Behind the Door: Frances Harvey

  • Career
    Behind the Door: Frances Harvey

Source: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia gallery

Behind the Door is a series that goes behind the scenes with Miro Door volunteers, exploring the many ways in which we help connect people with opportunities within the fashion and creative industries. 

Today we get to know Frances Harvey who joined us this year at MBFWA.  Frances has qualifications in Political Science, International Relations and History and works at an after school care centre.  We hear from Frances and her experience with Miro Door.

Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’ve been brought up in a family of avid scientists, so fashion and the arts were never an obvious choice in the beginning. I have a degree in Political Science and International Relations, and History and have always been fascinated by current events and human rights. I work full time at an after school care centre at a primary school, and sell feminist embroidery pieces on the side. I volunteer with a youth-run non-profit called UN Youth Australia, and whenever I have a spare moment you can find me trawling through op shops. 

How did you hear about Miro Door?

I’m actually moving over to Sydney next year to start studying Fashion Design. I was researching internship and fashion opportunities in Sydney and stumbled across the Miro Door site. It was exactly what I was looking for, and considering I volunteered at Telstra Perth Fashion Festival (TPFF) last year, I definitely wanted to give MBFWA a go.

Can you share with us any events you have been involved in prior to MBFWA and what they were like?

I haven’t done too many thus far, but I did help out quite a bit with TPFF in September last year. In many ways, if you’ve done one fashion show you’ve done them all. This isn’t strictly true, but once you get the lingo down and learn what people require for a fashion show to run, you’re pretty much ready to help out at any show. At the end of last year I helped dress at a fashion show for the Wesfarmers AGM and got to work with toddler models! They were so unbelievably cute and sassy it was probably the most hilarious dressing experience I’ve ever had. 

What were the roles you were asked to do during MBFWA and what did you learn?

On my first day I arrived at 7am and immediately put my hand up for Back of House. I was taken to backstage of the Runway theatre and the rest is history.  I stayed in the Runway theatre for almost four days straight with Amelia Hermawan and her team. I helped with all kinds of preparation for the shows, from organising model racks, to assisting designers, to even walking the runway during technical rehearsals (needless to say I won’t be taking up a career in modelling anytime soon). I dressed models in an array of incredible designs from student designers to internationally recognised labels. I even had the privilege to dress Samantha Harris for the swim show! Basically if there was something to be done, I would do it, no matter what the job was. It’s absolutely exhausting, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. 

What studies will you be undertaking next year and how will this help towards your goals?

I’m off to Sydney to study Fashion Design! I’m unsure if actually being a designer is my final goal, but hey, who knows exactly what they want to do at my age? Not many people I can tell you that. I’m so excited to start studying and working within the industry. I already make some clothes on the side that have been featured in some university fashion shows which is pretty exciting. All of the clothes I make are made out of recycled and second hand fabrics (pillow cases, curtains, duvet covers etc.) I really value sustainability and ethical design, so I’m hoping my degree can lead me down that path and give me the skills to make a difference.

Are there any interesting people (besides models/designers) that you met during MBFWA that made an impression on you and why?

I certainly did! But there were way too many to be able to remember them all. I met another volunteer, Rachel, who came up to MBFWA from Melbourne and who’s on a similar path as me. She has a similar degree in Politics and History but ultimately wants to pursue fashion. We really bonded having met each other back of house for the Alice McCall show and I definitely hope to see her again sometime. Amelia who worked Back of House in Runway was also incredible to meet. She was so very kind and generous to take me under her wing and let me assist on all of her shows. I had such a blast at MBFWA and can’t wait to come back. 

Do you feel your experience as a volunteer for Miro Door was beneficial and a good path to take considering your goals and aspirations?

Absolutely! I met so many wonderful people who shared the same views and ideas as me, which is always an exciting feeling. I now feel like I have more knowledge and more to offer the fashion industry, and maybe I’ll get to showcase my designs in a few years’ time.

Any tips for first time Volunteers for Miro Door?

Take every chance you get! If you’re ready for every opportunity, people start to get to know you, and you never know, one of those people may lead you onto a job or another cool experience! Plus you’ll have a bunch of fun hanging around doing things you enjoy with other like-minded people. There’s always things to learn, so take whatever you can from the experience and run with it. 

Source Images: Tereza Berkemeier and Frances Harvey


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