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V&A to stage free fashion careers event

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The V&A is partnering with the Stratford Circus Arts Centre on a free event to inspire the next generation of fashion talent in the lead up to V&A East, which is set to open as part of East Bank, a new arts, education and innovation hub in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023.

‘Making It: Careers in Fashion and Costume’ will be a free, drop-in event for 16-24-year olds, on February 22, aimed at people looking to carve out a career in the fashion and costume industry.

Taking place at the Stratford Circus Arts Centre in east London, the day will include a series of drop-in workshops, design displays, one-to-one advice sessions, and live make-up, illustration and tailoring demos. Attendees will also get the chance to meet a range of experts, from fashion stylists to streetstyle photographers, illustrators, make-up artists, hip-hop performers, fashion designers, as well as senior members from the British Fashion Council.

The event has been developed in collaboration with young people from Stratford-based Legacy Youth Voice and East Works Alumni, as well as the V&A’s youth collective CreateVoice, and will include presentations of new work by east London-based students and creatives including Fashion Awareness Direct, University of East London and Paynter Jackets, based at The Trampery Fish Island Village.

Supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, highlights will include a workshop on becoming a stylist by leading fashion entrepreneur and celebrity stylist Taslima Khan, advice on careers in costume design from designer Dean Blunkell, as well as a street style photography in-conversation with talk featuring photographers Eddie Otchere, who has captured world-renowned hip-hop and rap artists from Snoop Dogg to Biggie Smalls, and Adam Ali.

V&A to encourage the next generation of fashion talent with free ‘Making It’ event

There will also be sessions on sportswear design by London College of Fashion course leader Claudine Rousseau, who will share her experience in the sportswear industry and the range of jobs within it, as well creating fashion portfolios with designer and lecturer Jane Francis, who will offer practical tips on creating a compelling portfolio to help secure a dream job or a place on a fashion course, and designer and University of East London lecturer Namal Lanka will be discussing ways into fashion, taking through the courses, free fashion projects, training and job opportunities available in east London right now.

Stratford-based fashion designer Jane Bowler, whose designs have been photographed by Nick Knight and Rankin, talks to the V&A’s Artist in Residence, Moses Quiquine, about their route into fashion and how they make it work as freelance designers, while freelancer Catherine Kodicek talks about making and maintaining costumes for the stage, as well as working to budgets and deadlines, and the reality of freelancer life, and luxury fashion design consultant Avis Charles explores creating socially sustainable fashion and how designers and creatives support the development of international artisans and what this means for creating new global fashion futures.

Designers Steven Tai and Sabinna Rachimova from The Trampery Fish Island Village will take part in a panel discussion about e-commerce and its effect on fashion and members from Breakin’ Convention, an annual hip-hop theatre festival organised by Sadler’s Wells, will discuss their style and the importance of hip-hop as an identity expressed through music and clothes.

Maya Bonsor, from V&A’s CreateVoice youth collective, said in a statement: “As a member of the V&A’s CreateVoice collective I had the opportunity to help organise and design the Making It event in a way specifically tailored to young people. It’s a perfect opportunity to come and find out about all paths in the industry and to ignite new ideas and inspiration. The experience has been valuable to me as I have been able to feed in my own inspirations and use this as an opportunity to learn new skills of my own intended career.

"The event is beneficial for people at all stages of their career or for people who haven’t even decided at all, as this is an opportunity for exploration. There are more ways of getting into fashion and costume than just becoming a fashion designer. There’s photography, makeup, illustration, and there are careers for all people of different abilities.”

‘Making It: Careers in Fashion and Costume’ is part of a series of events taking place in east London in the lead-up to V&A East. Opening in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023, V&A East will encompass two new sites – a museum designed by O'Donnell+Tuomey at Stratford Waterfront, featuring a unique partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, and a new collection and research centre designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro at Here East. Rooted in east London with an international outlook, V&A East will harness the power of art, design and performance to inspire the next generation of artists, designers, makers and thinkers.

Images: courtesy of V&A

Making It: Careers in Fashion and Costume
V&A East
Victoria and Albert