Kimberley Lawton and Tomas Cerniauskas are in their final year at LCF, studying BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring. Both are recipients of a Shaftesbury Scholarship and are spending this year working towards their completing their final collection.
We caught up with Kimbereley and Tomas to discuss their experiences at LCF, why they chose to study Bespoke Tailoring, and what their scholarship has meant to them.
Why did you choose to study BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring at LCF?
Tomas: LCF is one of the best universities in UK – perhaps even the whole of Europe, and it has a BA Bespoke Tailoring course that other universities don’t offer. I think everyone wants to be in the best place, especially if they’re planning to spend three years of studying abroad like me – I’m from Lithuania. I’m in my last year at LCF and I’m very happy with my decision to study here.
Kimberley: I chose to study BA Bespoke Tailoring at LCF because I enjoy the pattern making aspect of fashion. I knew that tailoring was the hardest part of pattern cutting and I felt compelled to master that. Being a student at LCF has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in a creative culture, engaging with creative minds on a daily basis.
How did you find out about the scholarships at LCF?
Tomas: Darla Gilroy, one of the course leaders, informed us about it in a lecture.
Kimberley: I found out about the scholarships through emails that I received from the university.
How did you go about applying for it – what was the process like?
Tomas: I sent an email explaining how I would use the money – the process was very straightforward and easy. I thought there was no chance I would get the scholarship because there were a lot of students applying. In the end I decided that I needed to apply and just see what happens!
Kimberley: I applied by sending an email with a statement of intent. I was then invited for an interview at Shaftesbury PLC, where I also had the chance to meet John Hitchcock; the recently retired Managing Director and Head Cutter at Anderson & Sheppard.
If it wasn’t for my scholarship…
Tomas: …I never would have had an opportunity to use quality fabrics and trimmings for my final collection. It’s also about the feeling of being recognised. It makes me look at everything more seriously and push myself harder, because Shaftesbury gave me the scholarship, so they trust and believe in me. I think it also shows to me that I have chosen the right direction in life.
Kimberley: …I never would have been able to invest money into making sure that my designs meet their true potential – without the funding I would not have been able to buy the high quality fabrics I needed to create my designs. With the money from the scholarship I can now also afford to commission students from footwear, and costume design courses to craft handmade shoes and hats, and help me complete the outfits for my final collection.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who wants to apply for a scholarship?
Tomas: Just to be yourself when you’re writing the statement. If you have a passion for tailoring they will see it. Don’t expect anything but also, don’t doubt yourself either!
Kimberley: Just apply – go for it! I couldn’t believe that I won, the award is going to help so much!
Do you find London inspiring?
Tomas: London is the best place to study Bespoke Tailoring. Savile Row, fabric and trimming shops, galleries, museums, street style – it has more than I need to be inspired. I just need to remember to keep my eyes open!
Kimberley: Coming from a little village in Yorkshire, London is awe inspiring! Living in the east also means that I am always surrounded by a rich culture of fashion and music that inspires my work. There’s always something exciting to see, and you don’t have to look far to find it.
Tell us about an average day at university?
Tomas: Morning coffee, jokes, work, lunch, jokes, work, work, work, snacks, work, jokes, dancing, singing, work, time to go home. From 9.00 am to 8.00 pm every day!
Kimberley: I usually go in when open access opens at 9:00am and try to make sure I finish something everyday – I set myself daily goals. I’m in my third year so at the moment I literally live and breath uni work – we have so much to create in such a short space of time. I always manage to find time for a tea break at the end of a long day, with my flatmates though!
What are your ambitions for the future?
Tomas: I want to be a master tailor and feel confident when I cut and make. I want to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about suiting and tailoring, and build a brand to show young people that a suit can be a very interesting garment to wear.
Kimberley: I want to train as a professional cutter in the tailoring industry. Once I get more insight into what it takes to become a leading name within the industry, I want to use it to create beautiful women’s tailoring that accentuates the female form.