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Country boy fashion design graduate inspired by seamstress grandmother

Sam King and Mavis Shedden holding gowns
Sam King with his grandmother and seamstress, Mavis Shedden, who inspired his studies.

ABC North Coast: Samantha Turnbull

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As fashion design graduates from across Australia hustle for jobs with exclusive labels, a country boy from a beef farming community is just pleased to have his grandmother's tick of approval.

Sam King, from the northern New South Wales town of Casino, recently showcased his designs on the runway alongside other North Coast TAFE graduating students from diplomas of costume and fashion.

A model in a gown designed by Sam King
One of Sam King's evening wear designs.

Supplied

His grandmother Mavis Shedden was seated in the front row for the show.

"It was unreal, absolutely unreal. It brought time back again," she said.

Ms Shedden, a former seamstress, inspired Mr King to pursue a career in fashion.

He said he grew up sitting at the heels of his "Nan-ma" as she sewed for hours.

"Growing up with Nan-ma, we'd always go around to her house and she'd make us our clothes," Mr King said.

After high school, Mr King enrolled in a communications degree but realised after six months it was not for him.

Ms Shedden said she was not surprised when her grandson discovered his true passion and switched to TAFE.

"My life was at the machine and the kids would come up with any piece of material that had been laying on the floor and they'd just start sewing it. They just had a fancy for it.

But it is not just his grandmother Mr King has impressed.

Sam King peeks out from behind one of his gowns
Sam King hopes to become a fashion designer who specialises in couture gowns.

ABC North Coast: Samantha Turnbull

He was named 2015 student of the year and was recently chosen for an internship with renowned Melbourne bridal designer Gwendolynne, who he assisted at Spring Fashion Week.

"I learnt how to do a lot of hand-beading and I got to help out backstage and see how everything worked," Mr King said.

"Now I'd like to end up working somewhere that focuses on made-to-order or custom-made bridal wear or evening wear.

"I really like attention to detail and seeing the whole process through, the pattern-making, the sewing, the fitting. I love the whole design process."

Ms Shedden said she was confident it would not be long before her grandson was the next Alex Perry or Vera Wang.

"He thinks it was me who helped. But I think he just always had a flair for it," she said.