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October 23, 2014

Career path: Cyd Beard

Cyd Beard is an interesting name. It’s even more interesting when you attach it to its owner, a young woman with gleaming eyes and immaculate dress sense who is on the cusp of yet another noteworthy achievement in her short but already very shiny career – she’s about to turn 21.

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  • Words: Joshua Fanning
  • Pictures: Daniel Marks

We’re sitting in the foyer of the impressive Australian Fashion Labels building on Currie Street. Around us, the buzz of commerce permeates the premises and Cyd (still 20 at the time of our interview) is completely at home.

“It’s so cliché but I’ve known since I was a little girl,” says Cyd of her career choice as a fashion designer. Cyd made her formal dress as part of her year 12 assessment. This, in itself was an achievement: “I didn’t know how to sew back then. There were many nights when I should have been studying or working on other subjects but was up until the early hours sewing,” she says.

Cyd’s career path is as straight as an arrow. Graduating in 2011 from high school she undertook a Certificate in Fashion Design at Tafe. There she met a brilliant lecturer who demanded millimetre perfection in every assessment and passed along real world experience from his time with George Gross.

Cyd completed the Certificate and began the Diploma but never finished.

“We’re all so close that I don’t think of myself as being above or below anyone else. We all just work as a team…”

“I remember it so well,” says Cyd recalling the day she saw a notice in the hallway of Tafe advertising a junior design position at two of the Australian Fashion Labels brands – Keepsake and Jaggar.

Carmen Dugan’s Keepsake label felt right for Cyd and her application garnered a response the same day she submitted it. Later that afternoon she was meeting head designer Carmen Dugan to discuss the role and soon had completed a week’s trial, subsequently being installed as the full-time junior designer.

Moving up from technical interpretations of the senior designer’s sketches, Cyd was promoted to assistant designer within six months. “It’s a lot more hands on with the label,” says Cyd of her current position. “You’re helping shape [Keepsake’s] identity and inspiration and also liaising a lot more with the factory directly,” she says.

“The prints we get from a fabric house. They’re all exclusive – we purchase them and Llian, our graphic designer, will edit the colours or edit the print itself to make it more Keepsake.”

And what about her age? She’s now giving direction to a new junior designer who is actually 25.

“We’re all so close that I don’t think of myself as being above or below anyone else. We all just work as a team and don’t think that age really matters.”

In 2014 Cyd is positively brimming with optimism and a real sense of awe that she’s achieved so much so soon.

“We’ve got something really special on the horizon,” says Cyd with a broad smile. “Keepsake will be launching an intimates range.” A brand new offering for the label, Cyd has enjoyed the challenge of working on the new items.

“If you’d asked me what my dream job was at school, it would be a formal designer and lingerie designer and that’s exactly what I’m doing here. It’s incredible.”

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