Nicole studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Part-Time at London College of Fashion. Here she tells us what the benefits were and what skills she gained.
Could you introduce yourself and your current role?
I am an independent designer, who has recently graduated from BA Fashion Design Part Time at LCF.
Tell us about your experiences of studying BA Fashion Design (Part-time) at LCF?
After 4 years at university studying Fashion Design I feel I have developed my taste, widely experimented and I finally feel much more confident as a designer and as a person. At first, in fact, I felt very vulnerable about what I was doing as the design research really is about personal taste and personal feelings, and this is where the designer finds the inspiration for their own work. In the end though it turned out to be great, as I developed a personal way of working and the constant feedback helped me learn how to develop and express my ideas in the best way possible.
Why did you choose to study at LCF?
I decided to study at LCF after doing some short courses. I think the college really suits my style; the tutors I met were really helpful, pushing me to work hard and do better, always encouraging me which is what I liked the most about LCF. After studying the foundation course I then decided to study the BA that developed my skills and expanded my industry awareness. At the beginning thinking about the consumer was not my priority, but the course really helped me in the end to understand who I am designing for and find a market. The college is well known worldwide and the standards are very high which was also a big plus. The facilities at LCF are great, I felt lucky to be able to use such a variety of machinery for doing so many creative works such as printing, sewing and shooting.
What skills did you learn and are using now?
Being a designer requires such a vast range of skills, from hand drawing, to the use of Photoshop and Illustrator, to being able to sew and choose the right fabric and techniques to develop your ideas in 3D. All of those have been taught in the course and the constant feedback helps to develop them further. Extensive practise in the students own time is crucial though, there is never enough time to learn everything in lessons. Practice makes perfect.
How did you find the teaching?
Teachers were always supportive and open to help. I had the chance to work with tutors who pushed me and challenged me to do my best. I had a very positive experience.
What was the appeal of studying part-time?
It allowed me to study and work together, enabling me to sustain myself, gain experience in the fashion industry, whilst doing my degree. The extended opening hours during the last couple of years at both Curtain Road and at the JPS library, have been so helpful for working after office hours. Obviously, having a job really challenged my organisational skills, but it made me realise how much can be done and made me feel proud for what I achieved. I really enjoyed what I was doing, so all the hours and hard work was worth it in the end.
How did you get to where you are today?
Hard work and determination brought me to where I am now. I am still in search for the best opportunity, as a creative and as a determined person I always strive for the best. I feel I still need to improve but the numerous collaborations that I am doing at the moment to promote my collection allow me to meet new people every day and generate new ideas for new projects and opportunities. It is very exciting!
Tell us about an average day at your job?
I still divide my life into a part time job (in fashion retail for a well known fashion brand), which allows me to sustain myself and dedicate the rest of the week to looking for opportunities, collaborations and new projects. I try to get up as early as possible despite not being a morning person, then start checking my e-mails and organise meetings and update my work, sketching, designing and researching.
How would you define your own style?
I find beauty in things that are a bit mysterious, that have a dark side, and that really shows in my prints and tailoring. My inspirations are from experience of feelings and situations in the most part, like a diary. I like morbid and feminine shapes that are new and different but flatter the body too. Quirky but feminine, structured alternated with floaty, and a mysterious aura.
What is your top tip for people who want to get into roles like yours?
I suggest working hard and making a good impression as the industry is small and everyone knows everyone. Also to be open to opportunities and be firm and loyal; people really appreciate that.