‘My interest in fashion springs from my interest in art and painting at a young age,’ begins Sophie Whatling, explaining what it is about fashion that first captured her attention. ‘When I was a teenager I realised that I wanted to create art that could be worn on the body as a means of expression and communication. This led me to study fashion at art college and then menswear design at university.’ For last year’s FAD competition Sophie entered a hand-embroidered patchwork coat and oversized knitted jumper and was inspired by Willem de Kooning and Jean Dubuffet, both artists focused on issues surrounding mental health.
‘FAD has helped me develop many skills. The main one being knitting,’ Sophie continues. ‘As I improved my knitting skills vastly, I could enter high-quality pieces to the competition that looked like my designs. With my drawings too, I often draw a lot of stitch details and entering FAD meant I could bring these details to life and learn the different hand and machine embroidery techniques in the process.’
Following the FAD competition, Sophie too has continued her upwards trajectory and, having been working as a menswear intern at Missoni, has just been offered a job there as a menswear consultant. ‘The FAD competition got me noticed by Angela Missoni, which led to the internship,’ Sophie explains. ‘It boosted my confidence and made me believe in myself and my work, which is vital in a professional setting. ‘I’m so grateful to everyone behind the competition,’ she finishes. ‘Without entering I wouldn’t now be doing what I love. I am very happy with my new job, it is really exciting! Thanks so much to FAD for making it possible.’