Graduate Fashion Week

Graduate Fashion Week has been very exciting for me as my garment was one of the nine picked to be hung on the stand, this puts me at an advantage as personally I think that is what will attract people to the stand. I am really happy that the tutors decided to take most of my work down there including my portfolio, sample pack and two garments.

On Saturday, which was the first day I received a text from a classmate telling me that somebody was interested in purchasing my garment which was so exciting for me, even if she does not end up buying it, it is still very flattering to know that people are actually interested in my outfit after looking at other universities work such as The Royal College, Westminster and Central St. Martins.

I then personally went up to Shoreditch myself to Graduate Fashion Week to man the stand, it was not very busy on the Sunday but there were a lot of shows on so sometimes floods of people, who did not really seem interested in looking at the stands afterwards, they were more interested in the alcohol on the UEL (University of East London) stand. In the afternoon I had a look around all of the stands and I was quite surprised at what I saw, there was such a random mix of stands. I felt as though there were too many portfolios and personally if I was an employer I would not sit down to look through every single portfolio, I would go by the garments that I saw. For example, there was a stand opposite us and I had seen a dress that I liked hanging up so when I went over to look at it, I immediately wanted to see their portfolio to see their thought process and design behind it. We then went to look at some more stands and I just wasn’t drawn in to them, I looked at a couple of pages in a few portfolios of each stand and got quite bored. However, there was one stand with some really interesting portfolios, one in particular was The University of Wales Newport, where they had A3 size portfolios (not what I would choose personally) but all of the pages were different sizes which I thought was really interesting and effective, I am tempted to re-print my portfolio on to different type of paper such as different types of textured paper and tracing paper to mix it up a bit, as I printed all of mine on the same printer paper all the way throughout.

I felt really disheartened after seeing all of the stands as it was apparent there is a lot of competition and I felt like I would never get a job. I hardly gave my business cards out to anyone on Sunday and I only saw one person look at my portfolio over the course of the whole day, I was really pleased for my classmates who received a lot of attention but I could not help but wonder why mine was not receiving any.

However, on a lighter note I received a phone call from my tutor on Monday telling me that a man stopped at the stand and asked to see my work personally, he works for a concession brand at Topshop called ‘de mouilpied’, so naturally I looked up their website. It looks really interesting and definitely something I would love as a career, it would be freelance design which is perfect for me as I love to work like this. After looking at their website I immediately got the impression that they had not launched their brand for long as they did not have many products and then I read the ‘about us’ page and it said they only launched in Topshop this year, which makes it even more exciting as I could build up my career whilst they build up their business. I got in touch with him straight away just to show him I was really interested, I then practically watched my mail box like a hawk waiting for a reply. The next day I felt quite disheartened because I had no reply in my mail box, but something told me to check my junk mail and there it was.

Josh Nieboer’s reply:

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I have looked at Josh’s Linkedin and he looks very very clever, but also very young, so like me obviously wanted to just set up his own business and I would be very happy to work for him. The products that he sells are exciting and youthful, which is the approach I am also going for in my designs. I sent him a digital copy of my CV and also my personal website. Unfortunately I do not have time to meet him this week, so I have asked him whether we can meet next week instead, his company is based in London so I am really hoping this will not be a problem – really hope!

My reply:

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de mouilpied website: http://www.demouilpied.com

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Finalising my professional portfolio

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This year at Graduate Fashion Week portfolios are very important as we are not allowed to take garments with us therefore our work has to be shown in detail on paper, I thought this was going to be really difficult at first but after researching in to other universities portfolios and how they work I managed to produce a professional looking piece and I feel very proud of it!

Pages for GFW stand:

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From our portfolios we were asked to pick out 8 pages to adjust to put on the stand at graduate fashion week with a small icon at the bottom with an allocated number inside it, the icon had to be the same size and in the same place for everybody, the pages then had to be mounted on to a4 foam board so that they all looked the same. The images above were the ones that I chose but I had to narrow it down, in the end my tutors gave me ten foam boards as we were all indecisive about which ones to put up. I am really pleased that the tutors like my portfolio and it gives me a huge confidence boost as the portfolio is what pulled my mark down in pre-collection.

Finished portfolio, printed CV’s and business cards ready for GFW:

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I feel really confident about my portfolio and I am really hoping that it will get some interested at GFW if not New Designers, I feel as though it is at a professional standard. I kept the portfolio really crisp and clean for this exact reason as I wanted it to look like a magazine/brochure and not add a lot of print and design as I did not want to draw too much attention from the main elements of the pages.

A selection of finished portfolio pages & fabric samples:

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Third Year Presentation

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Today was the day of the presentation, the one thing that I have dreaded all year.

I was fully prepared this year though, as in previous years when I have done a presentation I have always struggled, mainly because I didn’t prepare enough and I couldn’t bring myself to practice to myself or to others. However, this year I decided to grit my teeth (not literally) and just get on with it!

I planned my presentation two weeks in advance, I started with a spider diagram which really helped as I literally had no idea where to start which then led on to arranging my presentation. Making a powerpoint was a good idea as it made me start my contact list and bibliography, so it was like doing two tasks in one – bonus!

I practiced my presentation to myself a couple of times and timed it on my iPhone, it came to 9.22 which was a good time as the limit was between 8-10 minutes. However, I did not find that presenting to myself helped me much as I did not feel under pressure and it became really informal and muddled up – and quite frankly, I felt like an idiot.

