Last year’s GFW George Gold Award winner on standing out from the crowd and designing for Asda.
You scooped two of the top prizes at Graduate Fashion Week 2012. What do you think helped set your collection apart from the competition?
From the feedback I’ve heard, I think people found my presentation to be quite atmospheric. The inspiration was initially gothic architecture. But then I looked at religion and religious figures and the places that I visited were quite haunting. I think the music [which accompanied the show] reflected that mood and that set it apart from the competition.
What has winning meant for you professionally?
It was such an honour to win and even just to show my collection at GFW. To win both awards was surreal, really. In terms of my career, it’s been a brilliant platform. There is so much competition, it’s amazing to start out with that on your CV. After winning I was invited to show my collection at London Fashion Week last September and as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s graduate showcase, which was incredible exposure. As a graduate, to have the opportunity to show my collection at LFW was such a privilege. I think I was the only one of 10 graduates not to come from a London university, which shows the talent that’s out there.
What was designing a collection for George at Asda - part of your prize - like as an experience?
It was amazing. While I was at George I designed two ranges: one was the Gold Award range based on my collection, which was out for autumn 12; and the other was a whole new capsule range for spring 13, which was released in April. It was really exciting to see the whole process through from start to finish.
How easy was it designing to a specific brand’s handwriting?
This whole past year has been a massive learning curve in terms of adapting to that. It’s one thing working for yourself and finding your own route, but working for another company’s handwriting and aesthetic … it’s a completely different experience. But I enjoy adapting.
What advice would you give to this year’s winner?
Take every opportunity that is offered to you and don’t get too bogged down by pressure. I think you get so much attention and exposure that there is a pressure to do something amazing straight out of university. Actually, the industry doesn’t work like that. The industry is hard work, especially for graduates. It’s rare that we walk out of university and go straight into Prada, for example. So just enjoy it. Looking back, this year has been an insight into the industry, from working at George to LFW and interning at various levels of the market. I’ve spent the last year learning and observing, and absorbing everything I can as a designer.
You’ve since interned at companies such as Nicole Farhi and LK Bennett. What’s next for you?
I’d love to make the transition into a design role and go to work permanently with a company.