquishing control is another. I’m so used to doing everything myself, but you need to step back and let others help. 

What’s next for you now that you’ve graduated?

My plan is to do New York. I’m planning on moving over there with my friend, Bella. We’ll just see what happens. I feel like New York is the place to go if you want to see if you're really good or not.

Quickfire questions

Fashion is... for you to decipher.
Creativity is... your form of expression.
My favourite song is... ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac.
The best place to shop is... in Australia? Sydney.
Uni is... hard work and worth it.
I never leave the house without... my little point-and-shoot.
I’d most like to visit... Yosemite National Park.
The designer I’d most like to meet is... Raf Simons.
I’d ask him... for a job at Calvin Klein!
The best book I’ve ever read is... my first year pattern-making booklet.
My favourite place in the world is... I don’t really have one yet, Melbourne’s pretty great though.
On a Friday night you’ll find me... at work.
The National Graduate Showcase was... an amazing experience. 

VAMFF 2017 will take place on March 1-19, 2017.


This feature was originally published in Fashion Journal 159. You can read it here.

Madeleine Roux

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