I then presented to my mum twice and then both my mum and step dad together, this was really helpful for me because they gave me feedback and a nod of approval now and then, which was really encouraging. Presenting to other people a few times gave me a lot more confidence and I didn’t feel too nervous today before my presentation which reduced stress and panic which came across in my presentation – well at least I think it did!

I am really pleased with the outcome today, I felt nervous at first and like I had a shake in my voice but that soon disappeared once I got going. I felt really pleased when the second years told me that they thought that mine was one of the best because I would never expect that, I feel really proud of myself and what I have been able to overcome, this is really going to help me in my future career, and it shows how much a degree has improved my confidence.

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Fashion show at Firstsite

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I have been looking forward to the fashion show for months, it is probably one of the main reasons I actually made garments this year as I really wanted to have something visual to show my friends and family instead of just a portfolio and samples. I initially planned to make six garments but I am quite happy I only made three now as I think it draws attention away from each individual garment if you have too many. I also think it is better to keep your collection smaller but make sure that the garments that you have made are perfectly made and perfectly printed.

Overall, I think that the show went really well and there were over 300 tickets sold, which was a huge bonus for both FirstSite and ourselves. The run up to the show was really stressful and the tutors were worried we wouldn’t have enough models, however there were definitely more than last year. After the first rehearsal day I did not feel as excited about the show as I should, because everyone was bickering about the shoe colour and style which was frankly really pathetic. Everybody in the class had either sourced their own shoes or chosen the style and colour that they wanted, but there were a few people in particular who wanted everybody to buy a pair of shoes each and then everybody share, this was mainly because of budget and lack of preparation.

I got frustrated at times with the running order, as I had asked my friend to model for me and take a day off work to help me out, I was then told that she may not model my garments which angered me as I (unlike others) had made the effort to source my models and then wouldn’t be able to use them because they had been asked to model for lazy people who hadn’t prepared for the show. Eventually I asked Gill to change the running order and managed to have my friend model for me, alongside Meg and Lily who Beth kindly let me borrow from her, which then worked out well as they fit my garments perfectly.

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The show itself was a huge success, and I received lovely feedback from friends, family and other peers and my mum told me that my collection ‘was very well received’ which was pleasing for me. I also found myself becoming very emotional at the end, as our degree is coming to an end and I will miss everyone on the course and it has now become reality that we are going out in the real world alone.

Personal Photoshoot

I have been excited for this shoot for weeks, I purposely booked with Deimante weeks in advance as I was worried that she would be fully booked and I would not get the professional standard that I wanted for my photoshoot with anyone else but her. I booked the shoot when I had only one garment made, so I had two weeks to get the other two done. I had already sent the lengths off to be digitally printed and made my garment patterns so I was ready to start constructing the garment as soon as my fabrics arrived.

I asked three friends to be my models for me, one for each garment because I wanted all three garments together in some pictures as I made a pinterest board and there was an image on there with three models in one image and it was stunning. At first I was going to have a grey backdrop but I then decided that black was better suited as it emphasised and complimented my garments more. I was really pleased with the professional lighting as it really brought out the prints and highlighted the girls’ skin tones which just produced the most beautiful images.

There were a few problems with the shoot, only minor though. The first was that because I chose small models (size 6) to fit a garment which was a size ten, the garments were a bit big and needed to be pinned to my models, however this was not visible in the photoshoot and we just moved the pins when we shot different angles of the garment (e.g. if the front was being shot, the back would be pinned etc.) which was a bit annoying and fiddly. The second problem was that my harness bra didn’t fit Megan, which again meant that it needed to be pinned but because the black dress is so enclosed we had to keep undoing the zip and pinning it back together where it had come undone. The third problem, which was the biggest was that at the start of the shoot, Charlotte was asked to do a difficult pose which made her feel embarrassed and awkward so I was asked to leave. This was annoying for me as I’d paid a lot of money for this shoot and wasn’t even allowed to watch it happen, I was also annoyed that I couldn’t see the poses that Deimante was asking the girls to do (not that I didn’t trust her) and I would have liked to have the input for my own shoot.

When I received the photographs back I was really pleased with them, however I was a bit annoyed with a few as the girls were asked to put their hands over themselves, which evidently covered up my garment. I don’t know what is more important; the garment or a beautiful picture?

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^ Hands covering the garment ^
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^ Hands Covering the Garment ^

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Business Cards

Business cards are essential for our graduate shows, so as a group we decided that one person was in charge of sorting them out. Obviously as students, we find managing funds very hard, especially on such an expensive course therefore we all decided to go for the cheapest print option. We paid £14.89 each for 200 cards out of our group fund for the business cards from family friend of one of the girls in the class who works for a printing company.

When the cards came back the quality of them was just shocking, especially for some students in the class who used samples as their pictures. Admittedly mine wasn’t too bad, definitely not the worst but I still was not happy with it and would rather pay more for better quality to show the best of my ability to potential employers.

Front & Back of first set of cards:
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As a group we all decided who was happy with the cards and who wasn’t and the people who were not happy gave the cards back and got a refund which could be put towards a new set which had to be sorted by themselves. I asked a few people if they wanted to do a group order on VistaPrint – as I have ordered from them before, I know that they are good quality.

It worked out at about £37 each for 500 cards including postage and packaging and VAT. I was pleased with this as I know I will use all of the business cards as I can send them out with my orders from my own sales. For my own cards I chose an image from my shoot with Deimante as I preferred the images, I was also happier with the back of the card as I personalised it to my own taste.

I am pleased that I chose to speak up and get myself new cards as I feel as though the other cards would not have promoted my work well.

My own set of business cards from VistaPrint.

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