LCF alumna In Kwan Li on their Reserved Scholarship experience
London College of Fashion, UAL alumna In Kwan graduated from the BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear course in 2018. In her final year, In Kwan was a recipient of a scholarship from Polish clothing store chain Reserved, who also offered a place to work with them after graduation. Now more than 3 years on, she is still working with Reserved at their Warsaw office as part of their RE.DESIGN team. Here’s what In Kwan had to say about her experience.
What was the process of applying for the scholarship and what was offered?
I remember receiving an email from school explaining the scholarship which also provided a job opportunity after graduation. I attended a meeting about it, which is where I first met Anna Sołtys, Studio Director at Reserved Warsaw (who I am working with now). She explained Reserved’s background and what kind of applicants she was looking for. I then applied for the scholarship and filled out the application form, which mainly asked about my design experiences. I reached the last interview stage which was coordinated by Anna. During the interview, I showed her my previous and current sketchbooks, garment designs and portfolio. I was so happy to receive their scholarship (as final year financial support) and the 6-month internship which took place after I graduated in 2018.
What did you study at LCF and how did this help prepare you for working in the industry?
I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear. I am glad that I was able to learn a lot about different design development skills such as collage, colour theory and pattern making, which were very useful to know during the internship. Now I am working in a very creative team called RE.DESIGN, which asks designers to develop the collection from concept using mood boards, sketches, and choosing seasonal colours, to then explain to a technologist (pattern maker). All the skills I learnt from LCF helped me handle this job and achieve good results within my designs.
What was a typical working day like during your internship?
I was working with a Senior Designer called Nuria in the RE.DESIGN team during the internship. She explained the design process and helped me fit in to the job. At the beginning, I helped with a lot of research for the new collection; I think that teamwork is important, to share your visions and ideas with each other. I was also able to start designing for the RE.DESIGN AW19 and SS20 collections.
What was your favourite thing about working in Poland with Reserved?
I think my favourite thing about Poland is the working environment. Everyone at Reserved is so helpful and they all respect each other. The working hours are fixed and there’s no overtime, which makes me feel relaxed and I can keep a work-life balance.
Where do you get inspiration from?
For every season of the RE.DESIGN collection, we have an inspirational trip before we set up our concept. We travelled to places like Tel Aviv, Rome and Copenhagen to get inspiration from different cities. We visited lots of museums and galleries to understand and get into the ‘vibe’ of each city. Those trips were very successful for us, to help create a unique collection each time.
What are your future work plans/aspirations?
At the moment, I am very happy in my job and want to continue working creatively with my team. Even though I have been able to grow and progress a lot because of this job, I would like to keep exploring and expanding my abilities by working here. Maybe in the future, I would like to learn more about fine art and take a course in it.
What tips do you have for current students at LCF on getting the most out of a placement or getting into industry?
I think we need to always be prepared; we never know when a good chance at something will appear for us. For example, the Reserved scholarship happened during my second year, if I wasn’t prepared with my first year portfolio, I don’t think I would have got this job or any of the opportunities that came with it. The fashion design industry is very competitive, so I suggest that all current students apply to more competitions to help make your portfolio rich with designs.