It’s a long way from the small country town of Goroke to the fashion catwalks of the world, but Tamika Sewell is bridging the gap.
After years of being interested in sewing, followed by a number of successes in fashion competitions in recent times, she has now started her own fashion label, Tamika J.
An excited Tamika said: “I specialise in custom made and designed garments in which I design and create an outfit for my customer.
“My first customer since starting the label was Airley Mulraney from Goroke who I designed and made a dress for to wear to the Goroke formal in March.
“The dress is made from a thick stretch crepe and features a lace bodice and back. I also made my own deb dress for the Mundulla Debutante Ball in 2015.”
Tamika showed an interest in fashion early in life, learning sewing from her grandma and mum.
“I eventually started the subject Product Design and Technology at school (Edenhope College) which is where things really started to take off,” Tamika recalled. “I completed the VCE units of this subject (VCE is equivalent of SACE) when in Year 10 and got a great score putting me in the top 9% of the state.
“That same year I decided to enter the garment I made for this school subject into a fashion competition called AATFA (Apex Australia Teenage Fashion Awards) and came second in the state (Victoria) in the category of "Formal Wear" - going on to represent the state at nationals (2013).
“The following year I entered the same garment into the Australian Fashion Awards and was awarded 1st place in "Formal Wear" and also received the "Secondary College Designer of the Year" award (2014). I continued sewing and expanding my skills, entering both these competitions again in 2015.
"During my year 12 studies at Edenhope College (2015) the garment I made for Studio Arts went on to win the "Calico" category at the Australian Fashion Awards.”
Last year, Tamika took a break from sewing and moved to Adelaide to study at University of Adelaide.
She moved back to Naracoorte after finding employment, but she continues to study online through the University of New England. She’s studying Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Bachelor of Economics.
Tamika plans to continue running her label Tamika J on the side while working and studying.