An Insight into a Fashion Student: Fay White

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Being a student in any degree is difficult; cue stressful all-nighters working to finish that last page of one’s dissertation; exam-cramming, and nail-biting final presentations. Imagine all of that, coupled with the struggles to finish a garment on time; the preparation and running of photoshoots and catwalks, and the fierce competition to be successful. Just this month, I had the pleasure of taking part in the final collection Graduate Fashion Show of the Fashion and Textiles School, at The University of Essex. Both the dress rehearsal and the show itself were chaotic, with stress-raging designers and dressers cavorting around like headless chickens. But, it was also the most exciting and eye-opening experience.

Just by modelling, I grasped a small amount of the anxieties and drives that the blossoming designers all possess. In that environment, one easily understands how much hard work has been put into making each garment perfect, and how greatly each designer wants their garments to be displayed to the audience in the best possible way. I interviewed Fay White, one of the designers whose clothes I was thrilled to model. I questioned her about what it is really like to be a fashion student, her inspirations, and what next as a graduate:

ASBOHi FayIt was a pleasure to be a part of the showTell us about an average day in the life of a final year fashion student.

FAYIt is very busy and chaoticbecause we are all independently trying to create our final collectionsIt can be very stressful at timesas you have so much to do andfocus onGraduates are constantly either in the print studiofashion studio or the mac suiteworking on digital prints to send off.

ASBO: What kind of environments are the fashion and textiles rooms to work in

FAYIt is very busyA highly creative and positive atmosphereObviouslyart subjects can get competitiveand certain people can get bitchy and more competitive thanothersbut overallit is a happy and encouraging atmosphereWe all push one anothergiving advice and critical opinions.

ASBOIs there much competition in general?

FAYThere can be when we are competing for briefs and design competitionsOverallI dont think we are, at Essex, insanely competitiveIndividuallywe just want towork creativelyI personally focus on what I am doing and what I am acquiringI want to push myself to do the best I canI dont want to focus on someone elses workbecause its completely different from my own and wont help me

ASBO: Did how wealthy a student isever weigh upon how well their collection came out?

FAY:  Nothis misconception isnt the caseYou can spend a fortune on a collection or a little amountand both can turn out looking greatI think it depends on thedesignerhowand what you creatively do with the fabricthe techniques you use

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ASBO: What was the toughest part of your final year?

FAYThere are so manyRelying on othersprint companies or suppliersbecause you are always on a tight scheduleIt makes you feel that you dont have any controlthings can go wrong or be delayedwhich pushes you backtime wiseCompleting all my pieces on time within my six outfits was challengingas all together I hadnineteen pieces.

ASBOYour final collection was centred around the secret male societythe FreemasonsPleasecan you explain your reasons forpicking such a themehow it influenced your collectionand why it interested you so much

FAY: Both my Grandad and Dad are Freemasonsso Ive been brought up looking at interesting signssymbols, and their ‘little blue book’ (ritual books). Ive always beenawed by their beliefs of helping others— they are the second biggest charity givers within the UKjust below the LotteryPeople have misconceptions about what they arewithin the media there are preconceptions and allegations based around the illuminatiSome people are afraid or unsure about thembut this is probably because of theirsecrecy. The organisation is male dominatedand I wanted to function such masculinity into a diverse womenswear collection.

Another reason, is the antiquity behind themThe Freemasons were not formed as a secret societybut WWII drove them undergroundso history recorded them as a secretsocietyMasons within all countries occupied by Germany, before and during the war, were forced into hiding due to their religious beliefs and faithHitler and the Nazi’sbelieved that The Masonic Lodges were a clandestine society, conspiring with the JewsMasons had to hide to save themselves from being persecutedmurdered andbeleagueredHowevernow they are becoming more open to society and coming aground.

I took a lot of inspiration from the architecture and interiors of the Freemason Hall in Londonalso called the Grand LodgeThe detail throughout the building isincredibleThe feature lines, and detailed signs and symbols used in the decoration is symbolic to Freemason beliefs within the BrethrenThe signs and symbols arehighlighted throughout my collection, depicted in half droprepetition and feature pointsI wanted to reflect how the society is becoming more transparentwhilst stillconcealing certain signs to reflect that there will always be some secrets keptI used lining and secret pockets within my garmentsto reflect their secrecy.

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ASBO: What are you plans for after graduation?

FAYIve arranged an internship specialising in Fashion Buying with Fenwick Colchesterwhere I currently work as a sales assistantIm also in the processes ofarranging work experience in fashion buying for Arcadia in LondonId like to gain experience in fast fashion buying and buying into brands for a high-end storetoacquire experience in two different areas within fashion buyingThen in OctoberIm hoping to start a post graduate course at the Fashion Retail Academy in Londontocomplete a six-week intensive course in fashion buyingmerchandising and management

ASBOWhat was your favourite thing about being a fashion student?

FAYThe different briefs and themes we worked aroundI feel as though I have always been able to challenge myself by being pushed out of my comfort zoneto try tocreate a collection using themes I never imagined being inspired byYou can truly be inspired by anything

ASBO: We wish you all the best of luck, Fay!

 Gemma Tadman