Archive for the ‘London College of Fashion’ category

Industry Partner Awards: Inspirational Speaker – Emma Watkinson

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It is our pleasure to announce that Emma Watkinson is highly commended in the Inspirational Speaker category as part of LCF Careers Industry Partner Awards, which celebrates all the amazing work businesses and industry people have done with LCF students.

Emma, CEO and Co-Founder of SilkFred.com, a new online destination for emerging designers and independent brands, was nominated as one of the most Inspirational Speakers because of her constant involvement and willingness to share her experiences with students. Emma has shared her incredible personal stories of success, hard work and the reality of having your own business – giving powerful messages and tips to students who want to follow in her footsteps.

Understandably, we at LCF News wanted to find out what it was like to be Emma, so we asked her to walk us through a regular day on the job at SilkFred. Here’s what she had to say…

I wake up… at 7 and make some coffee. I’ll retreat back to bed to go through the sales from the previous day and check over my “to do” list. I use the Wunderlist app to track my tasks and I only pay attention to my “immediate priorities”.

When I get into the office… I catch up with my team – our Designer Liaison, Charlotte (who looks after our designers), Head of Marketing Rob, and Aimee from Customer Service. We’ll talk about promotions, stock and anything sales related. I’ll then catch up with our CTO, Josh and we’ll talk about progress on new features we’re building and any issues that might have cropped up.

 

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My mornings… are always different and it really depends on what we’ve identified as a priority for the business. It could be overhauling our email marketing strategy, releasing a new version of the website, talking about how to improve our experience for customers or going to investor meetings.

What’s important though, is I try to be quite disciplined with how I start the day. I’ll tackle the most important things first and try not to touch my emails until later in the afternoon or even the early evening. It’s really easy to get caught up in “day to day” tasks and not spend enough time working on strategy or next steps for the business.

Lunch… is normally around 1.30pm though it’s not unusual to have arrived at 4.30pm and have completely forgotten! I usually grab something from Itsu or Pret though if I have a lunch meeting or I’m able to get out of the office for an hour, I’ll head over to Ozone on Leonard Street.

My afternoons… usually involve a bit of over-spill from the morning, especially if I’ve had to take a few calls. I try to arrange any meetings late afternoon so they don’t disrupt the day too much but if I’m in the office, I’ll work with one or both of my co- founders. I love working out how to keep driving growth or, even though it can be stressful, thinking about how to handle difficult challenges.

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I’ll go through plans for new designers joining SilkFred with Charlotte and also highlight some potential designers we’d love to bring on-board.

I’ll also go through our social media accounts. Our main sales channels are via social media. We’ve grown our Facebook fans from 3,000 in Jan to 115,000 in just seven months. Currently we’re applying the same attack with Instagram, Twitter and Google ads so it’s important to stay on top of our efforts across the different channels.

Charlotte and I will also have a Diet Coke/ coffee break to get us through to the end of the day!

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I leave the office… at 7pm but there have been times where I’ve stayed until the early hours of the morning. I once slept in the boardroom!

It’s hard to pin down a time I actually stop working, as I’ll work on emails on the bus home (I’ll jump in a cab if it’s late!) and then well into the evening. I’ll spend some time on the phone to my co-founder Stephen, going through the day’s sales and plans for the rest of the week.

In the evening… I’d like to say I make it to the gym, but that’s wishful thinking! If I’m staying in I’ll put on some music, bash through my emails and read for an hour. I just finished reading Last Exit to Brooklyn (brilliant but miserable) and I’ll sometimes read business style books like, Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.

I like to catch up with friends over dinner and wine – I grew up in Spain where I met my best friends and I’m lucky enough to have them here in London. We work in totally different industries (fashion, art, hospitality, marketing) so it’s great to hear what they are up to. We’ll share the thrills and spills of being a twenty something in London. It’s really important to surround yourself with good people and they can help you put things in perspective when things feel a little difficult.

I’m not particularly great in the kitchen so if I’m at home, I’ll just pick something up on the way home (there’s a great Italian café/ deli near my house that has an amazing salad and hot food counter) or if I’m feeling naughty I love getting a burger from Five Guys!

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If I’m having dinner with my friends, we’ll go to Mr Buckley’s or head over to Broadway Market. We also really like Ceviche in Soho. Anything with lots of tapas style sharing plates with a few healthy options.

