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October 5, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Vic student wins big at WOW Awards

Vic Uni student Emma Whiteside has just hit the big-time in design, winning the prestigious Shell Sustainability Award at the Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards Show.

The award, granted to an entrant who “creatively uses materials that would otherwise be discarded,” has landed Emma with $5000 and a burst of media publicity.

Since the awards were announced two Fridays ago, the 21-year-old industrial design student has been approached by countless media representatives for interviews, one famous designer, and has been networking for future jobs.

“It’s funny, the other people in my class are asking me ‘What’s with all this self promotion, Emma?,’ because I’m always having to pop out of class for interviews” she says.

“I didn’t think my degree was going to get me a job, but after WOW, I’m starting to meet all these people and realising there are things for me to do.”

It was two years ago at the 2007 Montana WOW® Awards Show that Emma first decided to enter the competition. Her winning entry consisted of a myriad of copper “rosettes” arranged on a regal gown, entitled “Queen Adelaide”.

Emma was inspired by the little-known 19thC Queen, who was a fan of sustainability herself.

“Queen Adelaide would recycle old jewels for her new crown, so that she wouldn’t waste public money,” she explains.

As the gown had to be made out of at least 85% recycled materials, Emma used excess copper from an automotive radiator manufacturing company which her dad used to own. She says she grew up playing with the copper in the factory, making little objects.

“Dad used to put them up on the wall in the factory saying, ‘my six-year-old made this, what can you do?” she recalls.

Yet the work she put in for the award was no child’s play. She estimates the workmanship would have taken her over 320 hours, on top of an often hectic full-time study schedule.

The long hours have paid off, though. Emma looks forward to using her prize money to buy a plane ticket to somewhere where design is booming, such as China.

“My tutor told me that if you do something you love long enough, someone will start paying you for it,” she explains, “That’s the plan.”

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