Fashion students combine style and social impact to put HoMie where the heart is

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
Students from RMIT's College of Vocational Education (CoVE) with HoMie co-founder Marcus Crook (bottom left)

Students from the College of Vocational Education (CoVE) at Melbourne’s RMIT were tasked with developing an omni–channel campaign for Melbourne-based streetwear label and social enterprise HoMie, which supports young people aged 18 to 25 affected by homelessness or hardship.

The students spent 16 weeks developing a full product range and business strategy, while gaining valuable industry experience.

They worked closely with HoMie during the project, visiting the Melbourne shopfront and meeting staff, including RMIT alum Ryan Neville.

Student Sasha Permana says she connected deeply with HoMie’s cause, which inspired her designs.

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“Our theme was heavily influenced by the ’70s punk scene – we wanted to translate the passion of youth from the punk era, around acceptance, community and solidarity, into modern culture,” she says.

“We also came up with the slogan HoMie is where the heart is to highlight HoMie’s commitment to tackling youth homelessness, but also send a message that ‘home’ is your community and the people you surround yourself with.”

Student Lidia Isakov says the opportunity to work with HoMie has solidified her career aspirations, originally sparked by her grandmother who was a dressmaker.

“It’s been incredible because HoMie is a brand I really respect and love, which made doing the work for them so much better,” she says.

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“The experience has made me understand how much work goes into a fashion industry job and all the intricate details that need to be handled.”

Student Lidia Isakov presenting to HoMie with her team.

Industry experience puts students ahead

Industry projects like the partnership with HoMie are a feature of RMIT’s Associate Degree in Fashion and Textiles Manufacturing.

Students have a chance to undertake ‘real-life’ industry projects each year, working to a specific brief and set of guidelines, with organisations like Sportsgirl, Cotton On, Myer, Country Road, Target and Kmart. 

Teachers Anna Cavaleri and Sue Robinson, who led the HoMie project, says CoVE particularly favoured those with a social impact. 

“We haven’t really worked with a social enterprise before. For our students, to tap into a business that is very much focused on building and engaging community, it’s an amazing opportunity,” Cavaleri says.

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“When our students walk out the door, they are very clear about what industry wants and what the standard is. This makes them highly employable and sought after.”

“The best thing as an educator is to see how open and receptive the students were to learning and challenging the way they think. It makes me very excited for the future of the industry.”

Perfecting the pitch

The project culminated in the students pitching their ideas to HoMie’s co-founder Marcus Crook.

“I’m absolutely blown away by the students’ creativity and what they’ve brought to the table,” Crook says.

The pitches featured screen-printed products, comprehensive business strategies and audience analysis.

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“It’s awesome for us, as a community organisation, to have support from RMIT. We can go away and potentially use the students’ ideas to help support the community and create more impact, and that’s amazing.”

For student Sasha Permana, the thrill of pitch day left her feeling excited for a future in fashion – with aspirations to work in product development, fashion buying or digital marketing.

“It would be amazing to have the opportunity to take on more projects like this in the future.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]