We are very proud to say that our final year BA Fashion Design students are still the only students in the UK to have their final collections presented at London Fashion Week (LFW). This year the acclaimed Westminster Fashion show featured 15 brilliant collections, selected by a panel of industry experts. See images from here.
The runway was dominated by futuristic bodysuits, playful patterns and cheerful sailors. Huge congratulations to our students! We managed to get a hold of Melissa Eakin, one of the new designers, whose eccentric cowboy themed collection is a tribute to her grandfather. We asked Melissa to share her 4-year journey with us.
How did it feel like to have your first ever collection shown during the LFW?
“It’s a whole bag of emotions! [It] was very fun, I know I will do things totally different next time, but overall [I’m] satisfied with my work! Just excited to begin the next thing and keep creating.”
How was the atmosphere backstage?
“The atmosphere was full of so much anticipation and anxiety and stress and excitement, but for the most part-time went by so quickly that we could only focus on the steps to getting the models perfectly dressed and ready to walk down the runway.
“Best memory was probably just walking into the backstage area remembering how in the first year I had hoped to be there and that day finally came.”
Tell us more about creating a collection
“There are a million steps to creating a collection. Everyone works entirely different to each other. For me, I experiment a million times with fabric development, pattern cutting and tailoring [...] and last minute decide hoping it all comes together. The majority of the time is [spent on] research and only towards the end it is [about] executing everything and putting out fires. Even though it probably is a more stressful way to work, that is the only way I know!”
You have almost come to an end of your 4-year journey, how does it feel like?
“It all went by so quickly but wouldn’t want to do it any longer! The course however gave me so many tools and made me stronger in terms of my creativity and ability to keep up with the demands of working in the industry. I gained three internships out of it: Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Proenza Schouler, a portfolio I am proud of, and a clear understanding of what it is I want to do within fashion.”
What would you like to say to new students who are thinking of starting a similar journey to yours?
“Be sure you are okay having your life flipped upside down. The course work is extremely demanding, the long nights and missed weekends are many. And the stress level is more intense than most students outside the programme can comprehend. Luckily you have a whole class of students that go through everything with you to keep you from totally losing your mind. In the end I think people come out as a different person and with a stronger backbone to go out into the industry and world in general.”
Course leader, Professor Andrew Groves, who has made the show possible announced that for the first time all of the final year collections will be presented in a showroom in Paris. This is to help the young fashion designers to create industry connections. We wish them the best of luck and can’t wait to hear from their achievements!