By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A stitch in time saves nine, so the saying goes.
But there were no shortcuts for Berwick’s Harry Milward who at 24 embarked on a fashion design course without knowing how to sew or make a pattern.
Plenty of people doubted whether Mr Milward could even do a patchwork job during the Kangan Institute course but he rose to impressive heights.
Last year his Tokyo-inspired collection Storm was selected for the 2016 Melbourne Spring Fashion Week’s emerging collective runway.
Recently he also won the institute’s most inspirational student award 2016.
The award is for a student who excelled despite dealing with several obstacles, Mr Milward said.
His teacher nominated Mr Milward because he wasn’t afraid to stand up for his opinions and was ready to lend a hand to other students.
“It’s a way of saying I’m opinionated,” Mr Milward jokes.
He started the course after feeling burnt out working in photography.
“I knew nothing about fashion except from a distance,” he said.
“I couldn’t sew a stitch. My first-year teacher didn’t think I’d get past the first year because I didn’t have the background.
“I was a blank canvas.”
Midway through that initial year, Mr Milward had to pull out of studies after being hospitalised with a lung infection.
But he came back stronger the next year.
“A lot of the teachers said I didn’t finish off (my work) the best but I had the sharpest level of improvement.
“I don’t think I’m the best at anything but you’ve got to learn and do better each time.”
Since graduating, Mr Milward is learning still more as an intern with Richmond designer Vincent Li.
Mr Milward is especially looking forward with flying with Li to fashion week events in Shanghai and Hong Kong in April.
“I love the industry so I’m just trying to work hard.
“It really shows you can really build something out of nothing.”