Luke Dawson, graduated from Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)’s Bachelor of Fashion (Design and Technology) in 2015. In the two short years since donning the robes of a graduate, he has completed a 12-month internship with a local designer, created his own fashion label ‘Luke Dawson’ and was invited to take part in 2017 New Zealand Fashion Week.
For a self-described ‘boy from Gore’, his achievements are testament to his passion for his craft and after studying various courses in Dunedin, moving home to Gore and enrolling to study fashion at SIT proved to be the ‘money shot’.
Success doesn’t come easy however. Luke is still working at the local meat works as well as part-time in his father’s café in order to keep the dream alive and support his fashion label. In five years, he is confident that he will be full-time with Luke Dawson Design, have produced more shows at New Zealand Fashion Week and have his range spread out across New Zealand and Australia, while making its way overseas.
Luke’s creativity is not singularly limited to fashion design, but combined with his love for cartoons and animation. Having achieved a Diploma in 3D Animation, he combines his love for fashion and animation in his unisex streetwear. With pieces heavily influenced by cartoons and ‘board’ streetwear, his plans for the future stretch to working on his own cartoon animation ‘The Boy From Goreville’, which is a concept in his clothing line where each collection comes with a new story from the comic printed on different parts of the garments.
Luke recounts his study at SIT with a fondness that recognises he was at a point in his life where he was ready to fully commit to his studies. While admitting to being “a bit of a social butterfly, each year of study it got harder and more challenging, which meant I needed to commit and put more time into study. By the time I graduated, I had grown a good work ethic and learned how to prioritise.”
Highlights for Luke included meeting “some pretty cool class mates that became good friends. Some of the tutors were really neat and still a pleasure to run into for a catch up and I really enjoyed where the building for the fashion department was, how the main retail stores are in the area, which was always good to go check out what’s new and help inspire if the brain was having a blank in the classroom.”
Bachelor of Fashion (Design and Technology) students attend Wellington Wearable Arts and New Zealand Fashion Week as part of their course, which Luke found inspiring. Another area of the programme which he surprised himself by really enjoying was illustration and pattern grading, using the PAD/CAD system.
Luke explains that despite having “not one bit of experience (which made me a bit nervous)”, he managed to learn as he went and by the third year, was putting all the skills he had acquired into practice for the big final papers and creating a collection.
“SIT have some great people who really look out for your best interests, so if you are serious about studying fashion, get in contact to suss out a look around!”