A Melbourne teenager will have the opportunity to launch her fashion career after winning the prestigious Wool4School student design competition.
Sara Regan from Swinburne Senior Secondary College won the aspiring designer award and will receive a scholarship to the Whitehouse Institute of Design as part of her prize package.
A total of 7675 students from across Australia registered for this year's competition, with the theme Wool on the Go requiring entrants to design a versatile, protective, dynamic and functional outfit for commuting and travel.
Sara said she was overwhelmed to find out she had won the competition and excited to attend the Whitehouse Institute of Design.
"I went into the competition not knowing much about wool and then I completed the three hour or so course about wool, I did all my research, looked at different brands and how they use their wool," she said.
"I didn't realise how versatile wool could be and I didn't realise how big of a contribution Australia made to the wool industry worldwide.
"In the period of time that we're in at the moment sustainability is so important and being able to use wool is so easy and sustainable just by itself.
"You can do so many things with it and it offers so many characteristics... so I would love to experiment with wool more."
Sara's winning entry includes a transformable jacket, pants, jumper and tote bag, all made from 100 per cent Merino wool and designed to adapt to Melbourne's unpredictable weather.
Invisible card holders made out of recycled plastic bottles were incorporated in the jacket sleeves for security and ease of access.
To come up with the design, Sara turned to her peers for market research, asking them about what they carry when they leave the house, what they look for in outfits and how much they would want to spend.
"People wanted an outfit where they could carry their essential items without having to hold it in their hands... I basically wanted to create an outfit where it felt like you had nothing on you and everything was so seamless," she said.
"I wanted it to function in a way where you could pull a string, detach a press stud or zip off something without having it take up too much time or hassle throughout your day.
"I went through a lot of trial and error with the design as well... my iPad storage is full of sketches of different innovations and I had to narrow it down."
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Swinburne Senior Secondary College product design and technology teacher Amanda Nunn said after a tough year, it was very exciting to see Sara's success.
"Sara's a hardworking student and that's probably what made the difference in this competition as well," she said.
"It was a really good concept that Sara delivered... every little detail was so thought through."
AWI program manager- education extension Kelly McAvoy said they were really impressed with the quality of entries this year, with students showing a maturity in their designs and also being attentive to the brief.
"They also showed a real depth of wool knowledge, right down to knowledge of microns," she said.
"Sara really showed a solid understanding of the entire wool supply chain and the life cycle of wool.
"She had a lot of research in her submission which was really great to read, and she really made sure she incorporated that into her end design.
"She had great versatility with her design and she also incorporated accessories... we could really see that her concept would suit a young lifestyle with wool so all of that together meant that she was a clear stand out winner for the competition this year."
The junior category of the competition was won by Isla Costin from Presbyterian Ladies College Sydney, the mid category was won by Cate Chapman from Caringbah High School, NSW and the senior category was won by Ksenia Cosmo from Melbourne Girls Grammar School.
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