‘A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep’

Emme Visits With Fashion Design Students About Plus Size DesignsFrom the moment you were born, even though you weren’t aware of it at the time, the first eighteen years of your life had been mapped out for you; primary school followed nursery, secondary school followed primary and before you knew it you were being channelled into university merely because it was deemed as ‘the next step’. However, in today’s world where tuition fees have skyrocketed to an all new high and with fashion college graduates fighting in abundance all for the same ‘tea making’ job, if you are a budding talented fashion designer unable to afford the fashion college fees, fear not, have determination and confidence in your ability as this could prove just as good, if not better, than a qualification from the London College of Fashion or Central St Martins, whose MA in fashion receives 600 applications a year for 50 places.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of packing away your sketchbooks because you’re afraid you won’t be able to compete with the fashion college graduates, keep them open. Glue your pencil to your hand and keep your mind fashion focused, as although you may feel like you’re the only one walking scarily alone in this direction, little did you know that you are actually walking in the same footprints as some of the finest in fashion. To name drop a few, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan never completed school, Mark Jacobs was a stock boy in a clothing store, Michael Kors an actor turned sales assistant and Alexander McQueen who earned the British Fashion Council’s British Designer of the Year award four times started his journey into fashion as a tailor’s apprentice. Additionally, if you’re reading this and thinking it’s too late to turn back on the road you’ve been driving down, even if this is the Pan-American Highway, you can turn around now. Vivienne Westwood, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to women’s fashion, qualified as a primary school teacher before turning to fashion without any formal training.

If you’re still in need of an inspirational figure that will prevent you from packaging up your sewing machine and storing it away in the unknown dusty depths of the attic, then look to Stella McCartney. Last week, McCartney was awarded Designer Brand and Designer of the year at this year’s British Fashion Awards, yet remarkably and unbelievably, McCartney was informed by a previous employer that she would fail in owning her own fashion label. Whose laughing now.

Hopefully by now, the inner fashion designer within you has been reawakened, and whilst I am in no way suggesting that you should reject your acceptance to CSM, if you do happen to find yourself without a place at a prestigious fashion college, it is both inspiring and motivational to know that some of the most renowned names and faces in fashion really started out selling clothes in their parents’ Long Island basement, just like Michael Kors himself.

By Hattie Lee

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