Fashion was something I became interested in at a really young age, but back when I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever get very far with it.
Growing up I was inspired by huge designers such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Givenchy. But at that age I didn’t know who Julien Macdonald was.
People always said to me that one day I would be a designer like him, so I started to research who he was – I was curious about him. When I looked at his work, I loved his designs, and hoped that one day I could meet him and maybe even work for him.
A few years later I chose to study fashion design at Cardiff Metropolitan University. But at first I wasn’t sure if it was right for me.
My work is all about making women beautiful – I want to make them feel powerful and strong, but feminine at the same time. When I look at fashion, I look at history, I look at Haute Couture, and see garments as a piece of art that you wear.
Lots of people in my class were more into fast fashion or designing for the high street. That wasn’t something I wanted to do, and I’d never seen fashion that way. So, for a while I thought ‘this is not for me’.
But my tutors helped to push me. They knew what I wanted to do and understood the direction I wanted to take my career in. They never tried to change me to fit into a particular mould – instead they pushed me to develop my talent even more.
During the second year of my course I started working on my portfolio pages to send to industry so I could apply for a work placement.
I saw that there was an opportunity with Julien McDonald, and I said to myself ‘why not’? If they didn’t come back to me then I wouldn’t have lost anything. But I never expected to hear back from them.
The next thing I know, they reply and ask me to send them some more of my portfolio pages, and then to come to London, where they are based, for a meeting.
I went up to London and it all went well. I still couldn’t believe I would actually have the chance to work with a designer like Julien McDonald – but that’s what happened!
What was really amazing was the fact that they didn’t treat me like a student – they put me straight to work on the dresses.
It was the best time of my life. Handling dresses that huge Hollywood stars wore on the red carpet was an incredible experience. I couldn’t believe I was doing it. The people were amazing too – it was really small team but they were a pleasure to work with.
I was able to see how the luxury end of the fashion industry works, including how they create mood boards for meetings with buyers and the press.
When I came back from the placement it made me much more mature, and I feel much more confident in my studies now. It’s helped me to understand how the industry works and I’ve learned so much about all aspects of fashion.
Find out what happened when Cardiff Met Fashion Design students visited New York earlier this year: