Just five years ago, Sarah Lim didn’t know how to sew. But that didn’t stop her from completing a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles (Honours).
“I've always loved the way clothing can tell stories about our lives and experiences,” Sarah confesses. “We wear clothing every day, so what we express through the act of dressing, whether unintentionally or not, is really interesting to me.
“The first year of university was really challenging and the class had a mixture of both technically proficient people as well as complete beginners. But,” Sarah adds, “choosing to persevere through the difficult parts was one of the most rewarding decisions I've made.” Even when life decided to throw her a curveball.
In February this year, after a demanding year completing her degree, Sarah was about to go on a well-deserved holiday.
Then Sarah, together with Jessica Guzman and Lily Xu, was named as a finalist in the inaugural Carla Zampatti Foundation Design Award. To determine the winner, each finalist had to create a six-outfit conceptual capsule based on the Carla Zampatti brand.
So, during her nine-hour flight to Tokyo and the two weeks she spent exploring Japanese art galleries and fashion districts, Sarah also went to work designing her collection. The end result was inspired by soft tailoring as well as the masculine tailored silhouettes of the 1940s.
For Sarah, her designs hit the sweet spot between her own aesthetic – which is influenced by utilitarianism and practicality – and the Zampatti design ethos – which places the woman, confidence and glamour at its core. Sarah was named the Carla Zampatti Foundation Design Award’s inaugural winner.
Sarah says, designing the looks was challenging, but rewarding.
“My design process is more intuitive; I have to work with my hands to get an idea of what I want to design. Having to sit down and design this collection for the Zampatti label was a bit difficult, but it was also really fun, and a great opportunity.”
Now, seven months after submitting her winning collection, and with a cool $25,000 towards her tuition costs, Sarah is taking on the Big Apple. She’s studying postgraduate fashion at the famous Parsons School of Design.
“It’s nuts!” Sarah enthuses. “The opportunities that present themselves to you; things that you never would have thought were possible, they actually do happen; if you just say ‘yes’ every now and then.”
Right now, Sarah’s focused on settling into New York, building a network of creatives in her new home and finding new ways to empower marginalised bodies.
“Fashion is so close to us,” says Sarah. “You wear it every day; it’s something so personal. Clothes can be a marker of identity, they can tell stories.
“These stories are meaningful; they can help us to think about things we might not have thought about before. If they broaden the perspectives of the people who come into contact with them even just a little, it could help make holistic change for the future.”
Student Administration Unit