As we prepare for our BA14 Runway show our ‘Class of 2014‘ feature looks to some of our design students to find out about the inspiration behind their collections and their LCF experiences. Charlotte Bright is a BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation student and her accessories will feature on the catwalk next Thursday 19th June.
LCF: What have you enjoyed most about studying at LCF?
Charlotte Bright: I have enjoyed being involved with such a fantastic network of people, everyone from tutors to technicians to fellow students have been hugely inspiring to be around. The university has incredible links to industry and having the opportunity to work on live industry projects throughout my time at LCF has provided me with a more realistic experience as to what happens in the business and helped me prepare for my career. The opportunity to move to London, living and studying in one of the most exciting cities in the world has been amazing!
LCF: Have you won any prizes / undertaken work experience?
CB: One of my final year project handbags was selected to be featured in the 2014 School of Design Technology Annual, as well as the fashion film. During my final year, I was awarded the Leathersellers Educational award. This gave me an opportunity to run with my project and realise it in a way that would not have been possible without their help and funding. I am eternally grateful to them for their support! Throughout my four years at LCF I have found it extremely valuable to consistently do work experience and internships. I completed my industry placement with British labels, Mimi Berry and Lulu Guinness. Prior to this, throughout the holidays, I worked as a hand-worker in a factory making leather accessories for luxury labels. I also did some freelance design projects with the same company, completing set briefs from the initial research stage, designing, pattern cutting through to making leather samples in the factory.
LCF: What inspires you?
CB: I am particularly drawn to colour, pattern and texture! Whether I’m out and about in the city or countryside, I always have my eyes wide open…it could be anything that gives you that initial spark for a new idea.
LCF: What is most important to you about fashion?
CB: I want to design something that has vibrancy, character and innovation. The use of craft and local manufacturing is very important to me. I feel passionate about keeping industry alive locally; we need to keep our practical skills alive. I feel proud to be working with leather; it is such unique and versatile material that produces products that only continue to age and grow in character over time.
LCF: How would you sum up your graduate collection?
CB: British appeal. Different appeal. Hidden appeal.
LCF: What are your plans for the future? And how do you feel your course will help you?
I am going straight from university into a job as production manager at Mimi Berry, Made in England. The course has helped to prepare me for this role, providing me with an insight into everything from the research, initial design phase and development to sourcing appropriate materials, sampling and making finished prototypes. This along with the experience I’ve gained in industry over the past four years has given me the confidence that I have the skills to fulfil this role. I am excited at the prospect of being involved in the fashion accessories industry and maybe one day I’ll be in a position to start my own label!
LCF: What advice would you give someone wanting to study for a BA at LCF?
Grab every opportunity the university has to offer with both hands! Push boundaries, take risks and have faith in your own ideas and creativity. Make the most of the extra talks and workshops put on by the university, you get the opportunity to speak to and learn from some of the most influential people from the industry