I also interviewed Sophie Hay a fashion designer who has worked for multiple fashion industries.
What type of themes do you Pursue in your work?
I personally like to research historic fashion movements and take elements and ideas from those and redesign / reinvent elements. Usually I will combine a historic inspirations with another art form such as product design, sculpture. Whatever I feel inspired by at the time.
When did you decide you wanted to work within the fashion industry?
I went to Oxford Brookes art foundation after sixth form. It’s a great way to learn about different art forms and figure out which you prefer and what you’re best at. My school education didn’t appreciate creative subjects so this step was really important in furthering my artistic knowledge and education.
Which artist inspires you the most?
I appreciate lots of artists for different reasons. I particularly love abstract art and would say some of my favourites are Matisse, Klimt and Picasso. I’m mainly inspired by their expressive and individual approach to art which was so revolutionary at the time.
Art which explores new mediums and ideas and pushes boundaries is most exciting to me.
For the same reasons my favourite designer is Phoebe Philo. Not only because she completely revived Céline from an obsolete fashion house to one of the most popular and celebrated brands of this decade but also because she has pushed the industry forward and created a modern aesthetic that has never really been seen before. At the same time her ultimate creativity is simultaneously commercial and wearable.
Was there a real-life situation which inspired you with your work?
The main inspiration I get from my work is seeing the final result on the runway. I’ve worked for designers such as Peter Pilotto, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Topshop but I think the most exciting was Alexander Wang. The months prior to the show are extremely intense working hours and to be able to see your designs on the models as a completed collection is validation of your ability and motivation for the next season.
What is your dream project you’d like to work on?
I’d love the opportunity to work at Victoria Beckham, Stella Mccartney or Celine as they are some of my favourite design houses and I think are most compatible with my own aesthetic.
Did you attend college/university if so which one?
From school I went to Oxford Brookes University Art Foundation (1 year course) and from there I went to University of Westminster (4 years). Side note: If you want to go into design I would strongly recommend an art foundation course. You will learn so much and most BA courses require it anyway. Some of the best for fashion design are Oxford Brookes, Manchester Met, Leeds and Central Saint Martins.
What do you like about your work?
I think the most important thing about my work is that it combines commerciality with modernity. At the end of the day fashion is a business and the aim is to sell clothes so it is important to understand what will sell whilst offering your customer something new and exciting. I always think ‘would I be excited by this if I saw it on the runway?’
What do you dislike about your work?
I don’t know if I really dislike anything about my work. When I was at University and interning there was a lot I didn’t like about my work, but over the years I have learnt so much and at this stage I am confident in my design process and ability. My least favourite part of design is draping / mannequin work so that is most probably my weakness. The most important thing to note is when it comes to creative subjects/ profession you can ALWAYS improve no matter how much experience you have – everything can always be better and understanding that is the only way you will improve.
What’s the latest project you have worked on?
I was working at Harrods of London (Harrods independent clothing label) and was designing their Spring Summer 2015 collection.
Which artist would you like to be compared to within your work?
The level of success Phoebe Philo / Stella McCartney / Victoria Beckham have achieved in their careers so far is an inspiration and something I aim for.
What is the most inspirational place/visit you have been to?
I go to exhibitions in London all the time that are all inspirational in their own way. I think it’s important to keep an appreciate of all art forms e.g. painting, sculpture, jewellery design, interior design, architecture, science, music etc in order to gain insight and knowledge of other creative categories. This is something that I think comes with age for many people and something I wasn’t really as bothered about at school / early university.
In terms of geography, the most inspiration places I have been are New York and Los Angeles because they are very creative environments with lots to see and talented people to meet.
Is much travelling involved in your work?
I have relocated for jobs because most fashion companies are based in one of the four fashion capitals.
When I worked at Peter Pilotto I travelled to Paris for 10 days each season as most European companies have their sales period in Paris after PFW.
What is the best given advice you have been given within your work?
My university experience was extremely high pressured and I worked on average 15 hours a day. It’s so important to work so hard and push yourself but at the same time it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing. I decided to pursue fashion design because it’s I wanted a profession that is also a hobby, so never the most important advice I was given was to continue to work hard but never forget to enjoy your work. You will always produce better work if you’re happy and inspired.
Professionally what’s your goal?
My goal is to work my way up in company that I am aesthetically compatible with so that I am in a managerial / creative director role.
Is the fashion industry very competitive?
I can’t express how competitive it is. I think it’s common knowledge that it’s a competitive industry but I didn’t understand this fully until I graduated. There are thousands of graduates each year in the UK alone and very few design jobs available. On top of this entry level jobs are badly paid – especially as a London salary. This isn’t something that should put you off but it’s important to understand before dedicating your education to fashion design.
What advice would you give me for the future, within the fashion industry?
1. I think as a fashion design student it’s important to have fun with your work and be push your creativity. Don’t worry so much about commerciality when you’re studying because your clothes will not stand out and excite potential employers in a portfolio if they are too simple. Interviewers want to see you are creative and can bring something new to the table.
3. It is a subjective industry – everyone has a different opinion and some people will love your work and some won’t understand it at all. Believe in your ability and don’t let negative opinions affect you too much – confidence is key.
4. It’s important to take your peers/ tutors opinions into consideration in order to improve. Listen to what others have to say but don’t change your individual aesthetic / approach for somebody else because at the end of the day there is no right way to be creative.
5. Learn from the people around you. Myself and my course mates at university learnt the most during our education from each other and we pushed one another to be better through introducing new ideas.