My favourite part of what I do… is working with the designers, promoting their brands, working out the best ways to sell lots of products for them, hearing about their plans for the future, helping them out with other challenges in their business. I think being independent is a really powerful thing and this is why I support the designers who’ve made the choice to go it alone.

My advice to those who want to follow in my footsteps… Go work for someone else! Try working at a big company, small company or a start-up. Learn as much as possible and always be hungry for opportunities. Nothing can fully prepare you the first time you set up a business, but arm yourself with as much experience as possible. When I finished university I had a very different idea of what role I wanted to eventually take on, it was only through trying different things and working out what was right (and wrong!) for me!

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Businesses should offer work experience to students because… we all have to start somewhere. Companies also have a lot to gain from working with students, especially if the student has been learning about something that allows them to contribute in a meaningful way.

The students I’ve taken on from LCF on placement were… brilliant! They came with a willingness to take on any task given to them and to learn as much as possible.

We would like to say a huge congratulations to Emma for her amazing work, and we look forward to working with her again in the future.

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Neal’s Yard Annual Lecture 2014: Fresh Thinking for a Sustainable Future

Last night’s second annual Neal’s Yard lecture saw social science, psychology and economics bring new perspectives to LCF’s continuing search for creative solutions to the issue of sustainability.

Take one leading authority on social and economic history, a psychiatrist specialising in behavioural addiction and an insightful audience and you can play privy to some very profound solutions to our fast fashion consumer culture.

‘Rethinking how we think and the wider implication of our decisions and actions’ was the underlying thought for the lecture. With this in mind, psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones took to the floor and discussed impulse buying.

While we don’t all have shopping addictions, most of us have been guilty of impulsive purchases at points of stress and sadness. Apparently 70% of people suffering with Compulsive Buying Disorder reported feelings of depression prior to its onset and 41% noted anxiety disorder.

A facepalm is the standard response on getting those metallic animal-print leggings home but do we ever question why we really bought them in the first place? Sometimes the garment just looked good on the mannequin but in such a stressful modern age, sometimes we’re looking for little highs wherever we can.

Bowden-Jones uses cognitive behavioural therapy – the rewiring of thinking and behavioural habits – as treatment for compulsive spending. Stimulus control such as cutting up credit cards and shopping under supervision may bring tears to the eyes or seem a little extreme, but finding more meaningful ways to pass our time and deal with difficult feelings is something we could all consider.

“If you find things that are really good for you mentally, that are really positive for your life, the lives of those around you and are constructive intellectually or emotionally, then that’s the best way to get out of a situation that is a compulsive addiction…” Henrietta Bowden-Jones

Of course there is the issue of inflated supply as well as demand. Professor Avner Offer from the University of Oxford explained increasing affluence and innovation has undermined our self-control. Yes the wealth of shops and convenience of the Internet may satisfy our needs for instant gratification but do they make us happy in the long run?

Apparently not, the ‘Paradox of Happiness’, shows we may be earning more money but overall happiness remains stagnant. Not only does the abundance of cheap, fast fashion mean we have become desensitised to the highs of shopping (once ‘retail therapy’) but we’ve become disconnected from the joys of fashion itself. As a member of the audience said: “women aren’t being made to feel special”. Heavily influenced by marketing and advertising, our impulse purchases lack individuality, self-expression and quality, leading to unfulfillment in the long-term.

“How can we best use our purchasing power? How can we get the most psyche satisfaction out of our purchasing power? Succumbing to impulse is self-defeating.” – Avner Offer

“I like the idea of using fashion to empower women. In terms of self-confidence, there are a number of women who are currently finding fashion an obstacle rather than a pleasure and not necessarily a mode of self-expression but almost something that’s imposed upon them.” – Henrietta Bowden-Jones

The global and environmental impact of fast fashion must be considered but there are also personal benefits to slowing consumption. This creates great marketing and branding opportunities for slow fashion: “craft over mass-production”, quality over quantity and individuality over ubiquity. Dr Offer argued:

“Fashion in itself is a short-term phenomenon and what this means is that radical change is possible…This is one area where consciousness forming can have quite a powerful influence and there is scope for creativity of various kinds, not only the creativity that goes into the garment but also the creativity that goes into the culture”.

