Times are a changin’ at Kinross Wolaroi
Kinross Wolaroi School is set to receive a new look regarding student uniforms by 2021, the school is commencing the landmark project of reviewing and re-designing with the process being led by internationally recognised Australian Designer and wool ambassador, Jonathan Ward.
Incredibly, the current uniform is an amalgamation of the old PLC uniforms and the Wolaroi College, which dates back to 1975.
Principal Dr Andrew Parry explained, “We are interested in having a uniform that is more contemporary, something that will really suit the needs of our children and present a lovely image for the school. It’s an exciting time for the school, there is a lot of innovation and a lot of development happening, and as we launch into our new and exciting period it’s an opportunity for us to show how we display ourselves.
“We are excited that we have engaged with Jonathan Ward, he has an outstanding reputation in the field of design including school uniform and high-end fashion. We have an opportunity to do something unique and very special which reflects who we are and what we aspire to be, for us to be able to partner with Jonathan as we go on this mission, is extremely exciting.”
The uniform process is in its early stages, though Jonathan promises it to be fantastic. “It’s going to be a long, but very thorough process, It’s really important that the uniform sets a great handwriting for the location and the rural demographic that the school draws from, and it’s a uniform for the next 20 years,” said Jonathan.
“Next year will be 45 years since the amalgamation and uniforms, we need to look at the students of today and realise they aren’t the students of 20-30 years ago, they are different build, different backgrounds, they mature quicker, there’s so many things you’ve got to look at.
“What I’d like to be able to do is to connect the boys and the girls a little more with the uniform.”
It’s not every day, a leading fashion designer steps off the plane in Orange. So, where did it all begin for Jonathan? We wanted to dig a little deeper and understand where his passion began.
Jonathan grew up on a farm in Tottenham and boarded at Trinity (Sydney) from 10 years old, whilst his sister attended Kinross Wolaroi School.
“As a child I could always draw, I was always sketching on the school bus. Along with that, having a Mother who had things made for Picnic Races, I used to get the scraps of her evening gowns and make up little garments for my sister’s barbie dolls,” said Jonathan.
“I think growing up on a sheep and cattle property with wool and wheat, I always had a great passion for wool, and I followed that all the way through my career, even up to today where, I am an ambassador of Australian Wool Innovation.”
Once Jonathan finished his education he returned home to work on the farm for a few years. He then had the opportunity to submit his sketches and ideas to a design college in Sydney. The College took them straight away without Jonathan having to apply or submit an exam.
“Somebody said to me once, everybody in life is born with a gift, some people go through their whole life and never realise what their gift is. I realised I had a gift and I needed to follow that dream.”
Since then, Jonathan has had an incredible career, from meeting Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn, to designing for the Paralympics and being Executive Designer at RM Williams for 15 years, he’s done it all.
“I am proud of everything I have done, though what I think I am most proud of is that I have worked with people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, from Royalty right down to the humblest of people. I’ve had a career in high end couture, with special occasion, celebrities like Nicole Kidman and all sorts of amazing people. In saying that I’ve also been involved in many weddings for country people and that’s been great. I think, the diversity of my career, and to give back to the rural community, expanding RM Williams as a brand for 15 years, turning it into a family brand so that there was not just clothing for work, but also something for special occasions. It was a brand significant for rural people and often most people in the city aspire to such a nice brand.”
Jonathan has worked with many of Australia’s corporate elite over the years, however in his pioneering days he spent significant time abroad, training at the Parsons College of Art Design in New York and working with global international fashion houses including Yves Saint Laurent, amongst others.
With over 30 years in the industry, where does Jonathan get his inspiration from you ask? “I’m a very visual person.. I look at everything. I’m inspired by colour, line and direction of design, but also the people I work around and the jobs that I have give me opportunity to bring my experience to the table.”
To the younger generation, Jonathan says, “Be true to yourself, live and look and learn every day of your life. I realised that I had something that I would like to pursue, and I had to see if it was the dream I should follow, and it has been.”
“There’s been a lot of highlights, it’s taken me all over the world. The one thing it hasn’t taken out of me and what I do love the most, is growing up in the country and having my rural roots as a person, I think it’s helped me in great stead to communicate and understand.”