In conversation: Laura Holmes, founder of Holmes Production and Philip Clarke, Course Leader for BA Fashion Communication
This year Central Saint Martins, UAL graduate Laura Holmes has generously established the Holmes Production Scholarship. The scholarship aims to bring diverse talents into the industry and is open to BAME students starting the BA Fashion Communication course in September 2023.
Laura founded Holmes Production in 2010 and it has grown into an incredibly successful production studio dedicated to creativity, artistry and the power of the image. Laura graduated from the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion pathway at CSM in 2006.
She recently spoke to BA Fashion Communication Course Leader Philip Clarke about her time at CSM and what inspired her to donate to CSM.
You graduated from the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course; why did you choose to study at CSM?
I took an Art Foundation course at Kingston University. I knew I wanted to go on to study fashion but was torn between a design degree at Brighton or FCP at CSM. A very brilliant tutor asked me exactly the right question – was I more interested in the way a garment was made, or the resulting image of the garment? I was (and still am) obsessed with magazines and with art and fashion photography. My decision was made.
What was your time at CSM like?
Fun! FCP was a very small course when I attended at Charing Cross Road on the edge of Soho where the Fine Art and Fashion Design courses also took place. We spent time between Drusilla Beyfus’s journalism classes, Judith Watt’s fashion history classes, Lee Widdow’s fashion promotion classes and Carol Morgan’s marketing classes. In between we spent a lot of time at the café in the basement - we had cultural studies at Southampton Row, various guest lecturers, and then projects for companies like L’Oreal. We all had part-time jobs, and we all went out a lot.
You set up Holmes Production in 2010. Can you tell us a bit about your creative journey?
I’ve been so incredibly lucky with the talented brilliant people I have had the opportunity to work with and the projects I have been able to work on. When I set out I was producing for friends – Sharif Hamza and Niall O’Brien were the first two I worked a lot with- both of who had been assistants and set out on their own at the same time I did. It was and still is an adventure. I learned a lot on the job – I still learn on every job I do which is my favourite thing about my job.
You’re generously funding a scholarship for BAME students starting the BA Fashion Communication course in September 2023 with the goal of bringing diverse talents into the industry; can you tell us more about the reason behind this initiative?
My team is 16 now and I am still surprised when interviewing how little diversity I see in the candidates who write and apply. I have been mentoring through 2 different mentorship programmes but wanted to do more. The FCP course at CSM is an incredible opportunity but one that I am aware is not a consideration for many incredibly talented people. When I studied at CSM the fees were a fraction of what they are now. I want to see if it is possible, by taking some of the company profit and giving it in this way, to make an opportunity for someone very talented who might otherwise not have been able to consider it.
What advice would you give to students wanting to develop their careers as fashion creatives?
Persistence and hard work are key. Make yourself indispensable at every opportunity you get. Don’t take any opportunity for granted.
Holmes Production Scholarship
Founded in 2010, by producer Laura Holmes, Holmes Production is an independent Creative Production company dedicated to creativity, artistry and the power of image.
Laura Holmes has partnered with UAL and established the Holmes Production Scholarship to financially support talented students from diverse low-income backgrounds who might otherwise be deterred from studying at CSM. This scholarship will provide maintenance support for a first-year student entering the BA Fashion Communication course at CSM in September 2023.
The Holmes Production Scholarship will open up opportunities to talented creatives from underrepresented communities with the intention of advancing equality and inclusion in the fashion industry.