Yousef Akbar, a student of fashion design at the TAFE Sydney Institute – Fashion Design Institute, took home the overall title at the 2015 NSW/ACT Graduate of the Year Awards (GOTYA).

The winners of the 2015 Design Institute of Australia NSW/ACT GOTYA program were announced recently in Tusculum, Potts Point, home of the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter. Graduates, students, DIA members, design professionals, educators and industry leaders came together to celebrate the design skills and excellence of top NSW and ACT design graduates.

Now in its 12th year, the Graduate of the Year Award (GOTYA) is a prestigious portfolio-based awards program organised by the Design Institute of Australia to provide an opportunity to the highest-level final year undergraduate design students or recent graduates to be recognised and celebrated for their work. Top design students are nominated to their state level GOTYA program, with each student submitting three different studio projects prior to attending an interview with the judges.

The 2015 awards program received 70 nominations across seven design categories from Western Sydney University, University of Canberra, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, TAFE Sydney Institute – Fashion Design Studio, TAFE Sydney Institute – Design Centre Enmore, and Whitehouse Institute of Design.

All the nominations were evaluated by a jury consisting of Clive Solari (D3 Design), Andrew Simpson (Vert Design), Jenna Redfern (Camilla), Nicole Phillips (Gensler), Bernadette Bellwood (Bellwood), Kenneth King (Kingdom Home), Jason Moss (Jason Moss Jewellery Design), Andy Medhurst (Cox Architecture), and Madeline Lester (Madeline Lester + Associates).

2015 NSW/ACT GOTYA category winners:

Graphic Design: Yan Lin, University of Technology Sydney

Interior Design: Hannah Clifton, University of Technology Sydney

Industrial Design: Amy Leedham, University of New South Wales

Interior Design & Decoration: Rosie Schloeffel, TAFE Sydney Institute - Design Centre Enmore

Jewellery & Object Design: Rei Mai, TAFE Sydney Institute - Design Centre Enmore

Textile Design: Elizabeth Hackney, University of New South Wales

Fashion Design: Yousef Akbar, TAFE Sydney Institute – Fashion Design Institute

Overall winner of 2015 NSW/ACT GOTYA

Yousef Akbar, the winner in the Fashion Design category, also won the title of overall winner of the 2015 NSW/ACT GOTYA.

Yousef from the TAFE Sydney Institute – Fashion Design Institute, impressed the judges with his collections, which “demonstrate his ability to harness inspiration from personal experiences into his design. His inspirations are well researched and beautifully translated into his body of work. His hand-beaded pieces in his graduate collection are remarkable and the love and patience that has gone into each one is immediately evident. His playfulness with unconventional materials makes him a stand out. The creative use of hardware throughout his designs brings an edge to his soft materials and tailoring. Yousef's ready to wear collection is a strong representation of his creativity in a commercial form. His entire body of work is a union of creativity, craftsmanship and dedication. Yousef is well deserving of this award and it is exciting to watch such a well-developed talent continue to produce amazing work”.

The exhibition of GOTYA finalists’ entries will be open for viewing by the public at Tusculum from Thursday 31 March to Wednesday, 6 April (business days only, 9:00am to 5:00pm). Entry is free.

Image: Yousef Akbar