The fashion sector is a tough industry to get into, but a degree helps, right? I interviewed Charlotte Champ, a fashion student at Wolverhampton University to uncover the secret life of a … Fashion student
What was your inspiration to get into the fashion industry?
I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion but was nervous to look into working within the industry because of how difficult it is. I found that my college course really helped me realise how much I wanted to get into fashion and learn all I could.
How would you describe your style?
I have my own style, I like to think, and keep to colour palettes during seasons. For example, I wear a lot of black, white and red during autumn and winter as I feel this reflects the weather. Alternatively in spring and summer I love wearing pastels! I quite like 50’s style clothing and try to show that in my own way.
When did you know that you wanted to do fashion?
When I was in school and I was completing my GCSE Textiles. My final project was totally up to me and I could be as creative as I liked. I loved the freedom of designing, constructing and presenting garments in my own personal way.
Your doing a degree in fashion what previous experience/education do you have?
I achieved an A in Textiles and GCSE and went on to complete a BTEC National Dipolma in Fashion with Textiles which was really hands on and meant I learnt a lot in two short years. I have managed my own segment in a fashion show which featured outfits (clothing and accessories) made by me and had to select and also choreograph models. I have designed a collection for BANK clothing through my university course which was assessed by the head designer at the company.
Who is your fashion icon?
My fashion icon would be the singer, Paloma Faith. I’m a huge fan of Vivienne Westwood and vintage fashion which is basically what she wears. She has her own style which I love!
In your wardrobe what is your favourite outfit?
My favourite outfit would be my 50’s green coat with a mink collar (from a vintage shop in Bridgenorth), my black tea dress with a large daisy pattern and mesh hem (Dorothy perkins) my patent black loafers (Schuh) and my vintage gucci handbag (passed down through family)
What do you love about fashion?
I love that fashion is what you make it. No one can dictate what fashion is to you because it’s unique to everyone and everyone sees fashion in a different way.
What are your aspirations after University?
I hope to work within the theatre or film industry creating costumes. That way I can channel my love for fashion and unusual designs to a relevant market.
Where do you shop for your fashion items?
I mainly shop in Forever 21, Zara and American site Nasty Gal.
Who are your favourite designers?
My two favourite designers would be Vivienne Westwood because of her english heritage designs and historically influenced garments and Meadham Kirchhoff because of their use of colour and very eccentric designs.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently researching into areas of work and companies I aspire to work within once I have completed university. I am also taking a technical module which has lead me to work in pattern construction to create garments. Lastly I have taken on a contemporary module which has the theme ‘distortion’ and how body distortion can be reflected through garments.
What fashion item can you not live without?
I couldn’t live without my red velvet Vans I got at a Vans discount shop while on holiday. They aren’t to everyone’s taste but there’s something about them I love!
What do you think of the fashion industry?
I think fashion is a hard working, ruthless industry which requires a huge amount of skill, commitment and eye for fashion. Without any of these it’s extremely tough. I was once told my a lecture that the movie ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ is very tame compared to the high fashion companies.
Do you think that celebrities have an influence in regard to fashion
I think celebrities have a very big influence of high street fashion. Places like New Look and River Island work to make on trend items that have been previously worn by celebrities affordable to the public.
What was the first item of clothing you designed/created
The first garment I created was my final piece for my GCSE, it was a simple 3/4 length sleeved dress with a pleated a line skirt in a pale blue with a white hem. I added in pockets and got a bit enthusiastic and added a hood too! Only a year after leaving school that style of dress (minus the hood) was actually very popular on the high street!
How long does it take you to construct a piece?
Usually I will take a design and do a mock up to make sure it all works and is wearable. I then go on to making pattern pieces to cut out the pieces of the garment in the right material. This process can take from 3 weeks to over a month depending on the item. The actual making of the piece can take up to 2 weeks which includes sewing the pieces together, measuring out seams to make sure they are all equal, tidying the seams, adding a lining if needed and also any embellishment that needs adding on.
What do you consider the most important aspect of the fashion industry?
I feel the most important thing about the fashion industry is the imagination and drive of the designer. Fashion is made to sell so the designs need to be extremely good to be considered wearable and popular. Without the imagination of the designs and the drive of the designer fashion wouldn’t be the industry it is today.
Ambition, creativity and flare.
What do you think are the current and future trends in fashion?
Colour wise, lilac is becoming very popular and can been seen to be creeping in gradually as we approach summer. Gingham and daisy prints are going to be big this summer season as well as soft tailoring.
What advice would you give someone wanting to study/work in fashion?
I’d say if you have the passion for it you should definitely look into expanding your skills as much as you can because the more skills you have the more your work will flourish. You also don’t have to be excellent at drawing, as long as you have your own style of creating illustrations that tell you story of your work that’s all you need.