NewsTuesday 05 Jul 2016

Kyah sews up a career in fashion and film

Local creative, Kyah May Dwyer has unlocked her creative imagination kicking off a dream career sewing and designing costumes for major film productions, using skills that she nurtured and developed at North Coast TAFE Institute.

Kyah took audience members at Friday’s North Coast TAFE student fashion showcase on an adventure into her imagination displaying her old-fashioned-fable inspired collection of costumes.

“I love old world stories so I combined inspiration from modern surrealist Ann Bachiliers with my love of 1700s painter John Ansen Fitzgerald in my costumes,” said Kyah.

After years of searching, she was determined to find her calling which led her to the Certificate III in Costume at North Coast TAFE Wollongbar. This year she went on to complete the Diploma of Costume for Performance.

Challenged by the costly lifestyle in Sydney, Kyah moved back to the north coast and was surprised to discover she could live the northern rivers lifestyle with access to world class costume and fashion education right on her doorstep in Wollongbar.

“I initially moved to Sydney to study because I thought I would have access to the best costume courses there, I didn’t realise that the course offered at North Coast TAFE was so amazing,” said Kyah.”Kyah May Dwyer, Byron Bay


“I don’t think many people know quite how lucky we are here – just a quick drive from Byron Bay we have access to one of the nation’s best courses – we have the best of everything”.

At 36, Kyah feels lucky to be able to unleash her imagination with a career that sees her using her hands to create whimsicle, dreamlike characters.

“I love the hands on element to costume making, in fact I feel so lucky to have been exposed to this amazing creative experience – it’s such a personal journey.”

Finding a career that is both fulfilling and pays the bills can be a challenge but Kyah has taken that in her stride.

“As part of the course I had to undertake work placement, so I reached out to Jim Ionidies who is a hero of the costume industry”.

Kyah spent her placement creating samurai costumes with Jim who has been creating costumes for over thirty years for Movie World.

“Jim taught me so much, I got to work with leather and I loved the extra finishing details, the creative process was really inspiring”.

Through her practical work placement, Jim recognised Kyah’s capability and passion and recruited her to design and create the costumes for current movies in production on the Gold Coast.

The course wasn’t all a dream however, there were moments through Kyah’s studies where she was challenged and struggled but her teachers and community helped her pull through.

“At some points I found it hard to stop because you become so engrossed in the creative process that you lose track of time, but my teachers and friends guided me through”.

Kyah describes the experience at North Coast TAFE as one that she wishes more people knew about, she thinks more people should know about the study and lifestyle she enjoys.

“My experience at TAFE was incredible, the facilities are second to none, and after previously studying in Sydney I didn’t expect the quality of the course to be so high”.

“The classrooms were equipped with cutting tables and industrial sewing equipment that are equivalent to or even better than industry. Our teachers and the support staff put in so much effort to ensure we were supported through the course”.

North Coast TAFE Costume Course coordinator, Nikki Harrington was over the moon with the output of the diploma students, particularly Kyah.

“It was a pleasure to teach Kyah and we are so proud of the designs and career she is forging,” said Nikki.

Semester 2 North Coast TAFE Fashion and Design courses commence July 18, 2016. 

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