Q&A with Fashion Alumna Alanna Mitchell
Bachelor of Design Arts (Fashion and Costume Design Major)

Q&A with Fashion Alumna Alanna Mitchell

Information Request
April 24, 2017

Alanna Mitchell completed the Bachelor of Design Arts majoring in Fashion and Costume Design last year.  She has already had an interesting journey so far and has just embarked on a new position in the fashion industry with Myer.  We caught up with Alanna recently to talk about her studies, exchange in Paris and what lies ahead.

ADA: Let’s start with the fun stuff! Can you tell us about your experience as an exchange student in Paris? Has being an exchange student in France opened up other opportunities?

AM: My time as an exchange student in Paris was the best experience of my life.  The whole class was filled with International students from Korea, Israel, Scotland, America, Austria, Sweden and France.  Our teachers were amazing!  One of my teachers was the former artistic director for Dior and another one of my teachers surprised our class by taking us to Paris Fashion Week.  The subjects they offered were so diverse too.  I was part of an Introduction to Accessories class which partnered with European Jewellery brand, Mauboussin.  Our brief for the class was to create a piece of jewellery for the 'woman of tomorrow' and the winner's piece would be made and sold in Mauboussin boutiques throughout Europe and the winner would also receive €10,000. I made it to the top 5 at the final ceremony, which was attended by and judged by industry professionals including Barabra Bui and Caroline Vreeland (granddaughter of Diana Vreeland).  It felt like I was in a dream!

The exchange program did unlock other opportunities!  Paris College of Art has partnerships with major fashion houses like Rick Owens, Alexander Wang, Victoria Beckham and Oscar De La Renta.  I was lucky enough to intern for Oscar De La Renta during Paris Fashion Week in their showroom.  My experience in Paris opened up other opportunities for me when I got home.  I spent a month in Sydney interning for Harper’s Bazaar magazine.  I have found that when I have applied for jobs or other opportunities that my time as an exchange student in Paris is always an interest to the employer.

ADA: Can you tell us more about your recent experience as an Assistant Buyer and how your studies have helped you in your career?

AM: I was recently hired as a Category Buyer’s Assistant for Myer Head Office.  I look after Miss Shop National brands.  The role is really interesting and diverse.  My position is to support the buying team to drive sales, profit and customer satisfaction.  I’m involved in product management and maintenance, managing positive and productive relationships with suppliers and I also look after the marketing process.  My studies have helped me as you need to be adaptable and highly organised in this industry. Throughout my studies we constantly had to meet deadlines and this is an extremely important part of my role today. 

ADA: What has been the best part and the most challenging part of your journey so far?

AM: The best part of my journey has been all of the opportunities that have continued to flow on from each other.  Studying at the Academy led me to be an exchange student at Paris College of Art, which lead to the internship with Oscar de La Renta, which lead to the internship in Sydney with Harper’s Bazaar, which resulted in me getting my first full-time job with such a prestigious company in my first year out of university.  The most challenging part has been deciding on what I would like to do or what I would like to be.  I take on all of these opportunities in the hope that maybe it will help me to decide on what I would like to do, but I've ended up liking everything so far!

ADA: What does this experience bring to your career?

AM: This experience has taught me how to be adaptable in numerous environments. It’s also expanded my network as I have connections all over the world who are progressing in their own careers.  It’s a point of difference on my resume which sets me apart from other candidates as employers are always interested to hear about my time in Paris, or hear about what I learned from interning.

ADA: What’s next? Do you have any plans?

AM: My plan at the moment is to get settled into my role as a Category Buyer’s Assistant and learn as much as I can.  My plans for the future, are to eventually work overseas.  I might go back to Paris or maybe try New York?

ADA: Do you have any advice for future students at the Academy?

AM: My advice for future students at the Academy would be to apply for any opportunity that comes your way.  You never know if you never apply, and more often than not you will surprise yourself.

Fashion & Costume Design