In late October 2017, as the end of year frenzy was underway, the impatient stirrings of a new club idea met with the sharp eyes of an RMIT Creative Performing Arts Officer, and BOOM! The Catwalk Club was born.
The Catwalk Club was started by a group of fashion design students in response to a number of identified gaps and needs from the perspective of fashion students which also translated into benefits for students from other fields:
Hitherto graduation shows were mostly done program by program, year level by year level with little interdepartmental collaboration. Some had funding for graduation shows from industry sponsors and some didn't depending on the program. While there was much indirect and informal support from staff, for those students without industry sponsorship, students were left with little time to fundraise and work on collections, which was problematic in terms of time management. Funding storage was problematic and complicated and financial transparency was not always easy to obtain. Industry sponsorship also did not seem to come without strings, with students beholden to do cheap or unfunded design work for affiliated companies for academic credit. While this has benefits for students, it is essentially top-down managed, and not generated by students. The Fashion Students Club under RUSU did not cater for catwalk shows.
Also, as academic departments tend to be segmented from each other, interdisciplinary collaboration is systemically discouraged without concerted efforts to counteract this, albeit unintentionally. It has been said that great things in fashion can happen in the nexus between fields, eg. fashion and science, fashion and electronics, fashion and computer programming. There needs to be some kind of body to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. On the one hand fashion students are always on the look out for new ways to be original and explore the future of fashion. Meanwhile, far away from the School of Fashion and Textiles, deep in the bowels of RMIT's non-fashion student population lie individuals expert in gaming wondering about virtual fashion, engineering students dabbling in wearable tech, creative writers who have a great short story about the meaning of garments- where is the common channel for these individuals to come together?
The Catwalk Club benefits from a larger network of clubs under the RMIT Creative umbrella, which forms part of the backbone of the Student Amenities support system for students, enhancing overall student life. Student-lead initiatives funded by student fees, leading to truly student-centred decision making, with no strings attached! The Catwalk Club is part of a bigger group of RMIT Creative Arts Collectives, which all engage in purposeful creative activities. The Catwalk Club is looking forward to exploring new possibilities with this new network. As legend has it, celebrated Aussie comedic duo Hamish and Andy met during their university life within student clubs, proving that club membership can be a catalyst for sparks of interpersonal inspiration where big things can happen.
Who will you meet when you join the Catwalk Club?!