Amy Thomson is an emerging designer, with a penchant for pink candy floss tones and hand illustration. With naivety working as a central concept in informing the playful pieces, Amy has shown with Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week since graduating from Leeds Arts University and showcasing at GFW17.
Recently, the young designer returned to Leeds Art University, to give a masterclass on her experiences since graduation. To share her knowledge and experiences with us, Amy has written a piece on her career path post-GFW17. Read below to feel as though you were front row at the masterclass!
"I'm Amy. I am a graduate from Leeds Arts University. My brand focuses on fashion as a canvas for art using hand rendered illustrations and surface prints to tell a narrative from a child like perspective. Connecting with the world around us and using muses to inspire characters aims to create a community that you can confide and relate to. I am inspired by telling stories very current to myself and the people around me. Blurring the lines between fashion design and illustration using large scale illustrations and small print designs to create hand drawn individual garments and accessories.
Since leaving university I have been busy working full time to fund setting up a brand. I have been grateful to have been selected for the Fashion Crossover Graduate Talent Program, selected to showcase at Fashion Scout AW18 and had various publications in magazines including Vogue Italia. Which are all aspects I discussed during my talk; how they came about, what they lead to.
So I was invited back to Leeds Arts University to do a talk as a visiting professional to discuss my experiences since leaving university and the transition from student to graduate. I was very excited about this and quite overwhelmed that I had been invited back as I would sit there and listen to talks just a short time ago so for me to stand there and share my experiences was fantastic. Especially to the tutors that have been there and supported me.
I started my talk by discussing my achievements, experiences and challenges I faced at university offering support and guidance to students for obstacles they may face during their studies and after. I think each year you grow and learn your strengths and weaknesses, I've learnt to use these to my advantage. I wished a lot my my final year of university away though all the stress however looking back now I wish I could be back in that room with my talented friends around me, each of us offering support and encouragement to one another as now working on your own can be a very lonely experience.
When I left university I felt very overwhelmed by all the options there are available to graduates and I didn't quite know what direction to go in, whether to try and get a job and if so what sort of job. To build a brand. To further education. I spent a lot of time worrying about the right decision and worrying about what others are doing and I soon learnt that I don't think you will ever fully know what you want to do. Trial and error will teach it you.
I talked about the transition of being a student to a graduate and finding the right career choice for you. How priorities and challenges change from making a graduate collection to running your own brand, setting up a show and creating a collection for LFW. I discussed my experiences at Fashion Scout; how I applied, what they did for me, what I expected to get from the experience, what has come from it and the experience itself. Before LFW I didn't realise how much went into creating a show and how difficult it is on your own, I gave lots of advice, tips and talked through all the small details that are easily forgotten. Time management and self belief is crucial to the survival of working towards fashion week but so rewarding. London Fashion Week was an experience I could never put into words and I have learnt so much that will help me with the rest of my career all thanks to the support of Fashion Scout and my PR Nicola Hitchens.
A strong emphasis in this talk was how to create a presence and a platform to get noticed, for me this was Instagram which began from GFW. When making my collection GFW reposted some work from myself during the process which started to build my profile. Instagram has lead me to number of opportunities and shoots so for me, including Vogue Italia. Instagram has been a very successful tool to meet other creatives and supporters of my brand.I also discussed what press I've had since leaving university and expressed the importance of putting yourself out there not only with industry but young creatives like yourself.
I offered advice to students, my main advice I can ever offer anyone is to be confident and believe in yourself because if you don't how do you expect anyone else to? There will be people in this world who will try to be negative and bring you down, obstacles will set you back and things won't work out. But you can't stop at the first hurdle. To succeed in this world you cannot give up. Everyone will get their change in their own time and you need to take that chance with open arms. Make the most out of every opportunity given.
When I was at university I focused a lot on my graduate collection which I regret not spending more time on my portfolio. My other advice was that to consider the whole package of you, your brand or who you want to be. You may have the best collection but if you have no story behind it, no portfolio your going to struggle. Its about the entire package and GFW is a great way to showcase your portfolio and meet industry that will offer their support and advice.
Other advice included internships, press, meeting people, collaborations and how to build a brand. There is a lot of support, opportunities and platforms available for young designers now to hep them build a brand I think its important students who want to do this don't be dis-heartened but also are realistic, it really does happen over night and its a long process.
I ended with the challenges and decisions I face now, what I hope the future holds and how I hope to continue building my brand.
I really enjoyed meeting and speaking to the students and offering advice to those that are now creating their graduate collections.I spent some time doing workshops and looking at the students work and telling them my time whilst in my final year. I hope I encouraged them and showed them if you work hard you can achieve your dreams, you just have to work out what they are first. I hope this is something I could do again to more students, I enjoy talking to people especially abut my experiences its important to share and learn from each other.
Ensure you keep following us and Thomson to follow her path through the industry.