Here’s another in our series of conversations with Fashion Futures grads. Michelle, 26, from Croydon is a fashion entrepreneur and took part in 2010.
Hey Michelle, can you tell us what Fashion Futures did for you?
Fashion Futures helped me with learning how to use industrial equipment for the first time, as I didn’t have access to that type of machinery anywhere else. I learnt new skills such as pattern cutting and portfolio research. You guys also helped me decide what university I wanted to go to, as I would have never even thought about going to De Montfort University if it wasn’t for talking to one of the volunteers.
How have you given back to FAD since then?
I volunteered at Fashion Futures two years ago and gave help to the students on illustration and their sketchbooks. I also did a talk about how I got through my degree and university life. Doing the talk and volunteering was a highlight – because that’s what I loved about FAD, all the advice that I got about what career path I wanted to go down.
What challenges have you faced breaking into the industry?
A lot!! When I was at college I had issues with my portfolio, I didn’t take it seriously so I ended up only getting into one university and I hated it! Hence the reason why I only spent a year at Manchester Uni then transferred to DMU. Then once I finished uni and was starting up my business I found it really hard to find a studio space in London that was affordable and in a good location as well as getting to grips with running a business and finances. Also I struggled to find the right support as people either didn’t want to help cause it’s quite a niche business, so people with something similar didn’t want to help because they saw me as competition. In other scenarios people wanted to help but didn’t know enough about the industry to give sufficient support.
Tell us about Design ME
My studio is now based in Brixton, we recently moved from Peckham. It’s an open access textiles studio offering textiles facilities, workshops and services to students and the textiles and fashion world. I came up with the idea at uni after the struggles I faced with not being able to use the textile room facilities and having a lot of print in my work. I wanted to give people the space to overcome those struggles and be able to use a space 24/7 as well as getting taught the techniques if they didn’t know them. We offer screenprinting, dye and digital print facilities and services.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to grow Design ME into a one stop textiles shop and eventually get back into design whether that be womenswear or menswear.
What’s your message to FAD supporters?
People should think about donating to FAD because its the only organisation that gives young people the chance to showcase their work on such a large platform as London Fashion Week. They also provide the knowledge and skills that schools and colleges don’t have the right resources to offer.
From the 28th – 5th of November any donation you make to FAD will doubled! From a £5 – £5,000!