LCF alumni returned to the college to advise postgraduate students how to be successful within the fashion industry, as part of the last week’s Graduate School Festival.
The alumni workshop, chaired by LCF Careers advisor Adam Watling, included womenswear designers Helen Clinch and Myra Nigris of Hemcya, fashion stylist Jason Leung, EcoLuxe’s Elena Garcia and denim designer Niklas Vila Karpe.
They aimed to provide students with practical information, drawing from their own experiences as students, to becoming successful designers.
The panel touched upon one overarching factor throughout the session: Passion. Passion, they advised, is essential when landing an internship. Students need to demonstrate through their final collections what it is that they are passionate about, and then translate this at interview stage.
“You can see passion in someone right away”, said Jason. “Don’t do it for the money or to be famous. Do it because you need to do it, because you have to”.
Helen and Myra agreed:
“It’s in your DNA – this is not your job, this is your life. You don’t have a plan B. You need to do it as much as you need to breathe. If you don’t have that, choose another career path”.
How best to communicate this passion? Researching the company was top of the list to show your engagement with the brand. The same applied to your creative materials. As Helen advised, “how can you move forward with fabric if you don’t know its heritage?”. The message was, use every opportunity to learn, and never underestimate the importance of seemingly menial tasks. After all, “your current internship is your best interview”, said Niklas.
The session focused on the alumni’s personal experiences. Answers delved into the panel’s stories; Niklas spoke on the history of denim and the designers discussed the manic experience that is fashion week (in other words, never contact designers around the time of their shows).
These varied stories came together to reinforce the importance of passion, and during the session it was their passion for their work that was perhaps the most inspiring.
And some final advice?
“Never forget why you love it”, said Helen. “Let your passion shine through your product. Don’t benchmark yourself against peers, and take your time to build up. It’s your journey, enjoy it”.
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- Words: Grace Elisabeth Cook, Postgraduate Certificate Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism
- Photography: Andrea Milla Perez