Gemma Farrant-Lewis

Sunday 15 September 2013

Gemma Farrant-Lewis

What have you done since graduating?
I have had a great start to my career working as both Womenswear and Menswear Designer for 7 years at Joe Baker Design, a fashion design consultancy based in London. It has given me an amazing breadth of knowledge as I worked on such a variety of brands like Monkee Genes, Joe Browns, Gloverall, Russell Athletic and Racing Green taking each one from the initial stages of concept/mood through to design and prototypes. I then went to Burberry to work as Menswear CAD Designer developing trims, beading, patterns and technical drawings.

What were the most important skills you learned whilst studying at Rochester?
Researching trends and being able to adapt them to the collection I am working on has been a really important skill along with the presentation skills I learnt at Rochester. After a nervous start presenting at University this allowed me to experience it and progress to becoming a confident presenter in front of Buyers and Sales Agents.

How do you adapt the skills you learned at university to your work now?
Building collections in the Industry differs greatly from University, more focus is needed on commerciality of product and there are many differing opinions coming from the Buyers and Sales Agents. Being able to use my own experience of tutorials at University and adapting it to a design or prototyping meeting has been essential.

How did Fashion Design Rochester prepare you for industry?
The Fashion Design course at Rochester prepared me for the Industry well. Part of the course was marketing, looking at competitors in the market place which plays a crucial role with each brand I have worked with. Industry professionals coming in to help tutor gave a great insight into the reality of the Fashion Industry. The nature of the course was also fast paced, something I am very grateful for now.

Did you enjoy your time studying Fashion Design and in Rochester?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Rochester. The course was everything I needed to continue with my career and the tutors were always really helpful giving their advice constructively. Being an arts campus I found there was always creativity flowing.

What advice would you give to the current and future students?
My advice would be to gain as much experience as possible, many brands welcome work experience and it is a great way to truly experience the fashion Industry. Also, I believe it is essential to have a sound knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator which are used daily to present collections. Most importantly though is to have fun, there is nothing like having a free reign when designing.

Joe Browns SS13

Pashley Range

SS13 Trend