In this project my main aim was to finish off the work I began in the last unit, and to prepare myself for beginning my career after university. To achieve this I wanted to finish my three main collections, but I also wanted to allow time to take on extra projects to build my portfolio and prove that I am a versatile designer. I also intended to develop my brand and prepare the beginnings of a business that I can kick-start after I graduate.
The biggest challenge I have faced in this project is managing my time. I have reached the stage where I have all the skills to do all the things I want to achieve, but this means I often take on every project that comes my way, which leads to me trying to juggle multiple projects at once. This challenge has however taught me a lesson as I have come to realise that as good as I may think I am, there is only so much time in each day and I need to manage my time to make sure I spend enough time on each project, and to complete it to a high enough standard.
I am really proud of the amount of work I have managed to produce over the past few months. In the earlier stages of the project I took on a lot of external projects, but I have always felt it is important to push myself as much as possible. Designing my large-scale piece for the Tatton Park exhibition was a great challenge and even though it took up a lot more time that I had planned, I feel it really paid off. Even though the exhibition was separate from my main project, I feel it has had an effect on my work as the experimentation I did with scale has in turn influenced my other design work.
I have had great experiences of collaborating with people in this unit, from working with Zach to build his new magazine empire, to learning the reality of working on a project and not getting selected after working with Ailsa. I have come to realise that even though it is important to be self sufficient and independent, its even more important to make the most of your contacts, as networking has led to some really exciting opportunities this year that have had a big impact on my work. For instance, repeatedly designing for the Patternmash project got me noticed by Hannah Kirkbride who runs the site, and I can now count her as a valuable contact.
I feel like my efforts of doing all this extra work are finally beginning to pay off, as I was selected for New Designers in London, and I have also been put forward by my tutors for Texprint. Both of these are big opportunities which could further my career and would give me the chance to show my work to wider audiences.
In the last project I worked really hard to develop a strong concept, but this sometimes left my print design lacking as I was too busy thinking about the ‘idea’ behind everything. This time around I feel I have made stronger decisions about design, worked harder with my layouts and really considered what it is the customer wants and what would make my work saleable. I’m particularly proud of my scarf designs as I have put a long amount of time and effort into each design, but I feel it shows and makes a covetable, exciting product that I could easily sell post university.
My next aim between now and the project hand in will be to finish my visualisations and lookbook to go alongside my design work, and to finish them to the same high standard I have created all my other work to.
I decided in the end that it was best to keep my online shop and personal portfolio separate as they are both selling different aspects of my work. I feel I have learnt the importance of getting your work out there and not being afraid to show it to anyone and everyone, as you never know where the next opportunity with crop up. Having my Instagram page and Patternmash profile has been great for getting across to people what my work is about and showing myself to be a versatile designer. Even though I am currently looking for design jobs, I know that freelance design is also an option, so I have made sure that my portfolio is broad and shows off my variety of skills so that I am not just pigeonholed as a print designer for fashion.