Fashion designer Tia Carrigan.
Fashion designer Tia Carrigan.

Old church provides home for new fashion label

LIKE most girls, Tia Carrigan loves fashion but instead of being content with wearing fashion, she has turned it into a career.

The 24-year-old first became interested in fashion design as a 17-year-old high school student but she didn't pursue the career until she had studied a year of commerce at university.

“I realised at university I wanted to do something creative,” Miss Carrigan said.

“My mum has always sewed so it has always been a part of our household.”

Miss Carrigan has set up her studio in an abandoned church near Boomi, just across the Queensland/New South Wales border from Goondiwindi.

The church is full of tables for pattern-making, screen printing and sewing as well as the many dollies used to fit and design outfits.

And Miss Carrigan and her mum Claudia are hard at work there, preparing Tia's collection for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane.

This is the first time Miss Carrigan has shown at the festival and, after being knocked back last year, she is ecstatic to be given the opportunity.

Her collection, Inkblot Mentality, will make up part of the Queensland Government Design Innovation Group Show on Thursday, August 28.

“There are six designers in the group and we each have to present 12 outfits for a spring 08/summer 09 collection,” Miss Carrigan said.

“We get to choose all our own music and accessories like shoes.”

At the business end of putting the collection together, Miss Carrigan said it took her about three months to get a collection from start to finish.

She said what starts out as a basic idea gets researched and expanded on even before she puts pencil to paper to sketch ideas.

“Once we have a pattern, Mum sews up a sample and we put it on a dolly; there are a lot of changes made after that.”

Miss Carrigan, who does all her own screen printing, said her collection for the fashion festival featured a lot of bold prints and colours on stretchy, fluid fabrics.

“Fashion is always changing and I get to utilise all my favourite things - colour, design, print and imagination.”

Miss Carrigan studied an Advanced Diploma of Textiles, Clothing and Footwear at Moreton TAFE College.

In the course, she learnt everything from design, sewing and illustration to marketing and business management.

“A lot of work goes into design; a lot of people think it is just about picking up a pencil and designing clothes, but there is so much more to it,” she said.

“You have to be able to market yourself; otherwise people will never see your designs.”

Miss Carrigan has won the national Australian Young Designer in Cotton Awards which secured her a month-long internship with Italian fashion designer, Trussardi, in Milan, the Australian Wool Fashion Award's prestigious Supreme Excellence Award in 2007 and the Semi-Professional category at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards in Armidale, along with a highly commended medallion in the Collection category in March.

For more information on Tia and her designs visit

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