Orana Trainer: Yvonne Wallace


With a career that most people in the fashion industry only dream of, Yvonne Wallace has done it all. From working with top fashion companies, like David Jones and Westfield, to opening her very own college in 2013, Yvonne is now sharing her wealth of knowledge with students looking to follow in her fashionable footsteps. The founder and director of Orana Fashion Business College, where I currently study, discusses all things fashion and careers as well as her advice for to people looking to pursue fashion as a career. This is her career journey... so far.
At just 14 years of age, Yvonne was already experiencing the all that the fashion industry had to offer, working each and every week with a stylist at David Jones campaigns and shows. From here, her career was only growing, securing a full time position as a visual merchandiser for MYER Miranda (where I currently intern!). Having stayed at this position for almost 3 years, Yvonne started freelancing, and currently still does in one of her most prominent roles with Westfield. With freelancing came a lot of collaborations with some very well-known brands, including InStyle, Cleo, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and the Darnell Collection.

Photo Credit- Orana Fashion Business College Facebook page. Yvonne Wallace pictured in the middle.
In 2013, with a love working with other creatives and wanting to have her own business, Yvonne decided to launch Orana Fashion Business College; a definite highlight for her. Her journey from Westfield personal styling, and developing a passion for helping others and leaving an everlasting impact on their lives through this, only made the decision to open Orana feel even more natural than it already did, especially with a family full of educators around her. We then went onto to discuss the influence of social media on the fashion industry, something I continuously notice through blogging and studying and love to hear more and more about. Yvonne says that the influence of social media on the way we view fashion is a very positive change, meaning a couple things in particular. She went on to explain how the idea of the supermodel has immensely changed, and how we as viewers aren't exposed to a stereotypical image of what a model is, like there was years ago. She says that social media has become a means of more inspiration for people, as well as there being something for everyone. Social media has now become such a different playing field from what it once was as everyone can now have a go, Yvonne says.
Yvonne describes the best part of her current position as never boring and always different; always being inspired and always connecting with new people. She then said the hardest part of her job is that there are not enough hours in the day, feeling as though there is so much to give in not enough time, a perfect example of her passion for the industry. Just like I do, she looks for inspiration everywhere, especially online, but also ensuring that her eyes and ears are always open, looking for inspiration and tools everywhere to incorporate into her career. Yvonne went onto explain how she looks to female in senior positions for inspiration, funny because I've always looked to Yvonne in the same way- an empowering, successful woman who has worked extremely hard to get to where she is today. (#femaleempowerment !)

Above- Inside Orana College.
To Yvonne, fashion is so important; describing it as being a creative outlet for so many people and a great tool for people to feel confident within themselves. Ultimately, she believes that these two things put together bring a lot of happiness. Fashion has not only opened lots of doors and created a job for Yvonne but, being a visual person, fashion is the means of a creative outlet for Yvonne; a means of connecting with people and putting her visual ideas into something people can be inspired by, which for her is incredibly rewarding, she says.
Yvonne shared with me that some of the greatest advice she's been given is to work hard to get the job done, something I see evidence of in everything Yvonne has achieved in her career. She discussed a defining moment in her career in which she spoke with a stylist early on in her career and felt as though she wasn't growing or getting anywhere. This stylist told her to be patient and keep moving forward. She also explained how the fashion industry is so brutal and its hard to not care about what people think of you, and in saying this, told me that you can't let that get to you. I then threw the question back to Yvonne, asking her about what advice she would give to people looking to pursue fashion. Her answer was simple and with a laugh she said once again... work hard to get the job done. Her final tips for pursuing fashion are ones that I will continue to live by - be proactive, get involved as much as possible, never think you are better than anyone, keep moving forward, everything takes time, don't get distracted (put the phone down, Jess) and most importantly, don't forget why you started in the first place.
Thankyou, Yvonne for taking the time yesterday to answer all of my questions. Thankyou for all your advice and support so far this year and thankyou for being a wonderful mentor.
Much love,

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