Professor Frances Corner questioned whether the democratisation of fashion has also led to its casualisation and is there some way we can reconsider how we dress. While Caryn Franklin, co-founder of the diversity campaign All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, picked up on the tailoring potential of slow fashion and the body-confidence it can provide:

“Could fashion effectively provide an answer where it’s introducing empathy for the end user who isn’t model shaped, who’s individual and who needs to be catered for in a much more thoughtful way than is currently happening in fashion?”

As the fast fashion juggernaut continues to spin, it was empowering to hear so many insightful ideas as to how we can reconsider our individual shopping habits. But perhaps we lost sight of why such action was necessary. Sustainability is bigger than the fashion industry. It’s about humanity, the environment, the future and as one audience member said:

“It’s about people thinking as citizens and not as consumers.”

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LCF help ‘make the world better with a sweater’ for Christmas Jumper Day

Save the Children Christmas Jumpers Save the Children Christmas Jumpers Save the Children Christmas Jumpers Save the Children Christmas Jumpers Save the Children Christmas Jumpers

We’re starting to feel festive here at LCF News, the weather is getting crisp, the woollies are out, and copious amounts of hot drinks are being consumed, so what could be better to get us even more in the mood than Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day!

Once again the charity is taking Christmas Jumper Day to all new fashion heights with a Secret Christmas Jumper sale – a brand-new collection of 30 one-off festive sweaters hand-knitted by Wool and the Gang and customised by, not only a host of world famous British designers, but also 15 LCF students and alumni.

Our talented LCF designers will see their work on sale alongside the likes of David Koma, Giles Deacon, Haizhen Wang, Jonathan Saunders, Lyle & Scott, Pringle of Scotland, and many more, but can you guess who’s is who’s?

The jumpers will be sold on AtterleyRoad.com and because the designers and fashion students have all secretly sewn labels onto the inside of the jumpers, you won’t know who has designed your jumper until you have purchased it. All very exciting!

This year Save The Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day is taking place on Friday 12 December, and all the money raised will go towards helping the most vulnerable children in the world. It’s all for a good cause and whoever’s jumper you take home, it’s bound to be wonderful. Check out all of the jumpers above and get choosing yours!

 

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Fleur of England selects BA Fashion Contour designs

Doily moodboard by Jacelyn Chua, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour Range by Jacelyn Chua, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour Range by Jasmine Hussona, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour Moodboard by Faith-Rowan Leeves, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour Wimbledon range by Shannon Tara, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour Lollipop range by Danielle, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour

LCF’s BA (Hons) Fashion Contour students have been working with Fleur of England to create new swimwear ranges which reflect the brand’s focus on exquisite design.

Last week, the students presented their ranges to founder Fleur Turner who gave her expert feedback and selected which designs should go forward to the making stage.

The contour designers were tasked with considering: How would you interpret the key values of Fleurs’ brand ethos into a capsule swimwear range? They were asked to include swimsuits, bikinis, and resort and loungewear for SS15, considering both soft, unstructured pieces, as well as more supportive designs incorporating underwires and moulded cups.

The students took their inspiration from a wide range of ideas, images and items. Jacelyn Chua, created feminine designs based on the intricacies of the doily, whilst Faith-Rowan Leaves drew on natural elements to inspire her ranges. Have a peek at some of the students’ work above.

The work presented to Fleur consisted of moodboards, fashion illustrations, range plans and research into the Fleur of England brand.

LCF News looks forward to seeing some of the amazing designs realised.

 

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Video: Widening Participation are Green Gown Awards Finalists

Last week, six LCF projects went up against the biggest and best sustainable initiatives within Higher Education at the Green Gown Awards. Carole Morrison of The Widening Participation team attended the ceremony, representing two of their incredible projects: ‘Bags for Life‘ and the ‘Happy Crafters’ workshops at St Joseph’s Hospice.

The Widening Participation team had their work recognised in the Social Responsibility category. LCF also made it to the finals of five other categories – and the teams won even further recognition for their work in sustainable areas.

Here, filmmaker Victoria Burns goes inside these essential projects which really show how fashion can mean better lives.

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1914 Now films launch on SHOWstudio

1914 Now: Film Inculabuna

1914 Now: Film Inculabuna

Four fantastic films that draw together curatorial talents and film making ingenuity today launched on SHOWstudio, bringing to a global audience the 1914 Now exhibition which is currently on at Spazio Punch in Venice.

1914 Now, four perspectives on fashion curation is a film installation which figures a collaboration between LCF academics and other renowned artists and curators.

