Luisa Leoni Sylva Kahlfeldt
Luisa graduated in July 2014, and currently works as a designer for BarberOsgerb.
When I was about 15 or 16 I read an article about the fashion design course at Central Saint Martins in a German magazine.
What I liked was all the scribbles on the wall and the interesting looking people. I thought the atmosphere of the university that they described in the article was really exciting.
Back in Germany, the university has a fantastic reputation so, when I found out that I was accepted I couldn’t believe it.
During the course, you work on a variety of different briefs, some focus more on traditional product design, brand and strategy design, others deal more with user experience and service design. For every hand in, you have to make a final prototype, prepare a presentation and a technical portfolio. This means that you learn a lot about model making and materials, but also about layouts, photography, styling and presentation. Depending on the project, there are usually 5-10 people in one tutor group, which is a really good size, as things stay very personal with your tutor and you can really support each other.
The first day on the course is quite demanding with many hand-in projects and weekly presentations. You have to compromise on you social life quite a bit, especially in third year! Time management is a good skill to have, as stress can really affect your creativity and can impact on how well you do. And as difficult as it seems, you have to trust your intuition, believe in your ideas and not be intimidated by what other people around you are doing.
Visiting a range of different design studios in London in the first year was very exciting; not only do you learn about the design scene in London, but also meet a lot of very interesting people and future employers. There is a similar trip to Milan to visit manufacturers and design studios in the second year, which I think was my personal highlight. It's all good learning how to design things, but actually seeing and experiencing how parts are actually made and products manufactured had a very big impact on the way I design.
With my Open Kitchen Project, I won a three-month ‘Designer in Residence’ scholarship from the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau to develop the project further, which was a very exciting thing! I recently came back from this and I am currently working as a studio assistant in a design studio. It is a small studio and I have a very broad range of responsibilities from managing projects to making sketch models and 3D CAD drawings. Other people from my course have found jobs in a lot of different places, some go to smaller product and furniture studios, and others join bigger consultancies where they work on consumer products and electronics. The course actually prepares you for a whole range of different jobs, which is very helpful.
Don’t let yourself be influenced by too many opinions, do what feels right to you! Be confident!