Saturday, 9 June 2012

My Graduate Fashion Week

As it's graduate fashion week next week, I thought I would share with you my student fashion show which was way back in 1991 (Please don't try and work out how old I am).

I studied fashion design at Derby University and was lucky enough to be selected to show my final collection at the Smirnoff Student Fashion Week, which was held at the Business Design Centre in London.

I remember it was so exciting being there and the day was like a blur. All those years of studying for less than 5 minutes on a runway, but it was worth it and it kick started my 16 year career in fashion design.

The inspiration for my final collection was turn of the century old adverts. I loved the bold colours and the mix of images with words (It's funny as, as I look at it now, milly and pip is also all about images and words)

As I developed my ideas, I knew that my collection would be for young girls. Sophisticated grown up fashion was never my thing, my style was definitely more suited for the 16-25 year old market. I also wanted to add some childrenswear into my collection as I knew that this would give a point of difference to all the other student collections.

My colour palette was bright and fun. I used deck chair stripes, brought from Laura Ashley, mixed with bold chunky knits. I actually can't knit, but I designed 2 patterns which were knitted into garments for me by 2 sailors wives who lived in Portsmouth. When the garments came back, they were amazing, they turned out even better than I had imagined and they were so so heavy.

I designed 7 outfits, and apart from the 2 hand knitted jumpers, I made every single garment myself. The other pieces of knitwear were made on a 10 guage Shima knit machine. There were some really early starts and some very very late nights to finish the collection in time. I was still finishing off some pieces on the train down to London.

I selected the models from agency photo's and they were amazing. Each model wore designs from other students as well as mine and it was amazing how they knew how to perform on the catwalk depending on what they were wearing. They came out skipping and smiling for my catwalk show, which suited the clothes perfectly.

One of the hand knitted jumpers that weighed a ton!

The highlight of the day was being interviewed by Carolyn Franklin for The Clothes Show TV programme. I have no idea what I said, but I do remember that the make up artist had to powder my ears! 

When we got home, we all sat and watched The Clothes Show, wondering if our collection and been selected by the producers to be shown on national TV........and I was one of the lucky ones. It was probably the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. I was also fortunate to have been featured in the press too, which was absolutely brilliant. 

So, good luck to all the students showing their final collections this week. The fashion industry is a real roller coaster of an industry to work in, but I wouldn't have missed it for all the world.


  1. Woo hoo! congratulations on your nomination.

    All the best K.F.Steve


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