Thursday, 28 April 2011

Leeds Guide

As an additional work experience during my third year, I decided I wanted to learn more about the magazine industry after my first magazine feature in Disorder magazine. I couldn't afford to go to London and do a three week internship with a fancy highlist magazine like "Another Magazine" because I didn't have the financial means to do so, even if my parents had offered (which they didn't) I would of found something more interesting to do with the money. So I volunteered to become a Listings Editor for Leeds Guide,and after a brief interview I started the next week.

To begin with I was excited about what I might see working in the office, wondering if there would be semi-famous bands walking around after interviews and people discussing highly intelligent things over coffee and throwing ideas at each other, peering over the wasn't like that at all. I was expecting quite a sociable environment but everyone worked extremely hard and the office was usually very quiet, all you could hear was the tapping of fingers on keyboards.

 I was briefed and I was sat down and I worked. I working from 9-5 listing all the upcoming events on the Leeds Guide website, its was interesting to see the different events and occasions listed, for example: story telling at the library where you can go to hear a dramatic reading of a thriller, and I remember one of the events was a Tutor fancy dress party in a museum! (can't remember the name of the museum).

 It was all very pretentious, cultural and exciting for me to hear about these events because they were so rarely advertised to people of my age (I was nineteen at the time) so I started to really enjoy it and worked 1 day a week for two months. I worked entirely for free ofcourse and enjoyed seeing how Leeds Guide worked and I value the experience.

Dom Dick and Harry

Skills Acquired and Responsibilities

- Increased confidence on illustrator
- Customer Service
- Public relations
- Building working relationships with companies
- Negotiation techniques
- Publicising the brand, organising events, magazine photoshoot (Disorder/ Leed Guide)
- Using initiative to collect vital elements required within a timescale
- Trusted with customer orders
- Representing the brand
- Being left with the confidence I can complete a task to a professional standard

The best thing about my brief work experience at Dom Dick and Harry was the friend I gained as a result, Dom and I still remain good friends and he also helped me throughout my third year with branding and printing tees.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


As part of my work experience at college, I decided I wanted to try and become a published stylist for Disorder magazine, a magazine I loved originally because it opened like a flickbook, and later because of its original concept. The thing that made Disorder different from other magazines is that it gave anyone the opportunity to have a go! I mean obviously you have to submit the work and Davide Firmanger would deem it appropriate for the magazine, but he never said never.... after speaking to Davide via email for a couple of weeks, and my excitement building up about the shoot, we finally spoke on the phone and he told me I'd be meeting up with a Leeds based photographer the next week to discuss the shoot!

I was obviously very nervous, I have no idea on what scale the photographers professionalism was so I spent the next week decided what to wear, because obviously if I'm going to project myself as a professional stylist, I have to damn well look the part.

After meeting Lauren Holmes (the photographer) I instantly felt at ease, not only was she really easy to talk to and not much older than me, but I could tell that this was a one off bit of fun, nothing life changing here. We'd arranged to meet at my work (Blue Rinse) to pick the clothes for the shoot we had now been briefed on (a rockabiliy, 50's style shoot). After spending a good few hours looking at our options and dressing up Lauren's boyfriend at the time and model for the shoot (Nick), in just about everything piece of clothing in the shop, we'd made our choices and I pulled them.

The shoot took place in Hyde Park picture house, a very old, and very pretty old Cinema in the heart of Hyde Park in Leeds. The shoot was all over within a few hours and Lauren seemed pleased with the results, a couple of months later we were featured in the magazine.

After the success of the first shoot, Davide Firmanger gave us a few briefs to play with, but with my third year looming I had to turn a few later ones down. We did however get publicity for my designer friend Dom who owns "Dom Dick and Harry" a Leeds based t-shirt designer who got a few pages in the magazine for "up and coming" designers.

Blue Rinse

Not only did I meet the most amazing people working at Blue Rinse, I also learnt a few things aswell. Blue Rinse is a Leeds based vintage shop, their supplier supplies all over Europe and they also sell re-made items using vintage/retro looking fabric.

Trend forecasting, quality control, brand awareness and identifying a target market were the main skills I learnt here. I also asked the buyer to take me behind the scenes to the warehouse where hundreds of bags full of vintage garments and accessorises are kept (I had fun rumaging through it all) . I helped decide what would be stocked and helped price and bag the garments and accessorise ready to be stocked into the shop. I also met the seamstresses who make and design the re-made garments.

I really enjoyed my two years working at Blue Rinse for both professional and personal reasons. Vintage clothing is sustainable and economically friendly and much more interesting than the countless rails of generic sameness in highstreet shops.

2007-2010 "Live it Love it"

I started my degree in Fashion in 2007. So much experience was accumulated in my three years at Leeds College of Art that I'm going to have to break it into bullet points or this blog could take weeks to write! I wanted to outline the main experience and give a brief description of each experience.

