It’s only been two months since Catherine Watts left Graduate Fashion Week, with two impressive awards in her hands, after captivating the judges with her childrenswear collection on our SmartFocus Catwalk. Catherine was announced the winner of the Mothercare Childrenswear Award as well as the Dame Vivienne Westwood Sustainable and Ethical Award, and is now working with the likes of Mothercare and Lenzing Materials. We caught up to discover what life has been like since Graduate Fashion Week, her thoughts on the experience and what the future holds for this exceptionally talented graduate.
Firstly, huge congratulations on winning not one, but two amazing awards at Graduate Fashion Week this year! How did it feel when you were announced the winner of the Mothercare Childrenswear Award?
Thank you! When my name was announced as the winner I was very excited as well as proud of my university. I would have liked for my tutor to have come on stage with me because it was a team effort. These awards are the result of my dedication to my work and my tutor’s dedication to theirs.
Will we be seeing your collection in Mothercare stores anytime soon?
I hope so! Mothercare have told me that they are hoping to start working with me in September, and they mentioned something about filming… so that’s pretty exciting!
The childrenswear collections at GFW this year were incredibly cute. What made you chose to design childrenswear?
On my first day at Salford, my tutor asked my cohort if anyone was interested in doing childrenswear and I thought “Oh! That sounds fun, I’ll give that a go.” The further I got through my degree, the more it became clear that childrenswear is the right specialism for me.
Your university must be extremely proud of you! What were the highlights of studying fashion design at the University of Salford?
The people. Salford is truly a special place where students are pushed to achieve their capabilities within a safe and caring environment. Graduates from Salford leave with much, much more than outstanding fashion design skills.
What are you most excited about looking into the future? Where do you think we will be seeing you in 10 years’ time?
Jeepers. 10 years seems like an awful long time! I’m not even sure what I’ll being doing this time next year! In 2027 my children will be teenagers - almost adults. I have no clue where I might be living, or what I might be doing career wise… what I do know is that I will be supporting my family and enjoying my life, whatever skin it happens to be in at that time. Success for me is being a good person and supporting my friends and family.
I’ve also seen you are collaborating with Lenzing materials to recreate the collection, how is everything going?
Pretty great! I was invited to take a factory tour a few weeks ago which was amazing! I absolutely loved it. We are currently working through design choices and sampling to recreate the collection which will be exhibited at The Graduate Fashion Week Houses of Parliament event in November.
What was your favourite moment of Graduate Fashion Week?
Watching my university’s catwalk show, and obviously especially seeing my collection on the catwalk. I loved the energy and joy that filled the room!
And finally, what is one piece of advice would you give to all our aspiring fashion graduates?
Do everything you can, until you can’t. Successful people don’t ‘have it made’ they simply have a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
Here at Graduate Fashion Week we showcase the work of over 1,000 of the very best students and graduates from the most influential and inspiring universities around the world every single year. Catherine is a fantastic example of where hard work and determination will get you. We represent the future of creative design talent, as our stunning award winners prove, the world is full of opportunities that you just need to go out and find. Who knows what might come next for Catherine, we cannot wait to see where she will end up!
Words by Emma Mitchell