Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career?
I haven’t always been interested in fashion design, but from a young age I made clothes for my toys. I used to really enjoy cutting up my brother’s hand-me-downs, which I wore for weeks. Growing up in the countryside I never had access to the latest trends. There was limited internet access so my mother just gave me my brother’s things; style wasn’t a priority.
As I matured I started to discover what was really out there, and when I left school I realised how miserable not creating made me. I decided to attend art college in Liverpool and my love for textiles grew. However, I didn’t want to make a couch or a wall hanging, I wanted the work to have life; it needed to be worn. With that being said, I went on to complete my BA (Hons) Fashion Design at Manchester School of Art.
What according to you is a favourite part of being a fashion designer?
The thrill of it – It’s really hard to describe the feeling you get when a simple drawing turns into an actual body of work a few weeks later. The sense of achievement and the rush that it actually works. I hate sewing but after weeks of fighting with my machine, I feel what I make is amazing. I have a burning need to make beautiful things. My work will mean nothing unless the world gets to see it.
Who or what inspired your creations?
I love to pattern cut and print, and I am obsessed with lights and technology. Since I was nineteen, Hussein Chalayan was my main inspiration because I loved his technological approach. I started working with light inspired prints and studied light installation artists. I wanted my clothes to come to life as the models walked down the runway.
My final collection was inspired by a light installation artist called Christopher Schardt who did a piece called ‘Firmament’ which was displayed at the desert festival ‘Burning Man’. Every piece of my collection is reflective in some way so under the flash of the camera it glows. The collection has two forms, from day to night from dark to light.
What skills according to you are necessary for a successful fashion designer?
Ambition – You need to work hard and really WANT to be successful. Criticism should never be viewed as bad, it should be a requirement; something you want and need. Make sure you buy the correct equipment, it’s an investment. Unpick a variety of garments to see how they work. Practice techniques and learn how to sew properly.
How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
Most of the time I keep an eye out for magazines. I buy Vogues as well as popular gossip mags with style tips (It’s good to be aware of all areas of the market). Instagram is great for keeping up to date because you can notice trends by simply scrolling for a few minutes. I look at what celebrities are wearing to events, races, award ceremonies – which celebrities look the best and the ones that don’t. I also look at musicians, performers and artists because the arts commonly intertwine.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in fashion?
Know what you want and do it! Nobody is going to notice you if they can’t see your ideas on the catwalk.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m petite and I like to wear big things. I like to be colourful so it upsets me when I see people wearing colours that could be deemed boring or bland. I dressed like a normal person the other day and it actually made me sad [laughs]. I enjoy experimenting so much that when I didn’t I felt as though I wasn’t being myself; something was missing. So, I spent £80 on a cow print co-ord to make myself feel better. I spent £80 to look like cow and I’ve never been happier.
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
I want to be successful so much it hurts. Who knows what life has in store for me, I know that as much as I would love to, I have little control on where my life is headed. However, with what control I do have, I am going to create, create, create. I am running out of space on my phone to write ideas and none of them are out in the open. I’m going to make new collections, create beautiful things for the world to see. I won’t stop until people can enjoy what I do. The light in the head is no fun if I am the only one who can see it.
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