He was kind enough to do an interview with me about life at Uni and in the fashion industry. Here is the interview, enjoy!
Nadine: How did you first get into fashion?
Craig: I first got in to fashion properly when I was in my AS year of art A-level and I was researching for a piece I was doing about identity and I thought ‘clothing’ was a good place to start, little did I know there was more to clothes than just jeans and a t-shirt.
I was confronted by designers work such as Vivienne Westwood’s punk, Gareth Pugh’s 80’s inspired inflatable club wear and the Beauty of John Galliano’s couture at Christian Dior. I realised fashion was much more than clothes, It was a lifestyle and an art. All, of those things influenced that project, but most of all it influenced what I wanted to do as a career. Unfortunately, my art tutor hated it and I failed that project, but I didn’t care because it had inspired me in more ways than passing a project ever could!
N: Did you know from the start that this was the career for you?
C: Until I started on the BTEC I did at South Birmingham College (SCCB) I hadn’t done any technical fashion work, the first time I had picked up a pattern master was in my first pattern class, it took a while to get the hang of but as soon as I did I really enjoyed it and kept getting better and better. That’s when I knew that fashion was the career for me, it was something I was good at and I was confident about it. Confidence is the key in this industry.
N: What are you studying now?
C: I’m currently studying a BA in Fashion Design Technology Womenswear, at London College of Fashion. Part of University of the Arts London.
The womenswear course is the flagship course of the college and making it extremely popular and hard to get a place.
The course obviously focuses on womenswear and the various aspects of the womens fashion industry (tailoring, sports. Etc). The course is meant to give us a good knowledge of the industry teaching us to work in a contemporary manner while always consulting typical technique.
N: What do you think your strengths are in this industry?
C: My main strengths in the industry are probably pattern cutting and manufacture, which includes toiling, sampling and making finals. I recently interned at Jena. Theo and they were the main jobs that I did on a day to day basis, they were that pleased with my technical skills I made two of the jersey sweaters from the range, one of which was used in there London Fashion Week show. Working with Jena.
Theo has been a highlight of my time as a student in London so far. Other strengths I feel that I have, and that are key to anyone who wants to work in the industry are being able to make connections and creating an image for yourself. University, Work placement and socialising at events such as London Fashion week and other designer events have allowed me to meet students from a variety of other courses, industry professionals such as stylists, PR people and models and allowed me to meet press journalists and photographers and feature in street style segments for international magazines and blogs.
N: What was your experience from studying at LCF?
C: My experience from studying at LCF so far is simply. Fashion is though, and there are plenty of people who will try and bring you down. But this will only happen if you let it, don’t do anything for anyone except yourself, it sounds selfish, but in this industry you are but a commodity no matter what level you are at.
N: What tips would you give to an aspiring fashion designer?
C: I would say being confident is the best advice, confidence though is different to acting like a fashion bitch from Ugly Betty or The Devil Wears Prada. Confidence is knowing your stuff and being able to talk the talk. Just knowing about the industry you work in and being able to make things up and talk confidently on the spot have helped me in a few tricky situations.
As for a tip for people applying to uni, think about yourself as a brand, everything that you do is a part of this brand. Think of applying for uni like applying for a job, make sure your work represents you (your brand) and your skills and shows you’re development as a designer from day one to the present, at the end of the day fashion is about development and change.
Also, when writing a personal statement avoid using a typical designer/ fashion quote or claiming you have a ‘passion for fashion’ in your opening section.
N: What are your plans for the future?
C: I wish I could say fashion is a glamorous industry where everyone walks in to head designer roles at top fashion houses, but it doesn’t work like that for most.
When I graduate I will more than likely start my own small design/ styling business with an online presence (online is a great place for new talent to start a business because of the low or sometimes non existent overheads) I will use my connections in the industry and the London scene to grow the brand over time.
While I’m doing this I will have to take on a job and/or intern, probably as a studio/design assistant with some well known companies again making connections and working my way to the top.
Wow! That’s fantastic Craig. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, and I wish you all the best in the future!
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