In this interview, recorded in Professor Suzi Vaughan’s office, she shares with us her interesting career trajectory, from her start as a design student in London in the 1980s (with contemporaries including John Galliano), through to her recent appointment as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at QUT, where she is passionate about bringing design thinking to all areas of learning. She also describes some of her experiences and insights into Queensland fashion, and considers Brisbane’s place as a newly discovered ‘world city’ and growing market for international luxury fashion.
Suzi completed her fashion training at Central St Martin’s School of Art in London in the 1980s and then worked as a freelance womenswear designer before taking up positions in womenswear design in London and Hong Kong. In 1995 Suzi went back to London and began working as a design lecturer, her first teaching role. This eventually led her to be appointed Course Director of the BA Design Technology for the Fashion Industry at the London College of Fashion. In that role she led and managed the college’s degree course in menswear, womenswear, surface textiles for fashion, and accessories.
Suzi Vaughan has been a leading figure in the fashion scene in Brisbane since moving here from the United Kingdom to establish the fashion design course at QUT in 2002. As the first fine arts fashion design course at a university in Queensland, the course has been instrumental in producing leading graduates for the local, national, and international fashion industry.
Suzi is a respected educator and has received numerous teaching excellence awards in recognition of her work in fashion education and academic leadership. In 2008 she was a member of the expert reference group for the Federal Government Review of the Australian Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry, and in 2010 she became a member of the Queensland Design Council. Her research interests are in learning and teaching in higher education, particularly with respect to authentic learning, first year experience and the pedagogies of studio based learning.
Suzi has been a supportive and passionate advocate for local design, and continues to utilise her design teaching experience in her new role at QUT.
Published in Issue 4, on October 8, 2013.