Curators, Walter Van Beirendonck, LCF’s Amy de la Haye, Kaat Debo, and LCF’s Judith Clark (Course leader MA Fashion Curation) were invited by Alison Moloney (LCF Curator, International Exhibitions Programme) to express a moment in fashion or dress from 1914. Rather than working in familiar museum contexts, they explored the potential of film as a medium, revealing their perspectives on one year of fashion and on fashion curation. To do this, the curators have collaborated with filmmakers including Bart Hess, James Norton, Katerina Athanasopoulou and Marie Schuller.

The project was inspired by Rem Koolhaas’s brief to the national pavilions in the Giardini of the Venice Architecture Biennale Absorbing Modernity 1914 to 2014. Alongside the films is a catalogue, which will be available on the UAL e-store, containing essays from the curators and responses from architectural historians and practitioners, which explore how moments of modernity in fashion collide with those of other disciplines.

Make sure to explore these intriguing and wonderful responses to a moment in time on SHOWstudio.

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Watch the LCFxKering Talk

Last week François-Henri Pinault announced Kering’s five year partnership with LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The partnership includes a talk each year, an annual Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion, and a joint curriculum unit.

Watch the video for a taster of what happened.

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Inside the Industry: Richard Strange in conversation with punk legend Viv Albertine

Image: Argiel del Mundo

Image: Argiel del Mundo

Walking into the lounge at Lime Grove tonight, feels like walking into someone’s living room. The lighting is dimmed, there is wine on the table, and in front of the fireplace sits punk legend Viv Albertine and writer Richard Strange. Viv opened up by reading a paragraph from her new book “Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys

Viv grew up without having any female musician role models. It had never occurred to her that she could play in a girl band, plus she couldn’t sing or play an instrument.

“I never thought I could play a guitar or be in a band. Nobody had seen it before. It was mind-blowing for them”.

Richard was curious about how Viv started as an artist. She told him that it was not seeing the Sex Pistols gig or listening to her ex boyfriend (The Clash’s Mick Jones), that made her decide on this career, but instead a combination of all the small threads put together.

When becoming a member of The Slits (1977), Viv noticed for the first time that the male generation of her time started copying their look, which was revolutionary in the 1970s.

The pair became animated as they started going into the subject of how women should be more daring.

“From my own experiences, as a woman and a girl, we are scared to fail. But you need to fail to be able to stand up again. That is the only way you can be great at something. You have to look like a fool. Anything that seems perfect seems ridiculous. I want to see people make mistakes. You fuck it up, you start again”

Viv has never aimed to be perfect. Punk gave her the chance to feel free, and it allowed her to be herself and to be more adventurous. The only place she liked to buy clothes was at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren´s Sex shop. Fetish wear had previously only been shown in magazines. As Viv argued, it was meant for the male perverts in the government. Consequentially, there were the middle class kids who took these fetish clothes out from their closets and began wearing them on the streets. The Slits got verbal abuse every place they went, but they wore their clothes as a statement. For them, it was a way of rebelling against social norms.

As the talk came to an end there was the feeling that the audience got to know not only the punk artist Viv Albertine, but also the true person that she is. During this hour, she has made us laugh, applaud and feel like we can conquer anything we want.

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LCF wins prizes for sustainability at the Green Gown Awards

Last night saw six projects from LCF go up against nominees from across the UK in the Green Gown Awards, and the LCF team did not come away disappointed.

The Green Gowns recognise leaders, thinkers and innovators for sustainability within university education. Amongst LCF’s nominated projects were social responsibility initiatives from our Widening Participation team, two projects from the Centre for Sustainable fashion, and three further  initiatives which encompass all the ways that sustainability is at the heart of what LCF does.

It was a small but ingenious intervention which secured LCF the winning place in the Technological Innovation category: a timer added to an iron which means that the iron turns off automatically after a period of time left standing. Approximately 50 MA students use the iron throughout their course every year. The energy savings made from just this small piece of tech show the scope for further interventions across organisations.

After the excitement of this success which was the first award to be announced, more celebrations followed as three of the nominated projects were Highly Commended.

Rachel Clowes, an alumna of MA Fashion Futures (formerly MA Fashion and Environment) and Embroidery Technician here at LCF, was highly commended for her role as a ‘Sustainability Champion’ for the college. Rachel has engaged and motivated staff and students to think about their environment and take action – running the Dye Garden at Mare Street, and cutting electricity use at Lime Grove – amongst many other things.

