Australians attending Fashion Week on how they got their start in fashion

“Being authentic in who you really are is the path to a rewarding, meaningful career.”

Fashion is a notoriously difficult industry to break into. As an editor and writer who has worked in many different areas of fashion throughout my career, I am all too familiar with the imposter syndrome, rejection and intense competition you experience when starting out.

But overcoming these challenges will ultimately lead you in the right direction and make you better at what you do. If you want a career in fashion, you can learn a lot from industry professionals who have successfully navigated the ups and downs of the industry to carve out their areas of expertise.

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As the official media partner of this year’s Australian Fashion Week, we know that attending an Australian Fashion Week is a sure sign that you’ve ‘made it’ in the industry. Below, we spoke to seven Australians from the fashion industry who will be attending this year’s event. These stylists, writers, photographers, PR and communications experts talk about how they got started in the industry and what advice they would give to anyone wanting to make it in fashion.

Lucianne Tonti, sustainable fashion journalist and author

I started in retail at Scanlan Theodore whilst studying media at RMIT and writing for Fashion magazine. By the time I was 22, I had been sent to my first Paris Fashion Week and had written my senior thesis on fast fashion and the environment. I really started to get a sense of what made me passionate about the fashion industry (travel and sustainability), but that didn’t last long.

I kind of fell in love with fashion and went to law school, which I didn’t do. By the time I graduated, I was in my late twenties and feeling quite lost, so I decided to move to London on a whim. I didn’t really have a plan, but I was lucky. I met a girl at a party on my first weekend and she got me a job with a consultant at Burberry who traveled a lot. In my first month we went to New York and Tokyo – it was so much fun.

I eventually moved to Paris and took jobs in press and sales for small, sustainable designers. But I always felt like I was being called back to write about fashion and the environment. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit and I had to move home that I had the time to really think about how I could make that happen. By then I was fortunate enough to have a good network to draw on and through friends I was introduced to my editor at The guard.

In the years that followed, she and I developed a very good relationship. The stories I wrote for her helped me land a book deal and get published Sun-dressed. That led to invitations to become a Fashion Editor The Saturday newspaper and the Sustainable Fashion Editor for Elle Australia. Now I can travel a lot to report on developments in the field of sustainability. It took ten years for me to get back on track, but during those years I learned many things that now make me so much better at my job.

My advice to anyone looking to get into the industry is to really listen to the voice inside you that knows what you should be doing. Being authentic in who you really are is the path to a rewarding, meaningful career. But you also have to be willing to work hard and build good relationships. This industry is small, but it is full of amazing, creative people and I don’t know anyone who has made it without a network of talented friends around them.


Myles Kalus, fashion and documentary photographer

I will be one of the key in-house photographers for Australian Fashion Week 2024, documenting street style and backstage throughout the week. Coincidentally enough, my entry point was Fashion Week itself, more than 10 years ago. At the time, I was a newly graduated engineer exploring photography, a new passion that captivated me.

I knew that documenting people was the most fun part of photography. And the fashion industry fascinated me, especially after watching it Bill Cunningham New York. The individuals, characters and styles he photographed throughout his life… I wanted to see, meet and document people as he did. And what I saw during my first Fashion Week left me ecstatic and stunned (in a good way).

In building my career, I’ve focused a lot (and I mean a lot) on saying hello to people. I also spent a significant amount of time figuring out what I wanted to “say” through the way I shot, and how what I create would be noticed by the industry. Social media and studying the work of my favorite photographers played a major role in the last two. Eventually, after a few years, people started approaching me to do what I do.

If advice is asked, I can only speak as a photographer. And let me assume that fashion today is art and commerce. If you’re trying to get in, don’t expect anyone to understand your work or its place in fashion. Don’t feel discouraged by that or by all the no’s you get as you journey through it. It is normal. Take photos with what you have, with the intention of showing them how your artistry could work with fashion. But above all, keep shooting and refining as much as possible.


Tara Chandra, Content Creator

When I was five, I refused to wear anything but dresses. I think this was the first sign that I would eventually work in fashion. When I was 15, I started posting YouTube videos, blog posts, and Instagram photos of my personal style for fun. 11 years later I’m still posting, but as a ‘full-time’ job. This will be my ninth year attending Australian Fashion Week, and this year includes some partner content, lots of fun outfits and of course watching the catwalk shows.

My progression in the fashion industry was extremely gradual, organic and unintentional. My sense of style combined with my genuine passion for creating and consistency has paid off (literally). Getting started on social media at a time when very few people had made it a career was… different! We were all creating as a hobby, and it’s a time online that I really miss.

That said, the social media landscape is so exciting and ever-evolving right now. It’s never been easier to turn content creation into a job. If you want to start in fashion… I owe my success to a huge dose of consistency, supplemented with a touch of stubbornness, which I swallowed when I started.


Katherine Rose, stylist

In my styling work I focus on representing local creatives and working towards a more ethical industry. I scout brands and new pieces for styling work from the shows. I think my work started to gain traction on Instagram, and I started getting job offers there. It wasn’t until I started working for brands and artists that I became a fan of how real it felt.

I was both intimidated and excited. I think it’s been hard not to suffer from imposter syndrome when you work in an industry with some of the smartest and most creative people. But I knew it was for me. I knew I had to work hard and prove myself and I always had enough passion to continue doing that.

Eventually I had to stop treating it as a hobby and more of a business, making more professional contacts, bringing back clients and continuing to style in a way that felt personal and unique to me in Australia. Being kind and considerate to everyone you work with goes a long way! Educating yourself on issues within the industry so that we can all make it better together (is important and) also being assertive, believing in your vision and yourself. Keep going!


Emma Dettre, PR director at The Known Agency

For Australian Fashion Week 2024, The Known Agency has teamed up with three designers to bring their catwalks to life. We work with our brands in press, production, partnerships, guest lists, dressings and onsite management. I like to think we are the ‘go-to’ people and bring all the show elements together. It’s a lot of logistics and dynamic work!

I always knew I wanted to go into fashion and thought it would be through design, but after university I interned at magazines and PR agencies and then got my first job working for Nikki Andrews at NAC. Looking back, I was so green, but I was eager to learn and I learned so much in the five years I was there working on amazing international luxury brands.

I then joined the team at The Known Agency and have since been working with young Australian and New Zealand brands on their communications and events. My advice to anyone looking to enter the industry is to be proactive and reach out to your dream companies for an internship. We have hired great team members who were interns over the years. Initiative and a positive attitude can go a long way!


Ntombi Moyo, costume designer and celebrity stylist

This year I’m going to shows and pulling selections for projects off the runway. I started in the industry working in a fashion photography studio and I loved it. It has expanded my understanding of production and all the departments involved in creating visuals.

Outside of work, I have been working as a freelancer to build my client base in Australia. Ultimately, I gained a lot of experience, became known locally and jobs continued to come organically. My only advice to anyone wanting to work in the industry is that it will take ten years to become an overnight success. Put in the time!


Lucy Hanson, communications manager at NAC Media Group

This will be my third Australian Fashion Week. Working at NAC Media Group, our role during Fashion Week is to work on the overarching media and press outcomes for Australian Fashion Week. You’ll see a member of the NAC Media Group at every Australian Fashion Week show; Carriageworks will be our home base for the week.

My love for the fashion industry started in college where I participated in many fashion internships in different sectors such as retail, marketing, social media, communications and public relations, where I found my interest and love for fashion PR. I used my skills from my many internships to apply for jobs and persevered until I got my dream job, working and doing something I love. Don’t be afraid to reach out and message people.


For more information about Australian Fashion Week, please visit here.