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It takes a grand leap of faith to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Besides being an incredibly difficult industry to break into, it is even more of an achievement to succeed thereafter.

The Apex Australia Teenage Fashion Awards expose high school design students to an industry they dream of breaking into, and young aspiring designers like Gemma Tompson are incredibly grateful for the opportunities it offers.

The AATFA have been operating for over 25 years now, providing unique experiences and prospects for students interested in the fashion and design industry. Working closely with secondary schools throughout Australia, the AATFA offers students an understanding of the industry, engaging them in every step of the design process from concept, to manufacture, to showcasing and runway experience.

Gemma Tompson is only 15 years old, but already considers herself an “extrovert who is resourceful, switched on, passionate, and eager” when it comes to fashion. Naturally at her age, a great portion of her time is dedicated to studying, but with any spare time she has outside of school responsibilities, she dabbles in fashion and enjoys a healthy lifestyle in Launceston.
And, despite her age, Gemma has already seen successes in her efforts; she was the AATFA Tasmanian State Finals Runner Up, as well as a national finalist.

Gemma is proud of her successes: “The feeling of being runner up was amazing and it definitely made all the hard work worth it. I was so determined but I knew I was up against some great competition, so the fighting spirit in me just kept going. My textile teachers from class really encouraged me, and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Gemma’s experiences at the AATFA came with their own challenges; Gemma struggled to find one on one time with her textile mentor, but this taught her to cherish a slow learning process and value the importance of patience, a key ingredient that many designers lack today.

The garment that Gemma worked on for the AATFA allowed her to develop her skill set, and she says: “working with three completely different fabrics wasn’t easy. I also learnt how to be more efficient in my research, and I had to find an appropriate hair and makeup style to compliment my punk rock theme.”
The young aspiring designer claims her point of difference is in her fearlessness and eagerness to be the brains behind the garment, and the beauty who models them. She sees no hindrance in being only 15, and says, “It’s great I’ve had this opportunity this young and I’ve learnt so much.”

When asked about her ultimate goals in fashion, Gemma was very honest to admit how eager she is to become a brand well known in the Australian industry.

Although Gemma’s favourite movie is ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ because it depicts the fantasy of the American fashion culture, she aspires to “put an Australian touch” on something of the sort. Having seen her talent and her drive to succeed, we’re banking on seeing Gemma Tompson’s work resurface in the not too distant future.

The Fashion Advocate x

The Fashion Advocate Australian made fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, Melbourne fashion blogger

The Fashion Advocate Australian made fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, Melbourne fashion blogger

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