London College of Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Technology: Textiles, 2005
Creative Enterprise Award Winner 2010 – Special Award: Best Stand at Creative Fair
During the summer of her graduation Louise packed her bags and hot footed it to New York to accept a job as a print designer for European Textile Collection, a print studio based in Manhattan. After falling in love with the Big Apple, Louise ended up staying for three years before moving back home and pursuing her freelance work and starting her own company Just For The Halibut.
How do you go about making such a varied career in the creative industries?
Its a tough ball game when you graduate as there are a lot of choices out there. I always found the trick was to get plenty of work experience and internships under my belt. The majority of them started out unpaid and they all ended up paid as I got more involved with each company and different projects came up, so, never be afraid to help people out! It might offer you an opportunity you had never considered before!
How do you juggle working on projects with setting up your own business?
I was always a weekend and evening kinda of girl. At the time of starting Just For The Halibut I was really interested in creating some artwork just for me, having worked as a commercial print designer for five years.I started this off with a weekend screen printing course at FIT (I was living in New York at the time). This refreshed all my screen printing skills that I had learnt at UAL. From there I just started creating lots artwork before settling on a style.
I always had to prioritize my day job but found time to get to the screen printing studio and work on a new designs, that is how my little business Just For The halibut came about.
How did studying at LCF prepare you for your career? Is there anything more UAL could have done?
Moving to London and embarking on degree at LCF was an exciting time for me. I studied BA (hons) Fashion Design Technology, surface textiles. I wasn't sure what direction my career would take until a work experience placement I did with a company call Lulu & Red. I created a lot of prints for them for their s/s collection and seeing them appear of the shop floor confirmed that I wanted to be a commercial print designer. From then on my portfolio consisted of achievements from various placements and is what I showed when I was offered a paid internship in NYC.
Its never too early to start creating a portfolio to represent you as a designer, its always evolving with every project and you never know when you are going to need it.
What are your top tips for current students hoping to make a career in the creative sector?
As above I think having a portfolio that represents you is a must. Make sure you take photos of all work/PR clippings, designs etc so you can create this! Its much harder two years later to piece together beautiful pages when a project or placement is just a distant memory!
Also not to be afraid to offer you services for free, even if it is just one day a week for something, many good projects and opportunity have come to me through this. If you haven't decided what path or area to specialize in just have a go at everything, You learn so much about the industry from being in it.
What’s coming up for you next?
I am working on some new designs for my Etsy site and developing my website. I recently moved to Melbourne, Australia so I have been adjusting to life down under! I am looking forward to my first Aussie screenprints and getting involved in the craft markets here.