Alexia Petsinis: From high school scholar to high fashion illustrator and writer
Parents considering prospective schools often say they want somewhere that will give their child a well-rounded experience.Ivanhoe Grammar School alumna Alexia Petsinis (2011 graduate) is the flourishing success story of just this.
Blending a flair for creative illustrations with sharp writing skills and an eye for innovative design, only four years since leaving Ivanhoe Alexia has already covered a Paris Fashion Week and been commissioned to illustrate for major fashion brands. Alexia partially attributes her success to valuable lessons she received from her Ivanhoe days and recently shared her story as part of the school’s 100th anniversary.
Since graduating, how would you sum up your creative illustration and writing career?
I’m working in the fashion industry as a freelance creative illustrator, writer, blogger and designer. I feel very lucky to have already achieved things that I used to envision I might achieve well into my 40s, including writing feature articles for esteemed fashion media publications (both Australian and French), covering fashion weeks in Australia and internationally for print and online, illustrating a book (with Penguin Australia), and illustrating various campaigns and material for some large businesses and brands. These have included the Westfield Group, Simon Pérèle Lingerie, Adriano Zumbo Patisserie and for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Many of these opportunities have come about through hard work and networking, being confident in putting [my] work out into the public sphere, and, most importantly, by allowing people to connect with [my] personal values and [me] as a person.
How did your academic studies at Ivanhoe shape or spark your interests in writing and the creative arts?
I always had a deep love for English and Literature. Towards the end of Year 12, I was really torn between [pursuing] a creative career in the arts and applying my skills to a profession like law or journalism. I felt that I could neglect neither one nor the other. My Year 12 English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, said to me: “Alexia, no matter what you do when you finish school, you MUST be writing!”
Apart from the academic side, in what ways did Ivanhoe set you up for your career and life after school?
Ivanhoe helped me establish a sense of pride and confidence in who I am. Not just pride in myself, but pride in being part of such a dynamic community that makes you think, ‘Yes, anything is possible with the right support.’ I used to remind myself how lucky I was to attend a school like Ivanhoe. It seemed to me to be a place brimming with all the right opportunities.
What more do you hope to achieve in your career?
I’d like to try and maintain both the writing and illustration sides to my work as much as possible. I think this is an important point of difference that not many other creatives offer. In regard to my journalistic work, I’d love to work my way up to a position of Fashion Editor at a publication like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, eventually living and working in Paris (where I will live one day regardless of what I am doing).
Lastly, why would you recommend other students study at Ivanhoe?
I would recommend it for focused, diligent and creative individuals because it is an environment where you can feel comfortable and safe in striving for your best and achieving things beyond what you thought was possible for yourself. I never thought I’d end up with an ATAR of 99.25, but Ivanhoe helped me realise that the higher you set your goals, the more successful you will be in working towards things you are really passionate about. The sky's the limit.