LOCAL DESIGNER WINS ETSY AWARD

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By Tom Parker

 

Collingwood designer Sarah Van Oosterom was recently awarded the Fashion & Accessories Etsy Design Award in recognition of her outstanding work in the leather bag industry.

 

Speaking to The Northsider, she said it was nice to finally get noticed.

 

“It was good to get some recognition after working so hard for so long. It’s good to get recognition for what you’re doing apart from just making sales as you go,” she said.

 

Van Oosterom edged out eleven other talented nominees to claim the award and will not only receive coverage on Etsy social media but will also have a feature in the October issue of Inside Out Magazine.

 

She was judged by Etsy’s own managing director, Helen Souness, along with Senior Curator of the National Gallery of Victoria, Ewan McEoin, Inside Out Magazine’s Editor-in-chief, Claire Bradley and journalist and blogger Jen Bishop.

 

They were looking for the very best craftsmanship and high quality design in six different categories: Art, Illustration & Paper goods, Home & Lifestyle, Fashion & Accessories, New Talent, Business As Usual and Community Choice.

 

Van Oosterom is coming up to her third year in business, however it wasn’t until she was at least 21 that she realised fashion design was her desired path. After graduating high school, she decided to study a Fine Art degree at RMIT, but three years later her initial job prospects looked bleak.

 

It was good to get some recognition after working so hard for so long. It’s good to get recognition for what you’re doing apart from just making sales as you go.”

 

She began a teaching course with the hope of becoming an art teacher but when she struggled to secure a job in that field, an offer to join a friend in Japan was too good to refuse.

 

“January came and I wasn’t doing anything and a friend said ‘hey, I’m in Japan, do you want to come work in a bar over here?’ because bar work was my part-time work,” she commented.

 

What was perceived as an opportunity to travel soon escalated into something more career defining.

 

“I’d done some part-time leather work in Australia already, and when I went over there I happened to meet a Japanese man who had a leather factory,” she said.

 

“The Japanese man said he would pay me because I already had experience in leather but I told him I didn’t want to get paid because I wanted him to teach me. I managed to learn a lot in small amount of time because I wasn’t just working for him, he was actually teaching me.”

 

Having learnt all she could from her Japanese master, she returned to Melbourne with the intention of establishing her own business.

 

“It was slow building it up, because I didn’t have any start-up funds so I had to work part-time to fund it. It’s about year three now and I’m only just doing it full-time,” she said.

 

Sarah Van Oosterom

Sarah Van Oosterom

 

Sarah’s studio is located at 21 Easey Street, Collingwood. For more information, visit www.sarahvanoosterom.com.

 

 

Tom is in his final semester of a sports journalism degree at La Trobe University. Residing in Brunswick East, he has a strong grasp of everything happening in the northside, whether it be music, sport or even fashion.

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