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Mackenzie Johnson’s Stunning Collection (St Ann’s College Resident 2021-2022)

Recently Collegian Mackenzie Johnson was featured in The Advertiser on April 5th for her graduate fashion collection! The 21-year-old from Clare has graduated from the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fashion) dual degree offered by TAFE SA and Flinders University.

Her Graduate Collection was a sustainable wool label aptly named “What We Treasure” with a focus on longevity and an emphasis on re-wear. We interviewed Mackenzie about this project and her job post university at Kinney The Label, a sustainable SA fashion brand.

What was your graduate assignment?

For our graduate collection our only brief was to make 3-5 outfits that would showcase on a runway. We got complete creative freedom, there wasn’t a theme or customer base that we had to design for, so it was a great opportunity to design whatever we wanted. Part of the assignment was to create a ‘brand’ for our collection, which included creating an Instagram page, branding and putting together a photoshoot. (The outdoor photoshoot pictures (right) were taken by St Ann’s College current student Alleah Maywald, who is an aspiring doctor and photographer!)

My collection and ‘brand’ is called ‘What We Treasure,’ which is about combating fast fashion by treasuring your clothing.

We worked on this collection during our final year of study. The first semester focused on design, making a visual diary, sourcing fabrics and experimenting with different sewing and textile techniques. The second semester put all our efforts into making the collection which involved patternmaking, toiling, fitting the garments, making adjustments and then sewing the final designs. The final part of the assignment was a presentation of our collection to our peers and then we got to showcase them all in a parade the following year.

What were the main features of your collection?

I was lucky enough to receive a wool grant for my collection, which meant I had to make 80% of my collection out of wool. The main feature of my collection was a landscape print that I painted and then got printed onto wool fabric. I also played around with other techniques such as wool spinning and felting to incorporate wool into my collection.

How did the exhibition showcase go?

The parade went really well, everyone got to showcase their collections to friends, family and people in the fashion industry. We collaborated with Finesse models and they walked the runway in our outfits. The TAFE hair and beauty students do their makeup, the floristry students made a flower arrangement as the centerpiece of the runway and other fashion students volunteer backstage as the dressers. It’s a collaborative and fun event that involves so many creative people.

What is your role at Kinney? What are you working on?

I’ve been at Kinney for just over two months now as their design and production assistant. I get to work closely with Jana, the owner and head designer with all aspects of creating their collections.

We are working on about three different collections at once because it’s such an involved process. While we are selling our autumn winter collection for 2024 now, we are already starting to design next year’s Autumn Winter collection.

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