ANN XIAO

Before ANN enrolled in Fashion Design - she had just finished high school and was enrolled in a degree in economics, finance and marketing. However, after one year of my commerce degree at the University of New South Wales - she realised it wasn’t something she was truly passionate about and could not see a satisfying career path with challenges and opportunities to meet interesting people. Ann had no previous experience with sewing or patternmaking as it was never offered as a course at the selective high school she attended. The school advocated for subjects in science, humanities and mathematics (definite building blocks which she believes has helped shape her) however it also never truly allowed her the opportunity to broaden her creative ventures.

Ann always had aspirations to go into a creative field but fashion was always the most intriguing of all. Although she chose the most unconventional career path of all my friends who are lawyers, doctors, investment bankers and accountants. As a child, her parents always exposed her sister and her to art with sketching and painting from the age of 4. Ann began sketching outfits in primary school for friends and family but was only considered as a serious career choice after high school. After leaving behind an economics degree Ann found a voice with design and teaching herself to sew through YouTube tutorials followed by gaining an internship with House of Quirky. The idea of challenging herself outside of the stereotypes set for Asian immigrant children drew her closer to chasing a serious career in fashion, never truly thinking it was possible until now.

Ann unfortunately had to apply in secret to the Fashion Design Studio - ultimo tafe - the only people who knew were her best friend and partner. Knowing the process to get into the best fashion school in all of Australia would require a lot of hard work lead to her watching YouTube tutorials on how to sew to produce 2 portfolios in order to be considered.

After interning with different Australian designers and companies such as (Dion Lee, Manning Cartell, Australian Fashion Chamber) and a graduating with a bachelor degree in fashion design from one of Australia’s most prestigious Fashion Schools. She is now working as a womenswear and menswear design assistant at The Upside, with plans to look overseas to further broaden her horizons and gain insight into international markets.

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