Meet BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear graduate Sophie
The BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear course is a dynamic and cutting-edge course that gives students a direct pathway into the activewear and sportswear industry. During her time at LCF recent graduate Sophie Talbot had the opportunity to work at Helly Hansen and Musto, as part of her industrial placement. We recently caught up with her to find out more about her time at LCF, current career and more!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose the BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear course?
My name is Sophie, I graduated from the course in the summer of 2022. I was born in Dorset in the Southwest where I studied for my Art Foundation year and moved to London in 2017. I completed 2 years of the course, then undertook a year in industry before coming back for my final year. I have just started working at Helly Hansen in Norway as a Junior Product Developer for Ski and Sailing.
During my foundation year I grew to know I wanted to study fashion, however it wasn’t until I was visiting universities for open days that I came across the sportswear course. I have always been a sports enthusiast, partaking in just about every sport during my childhood and settling on a few I really enjoyed as I grew older. It was on the day I visited LCF that it all clicked together. I was going to be able to make clothes, but not just for aesthetics.
The course would enable me to design, develop and produce garments that have the potential to better the performance of athletes / sports players. It was the combination of my two biggest passions.
Can you tell us about a project you have worked or are working on, and what aspects you enjoyed the most?
One of my favorite projects that I worked on was the industry project in collaboration with cycling brand Rapha. It was in the beginning of 2nd year and was my first insight into the industry. I loved the problem-solving aspect, I had to work out what they already had, what else was on the market and what I could produce that was innovative, worked technically and fitted with the brand.
We all got to visit the office to see how a company works in the industry and I was lucky enough to be chosen to present my final garment at the end of the project to Rapha. This was nerve-racking but incredibly rewarding to hear feedback from a top sportswear brand and really set me up for when I would experience similar situations in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying to BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear?
I would encourage anyone considering the BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear course to do material research. Materials and their properties play a big part in sportswear. More specifically, how materials interact with the body. Otherwise, I would just say apply!
You learn much more than just what looks good and how to make it. You learn how certain cuts, seam lines, shapes, fabrics, trims (just about everything!) can affect the way a garment performs.
What inspires you?
Through my studies I have developed a keen interest in high-tech sportswear clothing, spotting gaps in the current market and utilising the latest innovations. I usually get my inspiration through wearing sportswear myself, finding things that annoy me about it and thinking, how could I make this better? The fact that clothing can improve the performance of sports players really drives me.
What skills have you learned on BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear that you have been able to practice outside of London College of Fashion?
Adobe Illustrator will be your best friend. It is used within every company I have seen or worked for. Having that taught to us and emphasising the need for it has helped me massively. I learned so much about how a garment should fit and the adjustments to make to the pattern pieces when something doesn’t.
These are skills I use every day. Learning the full creative process from design to development to production means that you can apply to many positions within a sportswear company. It sets you up fully for work in the industry, whether by the end of it, you want to work in a sportswear company, the skills you learn mean you are better equipped at understanding garments fully.
What are your plans for the next few years, and where do you want to see yourself professionally?
I have recently started a job working for the sportswear company Helly Hansen. This had been my dream since I started the course, and I am amazed to have achieved it so soon after graduating. I’m absolutely loving it! Everyone shares the mindset of wanting to create the next innovative piece of sportswear clothing. I hope to fully involve myself within the company and learn as much as possible. It would be amazing to be one of the senior product developers in the future, so I guess that’s my next goal!
Can you tell us a little bit about the connections with the industry you've had throughout your course?
I took a placement year in my 3rd year where I worked for 6 months at Helly Hansen and 5 months at Musto. This year was extremely valuable, and I would encourage anyone taking the course to do a placement year. It helped me form my own connections within the industry, learn how a sportswear brand runs and aided with me obtaining my job at Helly Hansen.