Alicia Brown, graduate of Leeds Arts University and winner of the Boohoo Social Media Award at GFW18, showcased her work to a fantastic response. Alicia captured the interest of the Boohoo team with her innovative concept and her use of the social media platform Instagram to reach a wider audience who can relate to the cause. Find out how what inspired the project, her hopes for the future, and advice for students, as we catch up with the award winning graduate who turned the slogan 'Boy Bye' into a full blown campaign...
Firstly, a huge congratulation on winning at Graduate Fashion Week 2018! What award did you win?
Thank you very much! I won the Boohoo Social Media Award which is incredible.
How did it feel when your name was read out?
At first when Carol started her speech I was sure it wasn’t me, I was sat with my tutor and a fellow student off my course. I turned to them saying 'it’s not me'! As Carol carried on speaking and mentioned ‘empowering slogans from her personal experiences’, my tutor was getting more excited than me saying ‘it’s you, it’s you’, I remember sitting there thinking oh my god it is, I’ve done it! So, when my name was read out my heart was beating out of my chest and I was glad that I had flat shoes on to walk up those steps! Such an overwhelming but incredibly happy feeling.
Which university did you attend, and how do you think they prepared you for graduation?
I attended Leeds Arts University studying Fashion but chose to specialise in Fashion Communication as a pathway on the course. It is a really great and encouraging course with motivational tutors, who cater to your needs to help prepare you for graduation and GFW. They really take the time to sit and go through your work to ensure you achieve the best to your ability, I have never received such high marks throughout my whole education which to me shows I chose the right course and university.
Describe the inspiration and concept behind your work.
Initially, my work was for my final project at university which was to create a brand and a collection. At the time I was going through a break up and my head was all over the place, after a few weeks of a slow start I decided to create something which I could relate to and would wear myself, so my inspiration was in fact my personal style.
I created a capsule collection of 4 oversized t-shirts with relatable slogans on (something I wear on a day to day basis). The collection was called ‘The Anti-Boy Collection’ which I decided to promote using Instagram as a platform. I didn’t think it would be as successful as it has been, but after a few Instagram posts I gained a lot of interest from other young girls like myself wanting to buy the t-shirts.
This then lead me onto using ‘Brand Ambassadors’ as a way to promote the t-shirts, taking photos of the t-shirts worn by your every day-to-day fun loving girl who’s had their heart broken in the past or just generally love the t-shirts. This created a lot of content for me to post which boosted the interest on Instagram. The brand itself is called No.23, the story behind this is in summer 2017 I moved to London to do an internship, which is where I found my love for social media. The flat my best friend and I lived in was flat number 23.
What one thing would you recommend our readers do whilst at the event?
One thing I would recommend, is definitely take all of your business cards! I ran out on the second day. Another thing would be to speak to as many industry people and take your portfolio to them and get feedback, I think that was so beneficial for me.
What do you plan to pursue now, and where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
My plans now are to carry on with No.23 and bring my best friend on board (who lived in London with me) and make a lot more t-shirts to start selling by the end of summer. I am also looking at jobs in the social media field, I would ideally like to work for a brand and do social media content creation / social media assistant.
In 5 years time, I’d like to have a few collections out and selling for No.23 also potentially being sold on online outlets such as Boohoo. Alongside this I’d like to be successful in a social media executive job either based in London or Manchester or even abroad, who knows!
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself in first year, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give myself if I was in first year, would be to push myself further and do more internships as I feel internships have been so important to me to figure out what area of the industry I want to be in.
Interview by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins
Words by Holly Bartley