Paige McMillan encourages HSC students to dream big

From Singleton High School graduate to Sydney stylist, 22-year-old Paige McMillan is already making waves in the fashion industry.

Her talent, dedication and enthusiasm have seen her thrive in the industry, and it seems that for the young fashionista it’s only just the beginning.

Interestingly, her passion for textiles and design came about by sheer luck, or as Paige would describe it, by fate.

HARD WORK: Following Year 12, Paige studied a certificate IV in fashion design and technology at Newcastle TAFE. Now, she is a Fashion Editor in Sydney.

HARD WORK: Following Year 12, Paige studied a certificate IV in fashion design and technology at Newcastle TAFE. Now, she is a Fashion Editor in Sydney.

“In Year 10 when we were told to select our electives for the senior years, I had actually chosen to study photography, although they didn’t have enough students to run it,” she says.

 “So I was asked to select from an available list and textiles and design happened to be on there.”

Paige had little knowledge of what textiles and design would entail and had only ever really sewn with her grandmother. But she’d always had a keen interest in fashion, so she decided to give it a go.

And, it’s a good thing she did because since graduating in 2013, Paige has gone from strength to strength. Though, it hasn’t been without hours of hard work and months of interning.

Following Year 12, Paige studied a certificate IV in fashion design and technology at Newcastle TAFE, where she was able to get a feel for the industry.

Through the course she was able to assist the costumes department for the film, Gods of Egypt, which was shot in Fox Studios in Sydney.  The experience sparked something in Paige, and excited her beyond doubt.

“Shortly after my course I applied for a position in the Diploma class of Costume for Performance at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney,” Paige says, noting that it was during her studies that she realised the fashion industry is where her true passion lies.

STYLISH: Paige McMillan says a classic trench coat and heels is her favourite style combination.

STYLISH: Paige McMillan says a classic trench coat and heels is her favourite style combination.

From getting a job as an assistant for Pacific Magazines to just recently getting promoted to a Fashion Editor role, Paige is a shining example of how to make a career in creative arts work. She has styled a number of shoots, with a Carols in the Domain feature being a personal highlight. For the Christmas inspired shoot, she was able to style an outfit for singer, Dami Im.

Paige has even started her very own styling company – Paige McMillan Styling – which she showcased at Newcastle Fashion Weekend last month.

It’s particularly important to showcase Paige’s success as the year comes to a close, with Higher School Certificate marks soon to be released.  

“For the students awaiting their HSC results, I would like to tell you not to give up,” Paige says.

Whether students are looking toward university studies, TAFE courses or full time employment, Paige says it’s vital to remember there are many avenues to choose, regardless of your final marks.

 “Work hard and push yourself to a reasonable limit to put yourself out there, and apply for any course, apprenticeship, internship or traineeship that interests you,” Paige says.

“Don't think ‘I couldn't do that’ or ‘I'm not smart enough for that’ because you are.

“But also be prepared to donate hours of your time in order to get ahead in life - don't sit back and expect opportunities to come to you. You need to find them yourself and show innovative.”

As 2017 comes to an end, Paige is looking forward to challenging herself in her new position in the coming year.

“I have so much to learn and am so excited for the road ahead.”​