Last year we popped along to Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) to gain a sneaky peek into who is potentially going to be the next big thing in the British (or should we say international!) fashion industry. Many leading fashion designers have been discovered at GFW over the years, and it really is one of those events that you need to be seen at if you’re trying to break into the fashion industry.
So, as we sat reminiscing about last year’s exhibition, it got us wondering about a few of the emerging designers who we met whilst wandering around those endless rows of stands. Showcasing upon GFW’s catwalks or having a few of their best pieces showcased around the exhibition is all well and good, but what do they do next?!
We caught up with graduate designer, Rachel George of the University of Wales, Newport to see exactly what an aspiring fashion designer does post University and GFW. Plus, check out Rachel's exclusive images of her new collection throughout.
The Fashion Spot: Tell us a bit about your design background?
Rachel George: In 2009, I moved to Wales to study fashion design at the University of Wales, Newport. This was a major change in my life, as I had previously attended an all girls school in a very small town in Ireland! Moving to the UK seemed like an obvious choice to begin a career in fashion. During my course, I was involved in many projects and completed internships both in Cardiff and London, to further my education. Part of my collection was put on show at London’s GFW in 2012 and this was a brilliant opportunity for me to meet people in the industry. I graduated with a 2.1 in September and I am currently trying to develop my label.
tFS: When and What encouraged you to become a designer?
RG: As a young child I was always sketching clothes on the corner of homework copies, which my teachers were not all too happy about! My passion for designing clothing started as a young age. I was hooked on fashion TV and counted down the days until the next Vogue was in store.
tFS: Who are your favourite fashion designers?
RG: Rodarte, as the techniques they use to create garments are incredible. I also love Dior and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Their shows are always an inspiration.
tFS: So, what was your favourite show from LFW Spring 2013?
RG: I really liked the Dion Lee show, as I thought that it was very modern, sexy and I loved the futuristic shapes and prints.
tFS: As a fashion designer, what are your design signatures?
RG: As a new designer, I think that I’m still trying to find my design signature but I tend to design sexy, dark and unusual pieces. There’s always a part of me in my creations.
tFS: Who would be your typical customer?
RG: When I am designing, I always think to myself, “What would I want to wear?” So, my typical customer would be someone who is not afraid to try something new or to stand out from the crowd. They don’t necessarily follow the trends but wear what they feel comfortable and confident in. They are young, lively and fashion forward.
tFS: So, how would you describe your own personal style, then?
RG: My style is quite grungy, as I love anything with studs and leather. I am very seldom to colour, and it’d actually be very hard to find a vibrant coloured item in my wardrobe!
tFS: Do you have any style icons?
RG: I take inspiration from a wide range of people but I absolutely love Rooney Mara’s style because it’s amazing and she’s not afraid to change her look.
tFS: What's your favourite style tip?
RG: If you don’t feel confident and comfortable in something, don’t wear it.
tFS: Do you have an item of clothing that you couldn’t live without?
RG: My leather jacket, as it goes with just about anything, whether it in the day or night!
tFS: So, what we’re really dying to know is, are you currently working on a new collection?
RG: This collection was inspired by Erebus, the god of darkness. It encapsulates the attraction with everything ominous and mysterious. Using disturbing imagery as a catalyst and drawing inspiration from shadows within the dark forest led to the creation of the unusual provocative clothing. I am also hoping to develop my menswear diffusion range, and although I designed it using the same inspiration as my womenswear collection, it’s more commercial and not as dark.
tFS: Do you have any other side projects? Do you even have time?
RG: I’m currently busy trying to get my website up and running, as well as developing my brand, so, I currently don’t have any time for other side projects… but it will all come with time!
tFS: What would you be doing if you weren’t aiming for a career in fashion?
RG: I really don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t following up a career in fashion — it’s the only thing that I’ve ever wanted to do!
Images: Rachel George