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Award Goes to Fashion Student Focussed on Sustainability


The gift of a sewing machine from her grandma sparked Veronica’s interest in fashion and a year after receiving it, she enrolled in the Certificate II of Applied Fashion Design and Technologies at Box Hill Institute, which she completed in October last year. Her dedication to her studies led Veronica to receive the VETIS Student of the Year award at Box Hill Institute. 

“I was surprised to find out I won. I squealed just a little bit. I was excited to even be nominated. I feel proud of my work and lucky to have participated in my course. What a positive way to end such an amazing learning experience,” she said. 

Veronica was in year 10 when she started the Certificate II course. She said, “I was pretty set on fashion and wanted to do it properly. Doing a course at Box Hill Institute was very appealing. Five hours of sewing and fashion design a week instead of school? Sign me up!”

During her course, she developed a passion for sustainable design. She wants to have a positive impact on fashion, which has a reputation as a wasteful industry. Veronica became very curious about upcycling after Barbara Niglio, a sustainability fashion teacher in her first year, brought an inspiring portfolio of her work into class. 

In her second year, teacher Irene Kounelis took the students through the sustainability unit, which provided great insight into the subject. Veronica said, “It was amazing to have two teachers that could offer such a wealth of information and experience on the subject I found most resonated with me. Keeping in mind what I have learnt about, sustainability is a huge focus in my own projects now.” 

Veronica never completed her work with awards or praise in mind. She just has a genuine passion for the work and wanted to learn as much as she could. She loved her teachers and her classes and naturally, her work reflected that. She said, “When you apply yourself with genuine interest and devotion to a subject, it gets recognised and it will be respected.”  

Another great part of studying at Box Hill Institute for Veronica is the fact that she can learn in an adult environment, which she finds refreshing, and she took advantage of getting one-on-one time with her teachers. “I enjoyed being trusted to work independently and developing a strong connection with my teachers,” she said.

Box Hill Institute has equipped Veronica for the workforce and she now has a job that requires her to draw on the skills she gained her course. She said, “I have learnt so much at Box Hill Institute, including becoming familiar with an adult way of learning and a working environment, which I’m sure will serve me well. I feel confident using my skills as building blocks for my future career and study.”