Founded in 2010 by former publicist Sarah Stavrow, The Fashion Institute (TFI) has firmly stamped itself as Sydney’s leading tertiary fashion business college.

Originally from a small country town, founder Sarah Stavrow moved to Sydney with dreams of working in fashion. Like many young people however,she didn’t know where to start or how to achieve her dream. Finding nowhere that specialised in fashion she eventually enrolled in a business course.


Most of her knowledge has come from on-the-job experience during her time at some of Australia’s leading PR agencies; having been the publicist for high profile clients including: Bonds, Seafolly, General Pants, Country Road, Berlei, Ella Bache and Sunsilk.

The Fashion Institute has stemmed from Sarah’s desire to share her knowledge and industry experience with students – the college is exactly what Sarah wished for when she was starting out herself.


TFI offers future fashionistas a platform to pursue their career dreams in the fashion industry by combining first class education with the industries leading professionals and a comprehensive Internship Program.

Couturing sat down with one of TFI’s star students, Bilal Fouani, and talked about his work with the teams at Ben Sherman and Marie Claire Australia. He has also had the opportunity to work on a number of events, including Fashion Palette, the prestigious Ermenegildo Zegna Awards as well as styling some of this years Big Brother contestants.

Thara (T): How did you find studying at TFI at the beginning of your course?

Bilal (B): From day one TFI proved to be an inspiring and creative environment. It’s great to be amongst it, and to be guided by the industry’s greats.

T: What are your most positive experiences from your time at TFI?

B: Where do I start… I have been given so many opportunities. I could ramble on about all of the amazing brands and designers that I have worked alongside, but overall I would have to say the most positive experience was seeing and experiencing first hand the strong relationships TFI builds with its students. The personal interest Sarah, Bryce and Abbey have taken to develop not only my own career but also a whole army of fashion students.


T: How do you think TFI has prepared you for your future career?

B: TFI has done more than prepare me for my future career; they’ve helped start it. Before TFI I had been working in the fashion industry for 5 years doing everything from retail management to my own design work. I had a diploma in media communications and a fair amount of experience in fashion. Although I knew I wanted more, I just didn’t know how to get it. Within the first month of being at TFI I had already landed two internships and had a clearer direction of where my career was going. Fast forward 9 months and I’m now an assistant account manager. I’ve also launched myself as a freelance stylist and most recently been brought on as a fashion director for an up and coming online social hub which is set to be a game changer. I couldn’t be more grateful and I have TFI to thank.

T: How do you describe your experience working at Ben Sherman and Marie Claire Aus?

B: I have been extremely lucky to have been mentored by the industry’s best. The experience of working intimately with the team at Marie Claire and Ben Sherman has truly been the key to my success. For me it has been extremely motivating to work with such dedicated and skilled professionals.

T: What was it like working at events like Fashion Palette, the Ermenegildo Zegna Awards, and Big Brother (styling the contestants)?

B: The runways, the models and the fashion – what more could you want? I love working on live events, as for me it’s where fashion meets art. To go from an idea, to production and finally the cutting edge designs experienced by the masses first hand. It’s an ever-changing event where we are the curators.

For more information or to arrange a visit to the college please contact Abbey Danson on or (02) 9698 9919. Alternatively check out their website

About The Author

Thara Vidyaratne

Thara is a journalist and blogger who loves Earl Grey tea and speaking in broken French. BLOG: INSTA: @tharavids

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