Work Experience - Blue Rinse (vintage retail sales assistant 2008-2010)
                              Disorder Magazine (stylist and fashion co-ordinator)
                              Dom Dick and Harry (PA three week work experience)
                              Leeds Guide (voluntary listings editor)

Key Academic Skills-
  • Fashion Styling
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Pattern Cuttting
  • Garment Construction
  • Design and Product development
  • Fashion Marketing (Guerrilla and Ambient)
  • Digital Photography
  • 3D Model Making
  • Millinery (hat making)
  • Event management
Transferable Skills
  • Subject knowledge
  • Problem solving
  • Critical evaluation
  • Ability to work both within a team and independently
  • Marketing Skills
  • Unique creative ability
  • Research and analysis of information
  • Professional product and clothing design and manufacture
  • Adapting skills learnt to different subject areas
  • Innovative approach to all aspects of design


Thursday, 21 April 2011

2005-2007 "Alice in Wonderland"

Unfortunately, one of the things I remember about my Final Major at York college was the fashion show... which didn't quite go to plan. However this again was another inspiring project for me, and I wouldn't of achieved the grade I did without the help of a substitute teacher, Keiren. Tara my usual tutor was pregnant so wasn't teaching the final push of eduction at York College, this was disorientating for me because I knew she knew my style and the way I worked, however she didn't nessessarily like it, but she was familiar and I was used to her critisism. The new tutor appeared the day we were all compiling our research for our final brief. I was stumped. After months of critisism and glowers from other students for not producing the general "ideal" when I worked (which I think spooked them) I really didn't know which way to turn. Should I follow my heart, or shall I conform for the marks.

Being a bit of a loner at York College (I only enjoyed socialising with the people who unfortunately took the course less seriously and left) I was usually sat on my own or occasionally with a Punk I'd befriended who was also called Cat (she smoked, I smoked, its a given) and I could see my new substitute tutor was intrigued from the beginning. I didn't have a growth on my face, or dress in a peculiar manner, I could of hung out with the rest of the girls, but I chose not to.

After deliberating for almost a week, and not actually coming up with ANYTHING I was beginning to worry, in my teens I was always wary of asking for help, I thought it was weak and I avoided it at all costs. But thankfully, help came to me. After a brief interesting conversation with Keiren, I knew exactly what I was doing. My whole collection was going to be inspired by Alice In Wonderland one of my favourite childrens books and films and I looked at the history of the book and the drug-fueled author, the non-sensical tale where playing cards came to life and Alice meets a pot smoking caterpillar. I then designed clothing to match the hysteria and colourful creativity. I loved it. To this day I don't know how she did it, but she managed to make me feel like I had come up with the whole idea myself. It was completely personal to me, but without that chat I think I would of conformed and created something sterile and aesthically pleasing, because thats what I saw all around me in the sewing room. With Keiren's help, I walked away from York College with an ND Fashion and I had achieved a Merit (and a Distinction for my sketchbook might I add).

2005- 2007 "Roma"

York College is where I started my Fashion education. These 2 short years of my life was about me identifiying different aspects of design, learning how to construct a garment, how to make a sketchbook flow and generally how to project yourself positively as a young creative person.

I don't remember too much about my two years there, but I remember my favourite project, and I remember my Final Major. My favourite project would have to be the "Roma" project I created. The brief was (if I remember correctly) "design a collection using the inspiration you have gained from your trip to Rome" or something along those lines. Ofcourse we all went to Rome together as a class, and I really had an amazing time. We did all the cliche Rome tourist stuff, The Vatican, Colosseum and Piazza di Spagna, however this is not what inspired me, not atall actually, though I know I should of been impressed by the architectual structures and been in awe of their size and beauty, but it was the Rome life that I was inspired by, their strong Catholic beliefs, the graffiti and the glamour of the Mafia.

Using a combination of religious images such as the Virgin Mary, combining it with street graffiti and using luxurous fabric to respresent the three initial personalities of Rome when I stayed there. I was really pleased with the work I produced (I really wish I still had it) and because I went down an alterior path to literally all of my fellow young fashion students (who were all inspired by big historical structures), I knew that this is what I should continue doing. I realised I wanted to represent the personality of a place, a person, instead of constantly being concerned about whether it was "pretty". I went against the grain. I knew then I wanted to continue Fashion to a degree level.

21/04/2011 Post Number One (of my non student blog)

I'm twenty one (twenty two in July), I have been out of full time education since June last year after finishing my BA(Hons) Fashion and Innovation degree, I left with a 2.1 I was pleased with my portfolio, however... I've been stuck in a rut since my move to London, Camden Town, last year in August.

Im currently working as a sales assistant for a vintage shop in Camden Lock called "Berty and Gerty" which is an independent buisness owned by a couple called Mark and Emma. I have always enjoyed working for independent buisnesses, whos intentions are usually humble and their work ethic usually relaxed (which was ideal especially during my third year, non-commital shifts).

Now I have worked their for some good 8 months now, I am definately ready to move on to the next big challenge. I am concerned that I'm stuck working as a sales assistant, which realistically not been my only role, I manage the shop while they-re away, I train staff,  I vis-merc, I recommend upcoming trends, I usually do a bit of quality control and I also work very hard working in a "hard sell manner" (anyone whos worked in Camden especially, in an independant buisness or relatively small chain, will know exactly how intense hard-sell can be....unlike my humble beginnings in Blue Rinse, Leeds)

The reason I have decided to start writing this blog is because I crave to do something creative. My creativity has been stretched and challenged and I have embraced being able to use this huge part of my personality for the past 5 years studying fashion, being able to show people my creative side is what made me want to be involved in the world of Fashion. Theres no feeling like when you know you have come up with a original buisness idea (I have a book where I write down all possible buisness ventures for when I win the lottery), when you finally take your inches upon inches of sketchbook to the binders after months of painstaking work, when you see THAT picture of your final collection, and when you first adorn the dress, the jacket, the cape that you have spend days, sometimes weeks designing and perfecting and sewing (then re-sewing) and you think "wow, I made that".