Life of Alumni: Lauren Geoghegan is accessory and handbag designer
Next in our 'Life of Alumni' series, we're chatting with Lauren Geoghegan, LCF alumna who joined us on the BA (Hons) Cordwainers: Bags and Accessories. Lauren has worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry and we caught up with her to see what she's up to and how LCF helped to prepare her for industry.
Be the person to work harder than anyone else. Be nice, everyone knows everyone in this industry. Stay in your lane. You’re there to be you, as that's the most interesting. HAVE FUN!
Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. How’s everything going?
Hi! All is well thank you. Fashion week has started so I’m having fun looking through the new catwalks.
Could you give us a little introduction of yourself and your current line of work? What does day to day look like for you?
So, since I graduated in 2010, my job has been mainly an accessory designer. I have worked freelance and in large brands too, like ASOS and New Look. Though my specialism is handbag design, I have worked across a variety of products like jewellery, belts, soft accessories and small leather goods. The chance to broaden my skills whilst in work has been a really great thing. I am currently freelancing for a number of clients across product categories which is really exciting and keeps my days varied.
I tend to work for 2-3 clients a week so one day I may be researching upcoming trends to pull into a trend pack for the up coming season, another day I could be working on Adobe designing. Dependent on the product I tend to design in Photoshop and Illustrator as speed is key in my job. Other days I could be meeting with buyers from brands having chats about what they would like in their upcoming ranges. No week is ever the same!
I know that you decided to go freelance in the past too – how was that experience? How does it differ to working in-house?
I worked freelance for about 3 years, and have just recently returned to it this summer. Freelance is great for the freedom it gives you. You are your own boss and manage your work load as you please, which I love. However I would say unless you have a good base of contacts to work with it can be very tough to find work and make a living. I think freelance often suites people who have had a good few years in industry to learn the ropes, understand how business works, and meet people. Working in house at a brand is great, and i've had some of the best years of my life in brands. The friends you build around you are fantastic, you gain opportunities to travel and hopefully really learn about yourself as a designer. I learnt a huge amount about people and time management which I now apply working for myself.
What do you find most challenging about your job? Equally, what do you enjoy the most?
Honestly, there are lots of challenges working as a fashion designer. You have to work really hard, and really fast, surrounded by some really big characters. I think you have to really love what you do to get by. For me, what I enjoy the most is being creative, pretty much every day. Its what I love and I feel blessed to be able to earn my living in design. You have an opportunity to make a real difference to the brand you work with and really put your stamp on it, and I think that's hugely rewarding.
What career options are there for someone looking to study on the Cordwainers course here?
There are also so many design opportunities within luxury and the high-street. My advise here would be to get as much intern experience as you can. There is also product development and tech which is a pretty cool area. There are also sourcing Jobs for large brands who need leather and component specialists with product background. Trend prediction companies like WGSN also hire area specialists to build their upcoming trend data bases. If you have language skills too this often a big plus for companies in the luxury market. The list of opportunities could go on really!
You’re an alumna of LCF – how would you describe your experience?
I had a great experience at LCF. I worked hard and took the opportunity to use all of the facilities available to me. The Cordwainers site is so well equipped you really have to take advantage of it while you can. Also there was always someone knowledgeable around to answer my questions should I have them. I think its really important to take on the tutors advise, open up your mind and really push to get what you can from the place.
Why did you choose LCF?
No where compared to the LCF course that I wanted to take, which was handbag design tech BA Hons. The facilities were amazing and the content of the course covered what I was most interested in.
What’s your top piece of advice for a current student looking to pursue a career in accessory design?
I think there are a lot of options, and I think the more you get to know the industry the more options you find. Being a skilled pattern cutter and sample maker is a real asset and one that luxury companies are always looking out for.
Be the person to work harder than anyone else. Be nice, everyone knows everyone in this industry. Stay in your lane. you’re there to be you, as that's the most interesting. HAVE FUN!