When I found out I was the winner of the Cotswold Collective Design Competition and won a work placement with Paul Costelloe I was so shocked, the designs made by my course mates were amazing and the individually tailored photoshoots for each different season really brought each one to life, it was an exciting experience. I was initially nervous about heading off to London and meeting Paul and his team however this is something I have always wanted to do so I know how important and enriching these experiences are to me as an aspiring designer. Once I was moved into my new home for the next three weeks I was unsure about what I should expect. Being a part of London Fashion Week has always been an aspiration of mine so the fact that I was excited was an understatement.
On my first day I walked to the office on Gloucester Place anxious but also eager to get started. There I met with Cristina who I clicked with almost instantly and she welcomed into the office and filled me in on what I should expect for the next couple of weeks. For my time with the company I would be mainly helping Cristina and Jordi (Paul’s Design assistants).
During my first week I familiarised myself with the catwalk collection, what still needed to be done and considered and also what was required of me. From day one I was extremely hands on and found myself thrown into the craziness of LFW preparation straight away, I wouldn’t have had it any other way, the fast paced manner of my internship was exactly what I had hoped for and expected from the industry. I was based either at the Design office in central London or the production studio which was just on the outskirts. I quickly realised all of the different aspects which are required to put together a catwalk collection and to show at a high profile event and its definitely not just all about the garments! I learnt about costings, production and model castings. I also got to see the research for hair and makeup that Paul’s team and also the stylist had come up with, which was eventually tested on me, which was a really cool, but a surreal experience!
On beginning my second week, which was also the week of the show, I met Paul and Jordi at the production studio to take me through what still need to be completed so that the collection would be ready for the show on Friday. This was mainly finishing touches like buttons, snaps and a few alterations.
I also found myself pattern cutting and making a toile of a garment, which I then took to Paul mid week and we tried it on a model and assessed its fit and what further alterations the pattern needed, this was a real highlight for me as it allowed me to use the skills I have been developing at University, but also to work one on one with Paul with his guidance was an experience that I will treasure. Being put on the spot like that has shown me that I can handle the pressure and also has given me the confidence to use my ever growing skills. The day before the show was a busy one, we spent our time at the production studio completing last minute final touches and as we moved into the evening we held model fittings and also worked out the running order.
The day of the show was a busy one. Early morning we met at the production studio and packed up all the garments ready to take over to the show venue in Piccadilly. Once at the show venue we prepared the garments backstage and also put together goody bags for our guests. The craziness began as soon as the models arrived; some from other shows. They were straight into hair and makeup and then fittings with Jordi and the stylist.
My role was to make sure each dresser was assigned to a model and that Cristina and myself had explained to them each look and the accessories which went with that look. Then followed the dress rehearsal and soon Paul’s guests started to arrive. During the show Cristina and I supervised the dressers and helped them where necessary. The show was over before I could even blink, it went so quickly! It was an amazing experience and I felt very proud to be a part of something so special. Afterwards it was time to relax and we all went for dinner to celebrate.
For my final week, I was mainly based at The Brewer Street carpark in which the LFW Designer showrooms were held. This week was all about manning the Paul Costelloe stand and meeting prospective buyers. Paul’s family and team were all very passionate about the products which has shown me the importance of believing in what I do and produce.
My time in London has taught me many things. Obviously I have gained an invaluable experience for my CV but I feel that my time with Paul Costelloe has helped me to move forward as a designer and has given me a better understanding of the industry in which I hope to work within. It has also given me ideas on how to approach my final year of study so that it is as authentic to the real world as possible. Aside from all of this I have met some amazing and inspiring people and made memories that I will cherish. The team was amazing, from day one I was extremely hands on and got involved in all aspects of what was happening. Paul, his family and his team were so welcoming and kind to me I felt like I fit right in! I would definitely recommend building up as much experience as possible whilst studying as this can prepare you for real life. Experience and study go hand in hand. At such a crucial time for me in my designer development this internship has given me the confidence to push myself and my skill set even further.
By Jodie Spears
Level 6 Fashion Design Student