Bronte Hamilton completed her Bachelor of Design in Textile Design in 2015 and immediately joined Auckland based luxury knitwear manufacturer, Lothlorian, where she was able to apply the skills that she learned during the course of her studies at AUT. Bronte has a strong interest in sustainable fashion and is keen to contribute to maintaining a viable fashion and apparel manufacturing sector here in New Zealand. She continues to spend much of her working time creating innovative fabrics and looking at ways of conveying them to the consumer.
Whilst studying for her degree, Bronte worked under the supervision of lecturing staff, Dr Mandy Smith and Rachelle Moore and gained much of her practical knitting skills and experience under the mentorship of Textile and Design Lab (TDL) Senior Technician, Gordon Fraser. ‘The TDL allowed me to explore how garments could be produced locally and with less waste through the use of WholeGarment® (seamless) knitting, shaped knitting and digital placement printing. As there were no time constraints at the lab, I was able to explore and develop my own knitting techniques across multiple design briefs but also work on skills that were important to me personally but outside of my studio papers’ remit’, she says.
Bronte’s skills acquired during her degree convinced Lothlorian Knitwear to employ her immediately after graduating. ‘I have been there two and a half years now and I’m in a great role with lots of variety and learning opportunities including designing, programming and sampling new garments each season, which are definitely the highlights of my job’, she adds. ‘Other day to day tasks include machine set-ups, running production orders, altering programmes to optimise garment quality, machine cleaning and repairs and annual machine maintenance work. I have been fortunate to go twice to Shima Seiki’s training centre in Japan to help me further up-skill and learn how to programme and operate the new machines that the company has bought’, says Bronte.
Bronte was fortunate to walk out of university and straight into what she describes as ‘a graduate’s dream role’. ‘I wholeheartedly believe that I wouldn’t be in this job if it weren’t for the TDL. Gordon went above and beyond the call of duty to show me skills that are required for the workplace in the knitting industry that weren’t part of my design course but have since proved invaluable to me. I showed a strong interest in learning not only the requirements for my course but for learning how to operate and fix machines. I wanted to design with production in mind, and most importantly, learn how to programme fabrics and garments myself without relying on a technician to have the best chance possible of getting a good job. Gordon showed me all these things and more at my own pace and time. Because I learned a wider skill set through the TDL, I was able to start work in the job with confidence where programming and running/maintaining machines are equally as important as my design skills’, she says.