Kewal Gala, who studied BA (Hons) Fashion Pattern Cutting at London College of Fashion, had his sights set on working at Marc Jacobs for a long time when he got the chance to do a placement as part of his course for the iconic American fashion label.
Kewal was an atelier intern at Marc Jacobs in New York for a period of 6 months, working alongside other interns in the sample room/atelier - a place where all the garments come to life. When the design team finalises a sketch - it is sent to the atelier to be pattern cut, toiled (prototyped), fitted and sewn up as a final garment.
He also had the opportunity to go backstage during the NY fashion week show in February 2020.
“It met and exceeded my expectations.”
Experience and networking
“One of the most important things for the fashion industry is the kind of varied experience you bring to the table as a professional,” says Kewal. “The placement year gave me an opportunity to gain that experience, before even graduating from university." Kewal implemented the skills learned on his course at LCF and was actively involved in helping pattern cutters scan their patterns, making trim packets, and also going to the garment district to visit the factories.
Kewal says that he also gained a ‘clear vision’ of what he wanted to do post-UAL from the placement, as well as gaining lots of industry contacts. “I ended up building some great connections along the way. You end up building a community of creatives around you who can help and support you once you graduate.”
Looking to the future as a recent graduate, Kewal hopes to keep building up his experience of the London fashion scene to understand the process from concept to the finished garment.
“I would ideally be looking at design or atelier-based positions, and also start actively thinking about what my creative practice could take shape as in the future. I would like to set up a business in the future when I have a comprehensive understanding of the industry - and champion craftsmanship and design.”
Support from UAL
Living abroad can be an exciting experience, but UAL also understand that it can also be overwhelming. If you’re looking to go abroad on an international study exchange or placement, we will support you with all stages of the process, from the initial application to your return flight home.
“UAL was supportive and helped me with the application process, securing the placement and the visa procedures. UAL were also helpful in guiding me through my portfolio and also kept in touch with me during the placement to check if I was doing alright.”
Advice for applicants
Kewal’s advice to anyone who wants to pursue a placement year, or who is thinking of gaining work experience abroad is to “set your eyes on the one company you really want to work for and reverse engineer the process accordingly.’
“Work hard, be open to new experiences and embrace the entire process.”
If you’re interested in international study exchanges or placements, find out how to get started.