After spending three months interning for a luxury label as a print designer, Hannah Zahran is now an assistant print designer at the brand. Having secured her position there after working on the shop floor at Selfridges, she’s now part of the whole design process and her day to day typically consists of anything from initial research to print production.
Given that Hannah was offered the job at whilst taking part in the FAD INTOFashion programme, a lot has changed for her in the past year. ‘I remember I was quite unsatisfied with what I was doing after I finished university and was very deflated. A year on I definitely feel a lot better as I’m working in a job I love.’
As part of INTOFashion Hannah was paired with Aoife Ni Chofaigh, a mentor who previously worked at Ted Baker as a senior designer on womenswear accessories and is currently a freelance accessories design consultant. ‘Aoife has been amazing,’ Hannah explains. ‘Initially I was working at Selfridges as a sales assistant and after working so hard at university, working on the shop floor was quite demeaning for me. When I met Aoife we went through my portfolio and set goals on what to achieve each month. I created a new, refined online portfolio that I could send to job applications.’
Alongside working with her mentor, she also attended a number of the masterclasses set up by FAD. ‘I attended a talk with a speaker from a recruitment agency describing the dos and don’ts when applying for jobs, which I found really helpful,’ Hannah continues. ’I found all of the masterclasses insightful, each for different reasons. It was good to hear where some of the speakers had started in their careers and the struggles that come with working in the fashion industry. That gave me confidence that, sometimes, it’s about perseverance rather than performance.’
While the INTOFashion programme has been a learning curve so too has her current role, and she emphasises that it’s not worth getting stressed that you might not be good enough, and that it’s normal to not know everything. For those currently stuck on the shop floor, eager as she was to progress onto a more design-led field of fashion, she advises that they should ‘apply for jobs and persevere with it every day after work. Jobs and internships come up and they want to fill the roles quickly so if you don’t keep on top of that you might miss out on an opportunity.’
Hannah also advices, when applying for jobs, to ‘keep developing your portfolio so employers can see updated work and different, interesting projects,’ and to ‘do thorough research into the brand you’re applying for or want to work for. Create and design something for that brand so they can see how you would fit within their aesthetic.’