The chance to study in the fashion capital of the world, New York is a dream come true for Madison Hislop who had recently been awarded the top award in the 2019 Fleece to Fashion Awards.
Connecting woolgrowers and fashion designers was the point of the 2019 Fleece to Fashion Awards held recently in Armidale, where many intrigued by the rag trade entered their designs.
Taking the top award was young Sydney-based designer Madison Hislop, with her graduate collection 'In Love' made from a combination of knitwear, silk and woolen suitings.
In her collection Ms Hislop, a graduate of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Fashion and Design confirmed her desire for clothes to connect with the wearer's emotions.
With her bachelors (hon) degree in fashion and textile design, she is now in New York studying for a masters degree in fashion design at the Parsons School of Art and Design as the recipient of the 2019 Carla Zampatti Foundation Design Award.
"I'm very excited," she said.
"I have always loved making my own clothes, I fell in love with the process and in understanding how clothes felt on the body."
Her inspirations include Ellery and jacquemus.
"Ellery has the incredible edginess to it's quite feminine silhouettes," Ms Hislop said.
"And jacquemus is just so whimsical and carries happiness.
"It's a different side of emotion that I've tried to capture in my collection, but he does such an incredible job of capturing this carefree attitude in his clothes."
The fashion industry fascinates Ms Hislop because of its ability to define a person's identity, whether that is a fixed consciousness, or something which can be changed fluidly to suit your mood.
"Long time contributor to the New York Times on fashion, Bill Cunningham described it well when he said ... 'fashion is the armour to survive everyday life'," she said.
"Wool is special to me , I love wool, it is such an adaptable fibre that is really easy to use."
For the Fleece to Fashion Awards, Ms Hislop said the use of wool in her collection was an easy decision to make because of its suitability to a range of garments.
"My love of wool made the competition all that more important for me," she said.
"It was great to see everyone at the event having such a good time."
Ms Hislop was also appreciative of the support given the Fashion to Fleece Award by those who raise Merino sheep for their wool.
"It was nice to have the farmers there who make it possible for me to use wool enjoying my work, and everyone else's going down the runway, seeing what it can be turned into," she said.
Now that she is in New York, Ms Hislop intends her masters study to allow her to further develop her style and explore design outcomes.
"I'm unsure exactly what will follow, I have ambitions to start my own label, but equally I'm eager to work for a company first and gain valuable insight about the industry," she said.