Our History

Tracy Saywell and Sonya SaywellThe school was founded by fashion designers Tracy and Sonya Saywell, a mother and daughter team who have both grown up in the fashion industry.

Tracy has operated a sewing school for over 18 years, and has also run fashion design courses for 8 years previously - under the names 'Tracy Saywell Sewing Studio' and 'Tracy Saywell Designer Wear' - while also running a retail fabric and evening & bridal wear store (making one-off couture dresses for clients).

Tracy planned to expand her training to include nationally recognised training in fashion design for many years, but it wasn't until 2005 that she had the opportunity. Tracy and Sonya formed the school - under the name 'Australian Institute of Fashion Design' (AIFD) - and became a Registered Training Organisation, delivering the Advanced Diploma of Textiles, Clothing & Footwear (Fashion).

Student fitting a bridal dressAIFD has since changed from the 'Advanced Diploma of Textiles, Clothing & Footwear (Fashion)' to the latest nationally recognised training package qualification - 'Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design & Technology' released in 2007, being the first training organisation in Queensland to be approved to offer this qualification.

Along with the Advanced Diploma course, AIFD also offered a range of short courses, including the 'Fast Track Fashion Design Course' that has been running for over 12 years now. These short courses included: sewing, pattern making, fashion styling and fashion business & merchandising. AIFD also developed a correspondence course (the Fashion Design & Styling course - covering selected units of competency from the Diploma of Applied Fashion Design & Technology) in 2007 to offer all students the opportunity to study, even if they were unable to travel.

Having run a number of successful fashion styling short courses, Tracy and Sonya recognised the need for professional-level training for fashion stylist hopefuls, that would provide students with the skills to work in a diverse range of areas within the styling and image consulting industry, and therefore went through the process of having a nationally-accredited Diploma of Fashion Styling approved.

student applying make-up for a photoshootMakeup training is also included in many of our fashion styling courses, to give students a competitive edge when applying for styling jobs, as well as expanding their job opportunities. As students completed styling courses with us, they were often asking if they could study makeup further with the school, and to accommodate that need, we began offering makeup courses and the Diploma of Screen and Media, with many students working on the sets of Pirates of the Caribbean & King Kong Skull Island

Realising that the name 'Australian Institute of Fashion Design' no longer covered everything that was offered by the school, it was decided that a new name was needed. As the current name had built such a reputation, it was decided to keep the original name, but add a few more names to the business. Australian Institute of Creative Design became the banner name for the college and Australian Institute of Make-Up & Styling was also added.

student giving a client a manicureThe progression from makeup to beauty therapy happened naturally and in late 2007, we became approved to offer nationally recognised Diploma of Beauty Therapy, and hence added another name to the school - the Australian Institute of Beauty Therapy.

After over a year of development, our accredited nationally-recognised qualifications in styling including the Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image and Media) and the Certificate III in Styling (Fashion, Image and Media).

In 2008, we moved to new, larger premises (in Varsity Lakes) and also extended the scope of registration to cover the new Advanced Diploma of Fashion & Textiles Merchandising, becoming one of the first privately owned registered training organisation to be able to deliver this qualification. with plans to offer Diploma and Certificate qualifications when the updated nationally-recognised training package was released for interior design.

2009 saw us start to deliver short courses in interior design and we also became approved to offer the 'Advanced Diploma of Interior Design' as well as the 'Certificate III in Interior Decoration' qualifications, which also saw us add the name 'Australian Institute of Interior Design'.

We have opened a new campus in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, as well as expanding the Gold Coast campus. We also added the Diploma of Visual Arts (Textile, Print & Surface Design) and commenced delivery of this qualification. We also released other correspondence courses - Styling (Fashion, Image and Media) and Fashion Business.

Many Certificate III courses have been added including Cert III in Design Fundamentals (Graphic Design) and a mentoring program to help student start their own labels.

Tracy and Sonya have developed many short courses in the areas of Shoe, Textile and Handbag Design that have been very successful for students starting their own creative business labels with stock in boutiques Australia wide and department stores like David Jones.

Tracy and Sonya continually strive to help creative entrepreneurs. They have recently received the Editor's Choice Award for their part in the latest book by Brian Tracy with the top ten tips for creative's. (to be released in November)

Tracy Saywell and Sonya Saywell

We have always believed that creative thinkers can help change the world in a positive way as they can adapt to change, quickly coming up with new amazing ideas which can certainly create successful businesses

Check out our student's work in the Artista Magazine!