From small town to the city and now the Big Apple, Kate Tolo used her fashion course to start her career and work with some of the industry's biggest names.
Having moved from Mackay to Melbourne at the age of 17, Kate identified her goals and then made the necessary decisions to enter the fashion industry.
"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."
Holmesglen's Fashion Programs Teacher Ryan Euinton quickly recognised Kate's ambition.
"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.
After graduating, Kate relocated to New York City. She 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.
Through her dedication, Kate was able to find new fashion career opportunities.
"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 work placements, though, were formed when Kate completed previous internships with Target, L'Usine, Livia and Un-Available. She was also 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 her Holmesglen fashion course 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.
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.
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."