Gallery & Events

Posted 16 Feb 2016

Guys, we made it. We’re graduates. It feels like only yesterday we entered here as a wide-eyed, enthusiastic first years and yet here we are, a little less wide eyed and more bags-under-our-eyes, but none the less, the next generation of women, men and sparkling, rainbow space aliens (Looking good, Amelia) of the design industry.

I feel truly honoured, and sometimes just a little intimidated, by the level of talent you all possess. In the weeks since classes have finished, I’ve heard of fashion students landing roles in design rooms for some of the country’s most prestigious labels, students from Creative Direction working on shoots for national magazines and Interiors students being pursued by not one, but several leading creative agencies, and to think...we haven’t even left the building with the piece of paper yet. I think it’s safe to say every one of you had a future path in this industry that you will be able to trace back to your time spent here at Whitehouse.

But despite all our hard work and talents, it’s a lot less likely we’d be standing here today as graduates without the support of those around today I’d like to say Thank You.

Thank you to Woolworths Surry Hills and the Vending machine upstairs. Your consistently excellent selection of snacks sat well within our student budgets, and provided delicious, much needed comfort when studio time became less productive and more ‘I can’t even slash Oh my god, why?”.

Thank you to activewear, without which many of us would have felt obliged to plan actual outfits to wear to uni every day. I think I can speak for everybody here when I say that in the days before some of our biggest deadlines, it felt like lycra and a sense of dogged determination were all that was holding us together. To that end, I think a lot of people outside the design industries are fooled into thinking designers sashay about in their architecturally spectacular studios before completely rocking their glamorous collection launch. In reality, our collections are designed in a darkened corner surrounded by a graveyard of empty takeaway boxes, and the only thing were rocking is a pair of coffee stained leggings and a twitching left eye from lack of sleep.

I’d also like to shout out to the five male students graduating this year. Thank you for spending almost the entirety of 3rd year as our human-mannequins. The sheer number of hours you all spent wearing everybody’s collections on marking day or pinned into calico toile’s during class makes me wonder how you lot managed to finish your own work and graduate as well.

But Seriously.  Leanne Whitehouse. Thank you for looking around at the acid wash jeans and fluoro synthetic fabrics of the 1980’s and correctly deciding that Sydney needed a new fashion school. Over the years you have worked tirelessly to create a school that simultaneously nurtures our creative spirits and prepares us for the realities of the industry. I remember my chance meeting with the designer of a major Australian label back in 2013. When she asked where I’d started studying and I mentioned Whitehouse, she said ‘Good. People who graduate from Whitehouse know how to work hard. They’re employable.” As someone looking to enter one of the most competitive industries on the planet, this was the moment I knew I’d enrolled at the right school.

Thank you to our teachers, past and present, for consistently challenging and extending us, and for showing an incredible level of patience with us when we went full diva and argued with you about our next collection...because you knew our concept wasn’t quite the groundbreaking masterwork we thought it was...As an aside, Marc, I’m still convinced that making my entire graduate collection out of garbage fabric would’ve been a slam dunk.

Also to the staff of Whitehouse who work behind the scenes, we may not have seen you in the classroom with us, but we appreciate you for keeping the engine room of this school running, long before we arrived for class of a morning and after we left at night, you were always there to offer support to us, or even just chat to us at the front desk.

And finally, to our families, friends and partners. Thank you for sticking with us for three years, because I know sometimes it would have been a challenge. Thanks for being there to help us hand sew and lug scale models around the city. Thanks for bringing us breakfast and lunch and dinner so we didn’t need to break the epic productive streak we were having that day. Thanks for transferring us a little extra cash to buy new fabric because our sewing machine ate the last lot. Thanks to the classmates who put their own worries aside to stop and comfort another student who has having a really hard time that day. Thank you for cheering us on at every open day, graduate parade and believing in our abilities more than we believed in ourselves a lot of the time.


To everybody who has joined us on this crazy journey, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Graduates of Whitehouse. Congratulations.