The fashion industry is fast-paced, cutthroat and ruthless, says Jude Kingston, the girl from Tasmania, who grew up to be a fashion designer and entrepreneur.
The brutal nature of her industry of choice has only seemed to fuel Ms Kingston’s fire, as she prepares this week to speak at the 2019 New York Fashion Week.
Her humble beginnings started on Tasmania’s North-West Coast, where her first job was in a little boutique fashion shop in Burnie. Ms Kingston said that it was here she first dreamed of living a glamorous life in a big city, working as a designer.
“I’ve always liked fashion,” she said. “I used to read about New York Fashion Week back when I was at Wynyard, but I didn’t ever think I would be in the position I am in now.”
In her early 20s, Ms Kingston decided to act on her dream.
“I just got to a point where I just went, ‘right, I’ve got to go live in Melbourne’,” she said. “So I guess I just packed up and moved. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any connections.”
I decided that it was time to stop working for others and time to start doing something I love for me.
Jude Kingston, designer, teacher and entrepreneur.
Ms Kingston said that she managed to get a job at fashion house close to the place she had moved to, which eventually lead into a job as an assistant buyer for Myer.
“That was in the days when Myer was doing really well,” she said. “And that’s what catapulted everything.”
In her 30 years since getting that first job in Melbourne, Ms Kingston has dipped her toes into wide variety of areas within the fashion industry, including buying for major brands such as Target and Cotton On.
Her latest venture into a fashion business of her own, and her work in mentoring designers in the business side of being a creative who earns money, is what has earned her an invitation to speak in New York, .
“This industry can really burn you out,” she said.
“A catalyst for starting my own business was my father passing away, and I decided that it was time to stop working for others and time to start doing something I love for me. That was two years ago.
“You work hard and you go places. I’ve travelled extensively. I’ve put in a lot of volunteer time and I like to think that my success is because I’ve given so much to the industry.
“I’m still a Tasmanian even though I haven’t lived there for years. I’d like to tell people there to absolutely go with what you feel you should do, and give it everything you’ve got.”