Costume design student Kimberly wins Wearable Art prize

May 31, 2022

Evil fairy outfit by TAFE SA costume design student Kimberly Francis.

TAFE SA Costume Design student Kimberly Francis has won the Wearable Art category of the national Fleece to Fashion Awards with an outfit inspired by the villain of Sleeping Beauty.

Kimberly says the Disney theme of the Wearable Art category was a natural fit with her interests and she was influenced by Maleficent (2014 film), a modern re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the evil fairy’s viewpoint.

The winning outfit included a full-length purple catsuit, a bustier made from upcycled dress fabric and a dramatic floor-length cape which was lined in silk and embellished with beading.

The Fleece to Fashion Awards are run by the not-for-profit group Fleece to Fashion, based in regional NSW, with the aim of promoting the use of merino wool in the Australian fashion industry.

Each garment entered in the awards must be made from a minimum of 60 per cent merino wool.

Much like the film, Kimberly’s journey through the competition had its own plot twists. The dramatic cape was stolen from a costume exhibition in Adelaide Arcade last year and Kimberly feared all her work, including many hours of intricate beading, had been wasted.

With the help of social media, the cape was found and returned but the incident delayed her entry into the Fleece to Fashion Awards until this year.

She nearly didn’t attend the awards dinner and parade, held in Armidale earlier this month, due to the travel involved and her workload, but she made a last-minute dash and arrived just in time to enjoy the event and receive her cash prize.

“The event was set in a shearing shed about 20 minutes out of town and they created a magical setting with strings of lights and flowers and a large stage, although it was a really cold night,” Kimberly says.

“There was a parade of finalists’ entries, and it was phenomenal to see my outfit on the model, who wore it with such confidence.”

Kimberly created her outfit over three months as part of her Costume Design course, which includes a topic called ‘Apply Design Studio Process to meet Client Brief’. Students are given a choice of events on which to base their design and it was the first time that Fleece to Fashion had been an option.

“To see my outfit on the Fleece to Fashion catwalk, where I had intended it to be, was amazing and I felt so honoured to be a part of the event,” Kimberly says.

The Bachelor of Creative Arts – Costume Design is a dual award offered by TAFE SA and Flinders University.