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Promising times ahead for next year's Fashion and Textiles students

Fashion and Textiles tutor Gemma Hudson-Findley recognises the work of some of her students in the first year Level 3 Fashion and Textiles; Hugh Townsend, Lewis Clark and Tommy Cross.

Gemma says:

As a teacher I feel lucky to have a student like Hugh Townsend. Hugh is inquisitive and has a hunger for improving his practice all the time. Hugh never settles for work that is “okay” or just hits the mark, he has high expectations and isn’t afraid of rolling his sleeves up and putting in the extra effort to get to where he needs to be. Hugh is always seeking inspiration, advice and resources to elevate his work whether this be his illustrations or his pattern cutting skills. To Hugh, this course isn’t something to pass the time, in fact it’s clear to me he uses his time wisely to improve and grow as a designer as well as developing his own style, and this is evident in the massive improvements made in his work through the year. It’s exciting times watching Hugh grow as a practitioner and I’m eager to see what he does next year.

Hugh’s Caption:

I wanted to and still want to study Fashion and Textiles because it allows me to express how I feel in my work, it allows me to be me and stay creative. My biggest influences as a designer have to be looking at other artists and designers' work. This gives me the drive and motivation to strive for the best work possible. Another big influence for me is emotion. Whether it be a specific emotion or an array of emotions, it really helps me design what I feel is meaningful. In the future I see myself studying Women's or Men’s Fashion at a University. I also see myself making upcycled, sustainable clothing for a future clothing brand. Looking back on the year, my biggest triumphs have to be constructing a jacket that I designed alongside the patterns that I have created for it. It sparked a bright interest in an area that I thought to be dull. The biggest piece of advice I could give another student is that, motivation doesn’t make you, you make motivation. You have to be willing to feel uncomfortable and push yourself to do work because you can’t sit around waiting for something that might never come. Winning this award is an honour and I would like to thank Gemma for the nomination, for always helping me and pushing me to my full potential.

Gemma had this to say about Tommy Cross

Tommy has been recognised for his commitment in his first year. Throughout this year on the Year 1 Fashion and Textiles course, Tommy has demonstrated a fantastic work ethic throughout and has a clear passion for this industry. Tommy is always early to class and the last to leave, and in his spare time he is using the facilities to develop his work and practice as a fashion designer. He welcomes and invites feedback regularly, and he takes constructive criticism with a smile and gets straight onto improving his work. Tommy has grown so much this year as a designer and he is always looking to improve further, and teaching him is more like a collaboration with a professional. I cannot wait to see where he takes his practice next year.

Tommy’s Caption:

I always followed and collected designer fashion, but longed to know more about the whole process of how a garment starts as an idea and ends up being owned by the purchaser. I wanted to know and have experience of every stage of the process, so I applied for the course.

My biggest influence as a designer is nature, surrealism and anything abstract, quirky or unusual. In the future I see myself designing one off fashion pieces and modifying existing garments with my own label/brand. I want to be known for unique personalised fashion. Reflecting back on this year on Fashion & Textiles, my biggest triumphs are the skills I have acquired as well as developing my own vision of fashion design, from being able to transform an idea into a garment, pattern cutting, material selection, textile design and modification techniques. My advice for other students on a creative course is to listen carefully and learn from others. Everything is linked so never dismiss any aspect of the course. As you commit to this, your own vision and ideas develop. Winning this award makes me reflect on all the challenges, achievements, failures and fun I have encountered. To have all these emotions gaining recognition is very pleasing and motivating moving forward. It reinforces my drive to keep being unique on my vision of future fashion.

Lewis Clark receives special recognition for his resilience, Gemma has this to say:

I wanted to make an extra effort to showcase Lewis and give him special recognition, the Resilience Award with 'Honours'. Although the whole Year 1 group of Fashion and Textiles have been outstanding with how they have coped and thrived in the difficult times we are currently in with working creatively at home during the Covid-19 epidemic, it’s important to recognise that Lewis’s award is for more than this alone and has been a year long journey.

It isn’t always easy for students transitioning from GCSE style qualifications into a more creative and holistic way of working like the UAL qualification requires, and more often than not, every student waivers and has a little bump in the road at some point in their first year. However, Lewis is brilliant and the perfect example of what it means to be resilient in these circumstances. Lewis doesn’t let adversity stop him from being creative, he engages with the staff and the college, he takes the time to go back and improve again and again when things haven’t quite gone right. Many times Lewis could have chosen to give up or hand in subpar work, but it is his passion and desire to succeed has meant that his has grown in skill and knowledge as a designer, and has created some wonderful pieces! Lewis has continued throughout this year to work professionally, and I am so pleased his resilience has resulted in him returning next year on the year course. I am so proud of Lewis and I hope he is proud of himself too. Well done Lewis.

Lewis’s response:

I've always been very passionate about fashion and there wasn't really anything else I could imagine myself studying. As it was something I always wanted to do I put all my eggs in one basket and was determined that I would study fashion. When it comes to influences I have always appreciated designers who can take a very basic silhouette and make it into a piece of art. I've always looked to what's abnormal and strange, things that the average person might think as "weird" I look for the beauty in it, things like concrete, rocks and minerals, I believe anything can be beautiful and artistic in its own way. When I think of the future for me, there is a few things I could see myself doing, one of which is fashion design, I feel as though I have so many unique ideas and thoughts in my head that a lot of people would enjoy. As for next steps after college I'd like to go to university but long term anything is a possibility. Thinking about my biggest triumph of the past year my mind goes straight to the “Rethinking Fashion” project as I feel as though mid-way through the project I was able to turn it from an average at best piece of work to something I am really proud of, especially with my garment design. If I were to give someone studying a creative course some advice it would be keep what you're doing on your mind 24/7, make sure you're always thinking about what else you could do with it, what you could do to improve it, etc. Everywhere in day to day life there is possible inspiration and references to keep an eye out for. I have to say I was shocked to win this award, I really didn't expect it, however I am very happy to win it. After what I think was a bumpy start at the beginning of the year I have improved my quality of work a lot and I feel as though I doubt myself a lot less now.

We all look forward to seeing the work of these three students as they progress into their second year on Level 3 Fashion and Textiles.

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