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Chasing dreams in the city that never sleeps

From small town to the city and now the Big Apple, Kate Tolo understands that with every goal comes an equal commitment.

If we recognise that there are two kinds of people: those that talk about doing something and those that actually do, Kate is reflective of the latter. Ambitious but hard working.

Having moved from Mackay to Melbourne at the age of 17, Kate identified her fashion goal early on and then made the necessary decisions that would turn a desire into achievement.

"I wanted to be surrounded with like-minded people and felt like my hometown couldn't provide that," Kate reflects. "So my first experiences with Melbourne were ones of awe. Everyone on the streets seemed cultured and experimental, and just honest and open."

Like the industry she aspired to work within, Kate adopted a proactive and 'big picture' approach to her efforts. It's an attitude Holmesglen's Fashion Programs Teacher Ryan Euinton recognised in Kate from the beginning.

"In spite of her youth, she had an aura of confidence in her dealings with others. She is an independent thinker who defies trends, yet is so very much in tune with contemporary style," he says.

This effort has now resulted in a slew of significant opportunities for Kate; who relocated to New York City in April. The fashion enthusiast completed a production internship with Proenza Schouler and a business placement with GEORGINE. She now works with denim company R13, as a technical design assistant.

Having cold-emailed the entire New York Fashion Week designer list, Kate was able to source the opportunities through persistence and practicality.

"Proenza Schouler was always the dream and I was fortunate enough to have a contact at the production department through an old colleague of mine. The process was a lot of back and forth. I emailed my portfolios and ended up with a confirmed interview for the internship upon arrival into the country. Two days after landing in the USA, I went into their office on Broadway and was accepted," Kate explains.

The foundations for the recent work placements, though, were formed when Kate completed previous internships with Target, L'Usine, Livia and Un-Available. Similarly, she was employed at Megan Park, when in Melbourne.

In addition, her leadership qualities were highlighted when serving as a Holmesglen student ambassador and participating in the 2015 Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival.

"Kate's [MSFW] collection looked into and explored the idea of body conformity. She subverted the traditional silhouette of a body and used devices such crinolines to achieve this. Her exaggerated proportions and light decorative touches made a great impact on the catwalk," Ryan comments.

While Kate cites the move to Melbourne as pivotal in now helping her step out of her comfort zone when in New York, she also believes Holmesglen offered the ideal pathway from study to work. "My course was quite industry focused, so it translated smoothly into actual work, which is a great positive when you're just starting out," Kate notes.

Thankfully, fashion is a field that encourages instead of denies imagination and intuitiveness. It's bold instead of traditional. Dynamic instead of passive.  "I mostly love the energy that surrounds it – it's an industry full of passionate creative types who want to create beautiful things."

Regarding the passion for creating "beautiful things", Kate also organised a public and collaborative event as part of her final year collection when at Holmesglen. The idea was inclusive, which aimed to make the consumer part of the process. The eventual print designed during the event was scanned into a digital format; then used for a range of garments including t-shirts.

Fitting with her creative drive, going forward, Kate is determined to keep exploring what is possible. "I am always living 10 years in advance and have big things planned...but, you'll have to stay tuned to find out."

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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