Meet the Teen Who Scored a Fashion Design Scholarship by Designing an Outfit for Kylie
Chanelle Davenport was 14 when she first entered the design competition Wool4School, just for fun.
Now 18, she’s embarking on a two-year scholarship at Sydney’s acclaimed Whitehouse Institute of Design, with the goal of getting her Bachelor of Design, becoming a professional designer and owning a fashion business.
"I start next Monday," she excitedly tells Student Edge, almost one year to the day after we first interviewed her.
And for this amazing opportunity, she can thank Kylie Minogue. Kinda. But we’ll get to that.
The Whitehouse scholarship means she’s had to move from Queensland to Sydney, which Chanelle calls "a big change". Now living in Newtown on her own, she’s enjoying herself—"there’s a very fun vibe about it"—though it was difficult to "leave everything I’ve known my whole life, to such a bigger place."
So, how’d she get here? And what does Kylie Minogue have to do with it? (Bear with us.)
In 2016, Chanelle scored a SABA internship by winning the Year 11 Wool4School design competition, after two consecutive years of settling for honourable mentions.
"I got to Year 11, I thought, 'Well, this is my last year; I’ve got to put all my effort into this,'" she remembers.
But when Wool4School opened their competition up to Year 12s, with the coveted Whitehouse scholarship as a prize, Chanelle couldn’t resist.
"I was like, 'This is the last, last year; I’m gonna try my best.' And I really wanted that prize as well."
The good news? She got it. How? By focusing on the winning strategy that brought her victory in Year 11: Being Aussie as.
"Growing up, I was influenced by my surroundings and what people wear, especially for the tennis outfit that I created [in 2016]," she says.
"Because [the competition is] focusing on Merino wool, I like making my design Australian."
And what says Australia more than ‘Our Kylie’?
"I made an outfit for Kylie Minogue," Chanelle explains, adding that she was most inspired by her 2000 – 2001 era.
"I incorporated Merino wool wherever I could, and I wanted to showcase her fun side; her feminine side. She has very nice, simple garments; I wanted to make a nice, simple garment to reflect her style. I incorporated boots, because I thought they were one of her key features."
(Don’t believe Chanelle? Check out what Kylie’s wearing in the video for her new single, "Dancing".)
Now, with her scholarship, Chanelle inches closer to actually designing clothes for Australia’s most famous singers and stars.
"[At Whitehouse] I was able to choose between Interior Design, Creative Styling and Direction or Fashion Design, and I chose Fashion Design, because it’s something I now want to pursue as a career,” she says.
"They’ll talk us through the history of fashion and well-known fashion designers. There’s pattern making and illustrating [too]. I’m mostly interested in the illustration side of it; that’d be really handy to know if I want to set up my own fashion business."
Though she knows where she wants to head now, it all began with a chance entry in Wool4School four years earlier.
"It’s just a really good competition; it gave me a lot of insight into the basics to fashion designing and I became really interested in it," she says.
"The competition comes with [a student booklet] and it talks you through it. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in fashion."
We should be so lucky.