The big time
By Becky Crew
Often it’s not what you learn at university that ends up shaping your career, but how you learn it. Davina Reichman Schuck’s entrepreneurial mettle began to show during her undergraduate years at Sydney, when she served as president of the Information Technologies Society, implementing a ‘Paid Work Experience Program’ for students, and co-managed a budget of over $170,000 for the Clubs and Societies Committee of the University of Sydney Union, organising events for its 120 clubs and societies.
“That’s when I found my passion,” says Davina, 29, who completed a Bachelor of Computer Studies in 2004. “It wasn’t in computers, it was in events planning and directing.” Since completing her degree in 2004, she has founded and run three companies, and is now focusing her attention on helping emerging fashion designers make it in New York City, through a new monthly fashion event, the NYC Fashion Runway.
It takes a certain type of personality to become a successful entrepreneur. Fellow Sydney alumnus, Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, was quoted in a recent Good Weekend Magazine as “fizzing with energy”. It’s a quality you could easily apply to Reichman Schuck – even her hair, which frames her porcelain skin in a thick, gravity-defying crop of pitch-black coils, appears to be making plans to break free and take over the world.
Today it’s the fashion runway, two years ago she designed the world’s first iPad-friendly clothing, spearheading a company called iClothing, which in 2010 released the world’s first iPad-compatible garments. The iTee and little black iDress featured reinforced, padded ‘kangaroo’ pouches for iPads, and caught the attention of press around the world, including CNN and the Wall Street Journal; Steve Jobs shot them a quick email for good measure.
“Why should famous designers have all the media attention?”
She also founded Being Born Again Couture, an initiative that paired both established and emerging designers with artists to create couture garments, and it prompted a new career focus for Reichman Schuck and relocation to New York. “What inspires me is the amount of talent designers have,” she says. “I want to assist designers to be the gifted creators that they are and help push them to the next level and into the spotlight.”
Having made the move, Davina soon realised that she would need to ramp up the intensity. “One thing I learned quickly is to not downplay your accomplishments. New York City is a rapid-paced metropolis and they don’t have the time or the patience to just chill out and have a beer like we Aussies do.”
Having spent a year as the PR and events director of Couture Fashion Week, she founded NYC Fashion Runway in January 2012. It’s a monthly fashion show in New York that gives young designers the chance to showcase their works in venues such as the Empire State Building and the Waldorf Astoria.
“Many designers can’t afford the tents of NYC Fashion Week, so this is a fantastic alternative. There’s nothing like the rush a fashion designer gets when cameras start clicking, newspapers and magazines are clamouring to interview you and buyers start fighting over you. I know I’ve done my job!” says Davina. “Why should famous designers have all the media attention?” After all, says the Engineering and IT graduate’s email signature, “someone has to be the next Armani … ”.