GAF Story

Jemma Saunders

The Gordon
Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design and Technology

Jemma Saunders, The Gordon scholar

How did you feel when you were awarded a George Alexander Foundation scholarship?

I was both elated and overwhelmed. I felt tremendous gratitude that The George Alexander Foundation had chosen to invest in my education, dreams and passion for further personal and professional development.

What has it meant to you? What has it made possible?

If I did not receive this scholarship, I would not have been able to continue with my education as I did not have enough income to maintain my living expenses and would have been forced to undertake full-time employment and put my career ambitions on hold until I was in a position to undertake study again.

Where are you hoping your course will take you?

I am currently in the process of doing a business plan for my own label Jemma Saunders; I am endeavouring to complete a niche collection of max 30 pieces for a summer drop in 2016. I am super excited about this as, again, it would not be possible without the assistance of The George Alexander Foundation.

Do you do any community/volunteer work? Why is this important to you?

I am volunteering to support and assist with planning and preparation for the Australasian Young Designer Wool Awards, which I won last year, and the Barwon Health Catwalk For Cancer, of which I was runner up in the Young Designers category and I will also volunteer at the Fashion Awards Australia show later in the year. 

What, if any, connections have you made with other GAF scholars? Is this something you think should be encouraged?

I haven't made huge connections with the other GAF scholars mainly due to the busy work schedule that full time study brings. I would however find this networking opportunity to be valuable.  

If you could say anything to George Alexander, what would it be?

Receiving this scholarship has changed my life!! In more ways than I can express.

I have been able to stay in school and undertake my studies, building fundamental skills and abilities which will lead to full-time sustainable employment opportunities. I was able to meet the requirements of the course and have the appropriate equipment and materials to achieve academic success.  I have also been able to enter many competitions, which helps build a brand and a profile for myself and has generated strong networking contacts within the industry.

It has also resulted in me winning a scholarship to Milan, which was beyond my wildest dreams and was only possible as I was in a financial position to purchase material and enter in the first place.

In conclusion, the GAF scholarship has provided me with the opportunity for academic success, a career pathway and employment prospects, which has changed my life. 

I am eternally thankful and will endeavour to be a good ambassador for GAF and The Gordon TAFE.

Gaze into the crystal ball… what do you see for yourself ten years from now?

I envision that I will be content in all facets of my life. In particular, I hope that my fashion label will be well and truly embedded within the Australian Fashion Industry culture and be very successful.