Dress display showcases a talent nurtured by TAFE

The grand staircase at 2 Treasury Place is the perfect backdrop for a very special exhibition showcasing the work of a talented TAFE student well on her way to success.   

The classic navy evening dress designed by TAFE student Nazdar Polos for Secretary Gill Callister to wear at last year’s Victorian Training Awards (VTA) is being displayed in the foyer of the Department of Education and Training's central office.

The Secretary said she wanted to displa​​y the dress to promote the outstanding work of TAFEs and students like Nazdar, who has now graduated from an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology at Bendigo Kangan Institute’s Richmond campus.

‘It’s such a beautiful example of the work done at Bendigo Kangan, which I think is one of our premier fashion training institutes,’ she said.

‘I wanted people to see the extraordinary work of our students at TAFE.’

Students at TAFEs across Victoria were invited to submit a design for a dress for the Secretary to wear to the annual awards, which celebrate innovation and excellence in Victoria’s training and TAFE system.

The Secretary said she chose Nazdar to make the dress because of her creativity and her feel for fabric.

Nazdar said she designed the dress, made from hand-dyed tulle, lace, silk, beads and sequins, to suit the Secretary’s elegant style, and that the hard work taken to hand bead the dress slipped away as soon as she saw her wearing the dress at the VTA.

‘I could not believe that I had made this dress,’ Nazdar said.

‘It was like a dream, I was so happy, I never thought this would happen to me.’

Nazdar was born in Baghdad, Iraq, where she  was taught the foundations of handmade dress making and tailoring techniques, including embellishments and beading in the tradition of her late father’s North Iraq background.

 In 2007, Nazdar and her family fled Iraq, coming to Melbourne as refugees.

After studying English, the up-and-coming designer progressed through certificate and diploma levels of Kangan Institute’s fashion program, and now wants to start her own business creating evening wear and baptism gowns for children.

Nazdar said her training at TAFE had prepared her for a career in fashion.

‘They made me more experienced, I was sewing before but now I am more skilled’ Nazdar said.

This dress is on loan to the Department from Bendigo Kangan Institute and Nazdar Polos.