Hannah Smith

Monday 18 January 2016

Hannah Smith


What have you done since graduating in 2013?

Since graduating I have worked for a few different fashion brands and companies. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I was lucky enough to be given design opportunities to intern or work on temporary contracts at Marks and Spencers, Studio Nicholson and The Row in New York. When I came back from New York I started working freelance, doing trend research and design work for global retail company called Pepkor who own retail companies across UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This led me to meet other freelancers and I started freelancing for small companies as well, mainly in trend research. This year I start doing my MA in History of Design part-time alongside my freelance work.

What were the most important skills you learned whilst studying at Rochester?

There were so many skills that I learnt at Rochester! Most of them were things that you don’t realise you’re being taught – like team work, how to promote yourself, how to have good taste. Also how important the small details and considerations can be in securing yourself a job or in making your work stand out.  It wasn’t just to design and technical skills that I found most important, but the skills that you develop from treating the course as a place of work.

How did Fashion Design Rochester prepare you for industry?

The work ethic you have to have in order to succeed on the course definitely helped me when I graduated. It’s something that I’ve kept with me as I’ve continued in my career so far. Having a strong work ethic and putting as much as you can into your work never goes unnoticed.  As well as this the technical skills we learnt really prepared me for industry and I found I had a good knowledge of production methods and garment construction that really helped me succeed in the competitive start to my career.

Did you enjoy your time studying Fashion Design and in Rochester?

I really enjoyed my time here! It was such a learning experience and I learnt so much about myself as well as the industry. The tutors are fantastic and very encouraging of individuality. I especially enjoyed the wide range of areas we studied, from illustration, Gerber and history and theory. The extent of the things we studied allowed us to really explore fashion which was fantastic. Living and working with other students from different courses at Rochester was also great as it meant you get used to collaborating and you mix with other creative people outside of your medium. It gives you a great sense of awareness of how your work situates amongst the creative industry.

What advice would you give to the current and future students?

I would say really get involved with everything. It can seem overwhelming at times but you have to remember that it’s not forever and university is only 3 years of your life! You really do get out what you put in with this course. Most importantly to enjoy collaborating and experimenting as much as you can as you probably won’t have the freedom to do so once you’re in full-time work. This is the time to make mistakes and learn from them! Most of all I would say to have as much as fun as possible because it is only 3 years of your life, and you only have that amount of time to focus on your creativity and make friends for life that you might not be around as much again.