Course Title: Fashion and Design - Australian Icons

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 037044

Course Title: Fashion and Design - Australian Icons

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: Juliette Peers

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 9925 2784

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Fashion and Design – Australian Icons introduces students to the design experience in Australia covering fashion design and other design disciplines. How designers use, quote, subvert, parody or honour their predecessors will be discussed. The course will consider the impact of the past upon the present and how locality or national identity may inform or hinder the design process. It will also consider the changing nature of identity stereotypes and how they interact with the design process in different eras.

Design is on the national agenda as a major opportunity for Australia in both cultural and economic development but the rich local tradition in design is not widely published or easily accessible through anthologies or encyclopedias. Australian design history remains locked in the short term catchments of old magazines and personal recollections. Students will be introduced to the work of key designers and explore the Australian experience of visual and social culture through design. Australia’s persistent traditions of radical, speculative thinking around design and the consistent delivery of creative problem solving, often under adverse conditions will be a central focus of discussion. This course will uncover and celebrate Australian design and designers across disciplines and media as significant objects of material culture and the working lives of Australian designers as personal resource and inspiration.
The Frances Burke Textile Resource Centre (, ), School of Architecture and Design, holds many popular and ephemeral resources related to fashion, design and related areas which will be used as source material for this course.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The student will be able to:

Develop an appreciation of Australian fashion designers and other design professionals.
Extend and employ skills in critical thinking and communication, social analysis and research presentation with an emphasis on the fashion and design disciplines as they have developed in Australia

The student will be able to:

Uncover the innovations and achievement of Australian design talent in fashion and other disciplines
Debate whether there has been or is an identifiable ‘Australian’ style or approach to design in various media
Understand how contemporary and past Australian designers respond to the new markets and audiences created by changing social conditions.
Consider how design impacts upon lifestyle and how designers speak for their eras and the concerns and obsessions of their generation.
Understand Australian design in light of such issues as social, political and technical challenges of the past and future
Understand how or why design objects have achieved or do achieve success.
Examine concepts of ‘good’ design. Is there a formula? What does Australia contribute to such debates?
Develop a critical awareness of the links between consumer goods, lifestyle products and broader design, cultural, artistic issues in contemporary and historical Australia

Overview of Learning Activities

Hands-on access – i.e. viewing, reading, research - to the resources of the Frances Burke Textile Resource Centre at RMIT constitutes a core activity in this course

This course consists of lectures/panel discussions and staff-led tutorials developed from issues raised during weekly sessions. Learner directed hours include the research and development of written projects around a notable design professional of choice and a group project to be presented during class time. Self-guided research, reflection, analysis and peer interaction will also be provided

Lectures and activities will develop student understanding of
• The relevance of Australian locality/identity to the design process
• The importance/use of history and heritage in design practice
• How design objects are perceived by peers and popular audience
• The visibility of historic design in the marketplace and in cultural industry
• The history of design in Australia – from the late nineteenth century to the present day
• Major figures in Australian design
• Perspectives on recent design
• Placing Australian design in a global context

Overview of Learning Resources

There are no prescribed texts
Recommended references:
Michael Bogle Design in Australia, 1880-1970 Sydney: Craftsman House: G+B Arts International, c1998.
Grace Cochrane The crafts movement in Australia : a history Kensington, N.S.W. : NSW University Press, 1992
Margaret Maynard Out of line : Australian women and style Sydney : UNSW Press, 2000.

Overview of Assessment

In order to pass this course, students must gain a pass all areas, which will include two research projects, class exercises and interactive activities.

Individual Project:
Individual written/visual portfolio assignment on a significant Australian Designer – their practice, viewpoint and design output – chosen by the student in conjunction with staff 3,000 words 50%

Group Project:
Group report and presentation delivered in class Australian design products as presented in a Melbourne retail, heritage or similar environment 500-1,000 words per participants 30%

Course Workbook:
Annotated visual diary and collection of relevant written & visual source material responding to issues raised in class and collection of related visual/written material responding to issues from the class 20 %