Some of the design industry’s movers and shakers took to the GFW LIVE! stage to talk about life after graduation. Hazel Symons (winner of the Christopher Bailey Gold Award 2016) and Genevieve Devine (winner of the Tu Scholarship Award 2016) spoke about their career highs and lows. Symons talked about her recent to move to Jenny Packham whilst Devine spoke about releasing her capsule collection with TU and how fortunate she has been to be mentored by British designer, Holly Fulton.
Next to the stage was Amy Dunn, who spoke about working as a design assistant at Debenhams since winning the Debenhams Menswear Award. Finally, we heard the wise words of Bath Spa graduate Chloe Jones, who talked about working her way up through the industry since 2012. Having designed for a range of brands (notably Tom Ford and Matthew Williamson), she discussed her move from high-end to high-street, as she is now based on the River Island team focusing on their premium collection. Her best advice? The importance of GFW and networking, stating that her team had hired designers from the event last year.
So what is life like as a designer? The four highlighted the difference between university and working in-brand, which was mainly due to having to conform to a brand’s style. The fast-paced nature of the industry can create stressful environments, and when asked for advice, they emphasised the importance of being open to all opportunities. Things often don’t turn out as you’d expect.
Words by Hannah Stacpoole