Fashion Design Course Tutors

Laura Hawthorne

Laura studied a Diploma of Fashion Design and then completed her Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design. She started with her eye on costume design, but after experiencing the fast-paced and trend-driven environment of the global fashion scene, she was hooked.

Throughout her time in the industry, Laura has worked across multiple categories for men, women, and children, including swimwear, underwear, sportswear, day wear, and evening wear.

Laura’s fashion career has seen her traveling to Indonesia, China, and Hong Kong to find suppliers, create relationships with factories and manage production. She loves learning about new trends in the design and production process and emerging technologies in the TFC industry that she can also share with her students.

Laura now focuses on teaching and loves mentoring her students and guiding them to bring their creative visions to life. Recently, she started getting requests to make wedding, bridesmaid, and formal dresses from some friends and family, which has led to her founding her label Poppy and Blake.

With a passion for delicate fabrics, fine craftsmanship, and intricate details, she spends many hours each week in her home studio creating one-of-a-kind bridal gowns for her clients.


Katharine Giles

Katharine Giles has been involved in all aspects of the fashion industry for over 25 years. Her love of fashion began at a young age, inspired by her talented seamstress mother, who designed and made her own beautiful clothing.

Katharine studied Fashion Design and Styling and began her professional fashion career as a cutter and patternmaker. She designed and managed womenswear fashion ranges for several brands, supplying retailers globally. Building and leading design teams through these years, Katharine attained extensive experience in fabric sourcing and initiating and implementing off-shore development programs.

Katharine has worked as a buyer and fashion forecaster for major retailers, responsible for identifying and interpreting market trends. Fashion design has seen her travel extensively with sourcing and research trips to Europe, America, and Asia.

An experienced stylist of advertisements and catalogues and with her knowledge of fit and a love of creating looks, it was a natural progression for Katharine to immerse herself in personal styling, working with clients to provide a co-ordinated range of clothes and accessories to suit body shape and colour.

Katharine continues to work on her own projects. She brings a wealth of experience and flair to her tutoring work and is excited to share her extensive knowledge with the students at The Fashion Design Institute.

Christina Exie

Christina is a winner of the prestigious reality TV show Project Runway 2012, which set a perfect platform for her to achieve global design success.

After getting her fashion degree and being an entrepreneur at heart, she launched her Athleisure wear brand EXIE.

She has helped multiple six-figure brands scale from concept through to operations, providing advice from her 15 years of global roles and personal experience founding and growing two e-commerce, wholesale and now retail businesses.

She recognises trends and patterns early to help others understand how these shifts impact markets, consumer behavior, and brand relevance.

I loved this class and have learned so much more than I ever expected to. It's gotten me excited about creating a fashion line! Thank you!

Teresa Robinette

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