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Work placement reflections

Monday 4 April 2016

Work placement reflections

During year 2, Fashion Design Rochester students get an opportunity to do a work placement unit as part of their studies. This year, students went for wide variety of companies: luxury brands such as Erdem, Emilio De La Moreno & Haizhen Wang, high-street retailers such as LK Bennett and Karen Millen, and some new small designers such as Liam Hodges & Richard Malone. From this year we have extended the time period for the students to complete this option, the timing of this has allowed them to truly experience the world of Fashion at its most hectic in the build up to London Fashion week.

We asked few students to reflect on their experience.


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Huggy Devchand

Where were you doing your placement?

British luxury goods company and haute couture fashion house Ralph & Russo, based in London’s Mayfair.

Describe your role and key responsibilities

I was the fabric departments intern, my main role was to be in charge and oversee all the fabric deliveries to and from the atelier studio. This meant cataloging and packaging all in and out going deliveries. Labelling them and sorting them into piles ready to be sorted and put into the archives later.

What is the most interesting thing about the industry you have learnt?

The vast amount of money being put into a label at every stage, for just one collection. It’s not a simple task and there has to be a small army of people working on a multitude of tasks to produce this one show. I found it very interesting how certain tasks are given to others to create one idea.

Has this experience affected your future career aspirations? 

Definitely, I never thought womenswear would excite me but I found I thrived off the creativity. In addition, it has also made me keener to investigate options for working within the high street sector as I find high end fashion wasn’t what I thought it would be.

What was the most valuable skill you have learned during this placement?

I’ve learnt that there is a much less glamorous side to fashion design, one where you have to work very hard to succeed, but also know the right people in the right places. However, the most valuable skill would be how to organise a business and run one. Now when thinking of starting my own label, I will have a better idea of how to run it.


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Sian Colley

Where were you doing your placement?

I did my placement at Erdem who shows at London Fashion Week. His studio is based in East London.

Describe your role and key responsibilities

My key role throughout the internship was costings. This meant that I had to work out how much fabric would be needed for each garment, for both the commercial styles and the looks for the show. Another responsibility was to make the packages to send out to the factories for the samples to be made. I had to cut the right amount of fabric and get all the trims for that garment. A few other responsibilities included collecting packages from reception, running errands and tracing a patterns.

What is the most interesting thing about the industry you have learnt?

The most interesting thing I learnt about industry is how a well established company is run. It was also interesting to see how the different departments all work together and if one department is behind it has a knock on effect on all of the other departments.

Has this experience affected your future career aspirations?

Yes, this experience has affected my future career aspirations as it has made me convinced that I would like to work in the fashion industry.

What was the most valuable skill you have learned during this placement?

The most valuable skill which I have learnt during placement was to work extremely well under pressure and as a team member to get things completed.

What was the highlight of your time on placement?

The highlight of my time at Erdem was definitely the show as it was so rewarding to see how all of the hard work had paid off to complete such an amazing collection. It was also very rewarding to see Erdem himself so happy after the show. Another highlight was the after party as it was a good way to celebrate all the hard work.


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Chloe Atkinson

Where were you doing your placement?

I interned for Giles Deacon who is based in Shoreditch.

Describe your role and key responsibilities

As an intern at Giles, I had many responsibilities. After a couple weeks, the team began to really rely on me. I was mostly pattern cutting, amending patterns, adding adjustments, tracing off and also cutting out samples. Running errands was a daily occurrence because the brand is so popular with magazines and stylists. As I began to get to know the brand, I could recognise past and recent collections and with this the Giles PR team gave me the responsibility to prepare garments for delivery. I spent most mornings going through the archive and sorting out the correct garments ready to be taken to their shoot.

What is the most interesting thing about the industry you have learnt?

During my placement, I got to know the team really well, and after talking to them about their time at Giles, I began to realise that several employees had interned for Giles for a year or more for free. It is a very tough industry and you have to work hard.

Has this experience affected your future career aspirations?

Absolutely not! It has made me realise that I don’t think I could work for a couture house but I am so glad I had the experience.

What was the most valuable skill you have learned during this placement?

Giles being so popular within the media, meant I was constantly meeting new people. My placement built my confidence with talking to people, interacting with those who are much higher in the industry than I am and talking to people with a confident attitude. Giles also works with a lot of soft fabric, mostly silks and satin – this isn’t a fabric, I would normally use. So it was a great practice for me to be working with fabrics, which I didn’t feel too confident with.


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Jojo Montague

Where were you doing your placement?

I did my placement at an up-and-coming independent fashion brand Swash London which is based in Hackney.

Describe your role and key responsibilities

During my placement, I was one of the main interns as I had stayed there the longest. My main duties included going off on errands for the company to the factories and manufacturers, explaining changes to the collection and picking up samples. I ended up most days changing patterns and tracing them out, ready for the new collection. Then toiling them up afterwards. Towards the end of my placement I did the costings for the new collection, which I really enjoyed doing. Also focusing on quality control of all the fabrics and garments, making sure they were ready and the right quality before being sent to the factories.

What is the most interesting thing about the industry you have learnt?

I found it really interesting to see how an independent company runs, seeing the ins and outs of the business. It was eye-opening experience to see all the expenses the company had, especially when they focus on high quality fabrics and finishings.

Styling Workshop with Frank Akinsete
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