Jessica Saunders, Director of the Part Time courses here at LCF, was recognised for all the ways she has woven sustainability awareness and ideas into the flexible courses; BA (Hons) Fashion Design Part-time, BA (Hons) Fashion Media Part-time, BA (Hons) Fashion Business Part-time. Putting sustainable issues at the heart of these subject areas equips a new generation of fashion professionals with the tools to help transform the industry.

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion secured a further ‘Highly Commended’ in the Enterprise category for their Nike Making App which was developed with CSF, Nike and LCF students in order to enable designers to quickly and easily select materials based on sustainable criteria.

Congratulations to all the projects involved in these prestigious awards!

More about each of our finalist, highly commended and winning projects will be coming soon - watch this space.

 

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François-Henri Pinault announces new partnership between Kering and LCF

Francine Lacqua Editor-at-Large for Bloomberg Television,  François-Henri Pinault Chief Executive Officer of Kering and  Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering. Photograph, Alex Maguire

Francine Lacqua Editor-at-Large for Bloomberg Television,
François-Henri Pinault Chief Executive Officer of Kering and
Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering. Photograph, Alex Maguire

London College of Fashion’s RHS space was overflowing last night as students, press and industry came to watch François-Henri Pinault announce Kering’s five year partnership with LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The partnership includes a talk each year, an annual Kering Award  for Sustainable Fashion, and a joint curriculum unit. More details will be circulated after the student briefing on Friday 31 October by My.LCF email and on MyArts.

Mr Pinault was joined by Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Head of College Professor Frances Corner, and Professor Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, for a panel chaired by Francine Lacqua Editor-at-Large for Bloomberg Television.

Photograph: Alex Maguire

Photograph: Alex Maguire

The talk began with Mr Pinault and Professor Corner outlining their committment to sustainability, before the panel was each asked a question by Francine, then questions were taken from the students.

Mr Pinault and Ms Daveu outlined some of the steps Kering has taken to improve sustainability as a group and within its brands, such as Gucci’s zero-deforestation handbag, Volcom’s 100% organic cotton denim collection, their new Materials Innovation Lab in Northern Italy, a comprehensive library of sustainable materials and the Kering Environmental Profit and Loss Account, a tool which calculates the monetary value of any environmental damage caused along their supply chains.

François-Henri Pinault Chief Executive Officer of Kering, and Professor Frances Corner. Photograph: Alex Maguire.

François-Henri Pinault Chief Executive Officer of Kering, and Professor Frances Corner. Photograph: Alex Maguire.

Frances Corner was asked what role education can play in addressing the challenges of sustainability within the fashion industry, to which she replied that at Primary and Secondary School this is fundamental to our education then when we reach university it must not be forgotten. Cross-disciplinary collaboration was a key element of innovation – mixing chemists, designers, ecologists and creatives to truly experiment. Dilys Williams said that LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion was well placed to partner with Kering on such an ambitious agenda as they have established ties with organisations around the world with a shared sense of urgency to use human creativity to transform practice and culture with style. She said that the curriculum element of the partnership was groundbreaking as it would create platforms which could be shared with the rest of the industry. Mr Pinault too, said that Kering were developing new working practices with they ‘will share with our competitors.’

L-R: Imran Ahmed, Sarah Mower, Suzy Menkes and guest, Jamie Bill. Photograph Alex Maguire

L-R: Imran Ahmed, Sarah Mower, Suzy Menkes and guest, Jamie Bill. Photograph Alex Maguire

When asked which of Kering’s brands would be involved in the project, Marie-Claire Daveu said that all of them would be involved in different ways, and it was useful to work with different sized companies on their approaches. She finished with:

‘I am proud to announce…that the winners each year of the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion will receive an internship for two months at a Kering brand, which for this year will be Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen.’

The talk ended with Mr Pinault and Professor Corner signing the official contract for the five-year partnership.

To watch the film of the talk, click this image to visit LCF Replay

  • Read more about the partnership on Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s blog
  • If you missed the talk you can watch the whole film on LCF Replay 
  • There will be a student briefing today Friday 31 October, which is already fully booked, but the film of that and the student brief will be available on MyArts under ‘Careers and Employability > LCF Careers > Competitions’

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