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Otago's People: Sian O'Gorman

Dr. Martens Global Marketing Team, London

Sian O'Gorman profile 1
Sian O'Gorman

Dr. Martens boots. Iconic, cool, rebellious. A symbol of individuality and subcultural style. Kiwi band MC OJ and Rhythm Slave even rapped about them. And they kept your feet warm in the Dunedin winter!

Sian O’ Gorman knows the link between Doc Martens, style, and music. Graduating from Otago with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) in Design Studies and a Bachelor of Music (Performance), Sian is now part of the Dr. Martens Global Marketing Team in London, where she helps to coordinate and produce all of the in-house creative work.

Sian uses the skills she gained at Otago to assist with lifestyle and product photography, film editing, communication design, copywriting, retail design, digital and print advertising, and designing space for music festivals (Sian has herself performed at the Reading Festival, as a member of London Contemporary Voices). In such a diverse role, she says, there is something different and exciting every day.

And diversity is the name of the game with Doc Martens. Sian says that working for the company has “opened up a rich cultural heritage”, encompassing a type of "Britishness" and a music history she had never heard of before.

Sian O'Gorman profile 2
Dr. Martens Global Marketing Team

“It means celebrating individuality - I am quite proud to work somewhere that celebrates individual, original style over fast fashion. People are so passionate about wearing something that they feel is a part of them - be it the punks, the 2-Tone ska guys, the metalheads or the little OneDirection-loving teenage girls.”

This sense of diversity also characterised Sian’s studies at Otago, and prepared her for what she does now at Doc Martens. “The range of multi-disciplinary projects we worked on as part of the Design Studies programme taught me to identify problems and gaps in existing systems and reframe these as design opportunities,” she says.

“The broad spectrum of people and projects we covered in the course taught me to strive against the ‘Oh, but that’s not my job’ mentality. If there's a project that no-one seems to be taking responsibility for - own it. It means I am constantly learning and developing new skills - and getting paid to do it!”

Remembering her life at Otago and in and around Dunedin, Sian recalls her flat in Moray Place, day trips to the beach, night walks in the Botanic Gardens, watching her friends and local bands play gigs, the Saturday Farmers Market, Chicks Hotel in Port Chalmers, Emersons Pilsner, and Mazagran Coffee.

Dunedin for Sian is an “incredibly beautiful place to live and be a part of regardless of what you do,” and on that note, Sian’s advice to undergraduates is to branch out and see more of Dunedin and Otago while they are here.

Now living in and working in one of the largest cities in the world, Otago is where Sian started to recognise her individuality. And now, she says, “to work at a place that promotes diversity of all different types of people - that’s pretty cool.”

Sian O'Gorman profile 3

The University of Otago is proud of our former students who have gone on to achieve outstanding success in a variety of endeavours.
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