There is nothing quite as rewarding as seeing people you know succeed – so it fills me with such joy to have the opportunity to interview these three incredibly talented young ladies who have recently just graduated. When I was in third year, these girls were newbies in first year and now they’re all grown up and ready to take the fashion world by storm! I sent them these question the day right after their Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy Graduate Fashion Show (hmm, that’s quite a mouthful) to ensure that all the answers were honest and the experience was fresh in their memories.
They each produced their own collections –
Angelique’s collection was called Aquamarine, it was inspired by the movement of the ocean and how light reflects off the water. Keri-anne’s collection was called Skulblaka which is from a language in the book series Eragon meaning “Dragon” or “scale flapper”. Kayla’s collection was called Oo La Love, which was inspired by a favourite song of hers by Foster The People.
You’ve officially graduated! How do you feel?
Angelique Gomes: Really tired. I was really overwhelmed by all of the support from everybody and I just keep having to remind myself “Oh my gosh, that was real”. I’m just going to miss everyone so much and I’m so proud of my fellow graduates and all their amazing work.
Keri-anne Haylock: Honestly I can’t believe it, it feels like a dream and that I’m still dreaming, because now I sit think “Okay well, I’m finished.Wow.” It feels weird but at the same time amazing. I’m so happy it’s over, I’m going to miss everyone but I can’t believe that it’s finished.
Kayla Sartor: Now that I have graduated I feel like there has been a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m also incredibly proud of myself for accomplishing something like this and following my dreams.
How was the feeling of waiting in the wing as your collection was being showcased?
AG: I was really emotional because of all of the hard work that had been put into all of the garments just for four minutes of bliss. I was just really proud of what I had accomplished, I don’t think I realised how great my collection was until I saw it on the models, on the ramp with all the lighting. I was really happy about the way everything turned out and I was really happy to see my family there supporting me. Those final moments leading up, there wasn’t any nervousness it was just more excitement and a moment that was bittersweet.
KH: It was exciting, nerve-wrecking – I just wanted to get on the ramp and show everyone “Look, I’m wearing horns!” I was just so excited to get out there and show everyone my work and just be proud and say that this is what I’ve achieved this year.
KS: Waiting in the wing is nerve-wrecking to say the least. I felt extremely emotional because it’s what I have always dreamed of, to watch my collection walk down the runway. I feel that even though it wasn’t on an international level of being on fashion week and such, it was still such an accomplishment as this is the first step in the right direction.
Did everything go as planned?
AG: As the models were getting dressed, I realised that one of my headpieces had actually snapped so I had to do a quick fix, which wasn’t very good but it held up and we just had to adjust the walking pattern of the models so that it didn’t fall off but otherwise everything went exactly as planned.
KH: Yes and no. It went as I expected it too except that some of my embellishment kept ripping off of my chiffon which was a bit frustrating because I had already reattached so much of it. It was just before going onto the ramp that bits had fallen off but I luckily was able to pin them back on. Unfortunately this meant that one of the models struggled to change after but it had to be done.
KS: Yes everything went according to plan and it was exactly how I imagined it to be.
What is your plan going forward?
AG: Ideally, I would love to end up as part of a design team for a mass production high-end company such as Zara or H&M. I don’t see myself as an office person – I love being out in the world observing people and trends and mingling with people, so the dream job would incorporate that. In order to get there I will have to gain experience within the industry until I find the perfect position. I will be looking for jobs and internships and just throw myself into every opportunity I see to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. I will also be travelling for the next couple of months to Europe and the USA.
KH: I plan to stay on to complete my degree and thus have another qualification to my name as well as, if I have a degree I can follow my dream and go live in Japan and teach English. Next year I also plan to open my own geeky fashion range which is exciting, because often the looks I am keen on aren’t readily available in store. I think it’s because I see so much that I don’t like but then I see things online and think if only shipping weren’t o expensive. So I want to make it readily available in South Africa.
KS: The plan is to start looking for jobs in the fashion industry as well as looking at what is available overseas in terms of fashion.
Do you think you’ll stay in fashion or you’ll pursue a career only slightly fashion related?
AG: I definitely think I will stay in the fashion industry, I’m not sure where I’ll land up just yet but I’d love to be part of a design team for a major company like Zara or H&M or just be a designer or a buyer. That would be ultimately where I’d love to end up in the fashion industry so I don’t think I would change the industry that I’m in because obviously it’s what makes me happy and I’m just really excited to see where I land up.I don’t think it matters to me where I land up in the industry, as long as I land up in the industry.
KH: I do plan t o stay in fashion, I love the industry. One day I do hope to open my own couture business but for now I’m going to stick with Geeky ready to wear.
KS: I will definitely stay in the fashion industry – from a young age this has been my passion, maybe not to be a designer but definitely to stay in the fashion industry.
If you could change anything about your three year experience, what would it be?
AG: I don’t that there’s anything that I would like to change about my experience. I chose where I was going to end up and that’s at SVEDA and at the end of the day that was the best choice for me but I’m happy to move on now and I’m just grateful for everything that I’ve learned in these three years, all the friends that I’ve made and just all the experiences. It was difficult for me because I had a bit of a difficult time coping with the work load, and with all of the buying – no one ever tells you how much it’s really going to cost.
KH: I think I would have focused more this year, but I don’t think I would have changed a single other thing. Last year was rough and so was this year for me personally but I wouldn’t change it, it’s moulded me, it’s helped me develop into who I am. I cherish every moment from the last three years.
KS: I wouldn’t change anything, maybe I would have fought a little harder for what I wanted in terms of my collection but other than that there isn’t anything I would change.
What advice would you give to someone looking to study fashion design?
AG: You have to have a really deep passion for it. I say this all the time – it’s not something you can go into halfheartedly because the work load really gets to you and so many students end up dropping out. You really need to be sure, be prepared for the work load, prepared for many sleepless nights and mental breakdowns. Then again, the one thing they can also look forward to is making moments that are truly rewarding – like walking onto the ramp at the end of three years, the feeling of everyone’s eyes are you and the pride that your family and friends feel for you, it’s the most incredible feeling. Yes, it’s really difficult but it’s also really rewarding so if you have a passion for it you should definitely do it.Another piece of advice would be to note that it is a really expensive course, I think it’s one of the most expensive and if you’re going to do it, just make sure that you can afford it. It’s never just your fees and it’s never just the basics, it’s so much more than that. You have to think about buying fabric, zips and hooks and eyes and paper to print your Look Book on – there’s a lot that you have to end up paying for just make sure that you prepare yourself for those miscellaneous costs because they add up. But if you do it, enjoy it and there’s a lot of competition out there so make sure you make yourself an individual.
KH: DO IT! It is not easy, everyone things “Ooh pretty clothes, that must be so easy to do” but no. It is blood sweat and tears, sleepless nights, countless tears and wanting to give up but if you want to do it, then do it! Don’t ever give up and just keep pushing through it if it’s what you want to do. Be prepared for the work, be prepared for the feeling when you see your collection on the ramp and you’re walking down the ramp and you just see everyone cheering for you. Fashion is an amazing industry to be in and I’m so glad I chose to study fashion design.
KS: Advice I would give would be that if fashion is your passion then follow it, it is probably one of the most rewarding experiences to witness your collection going down the runway or watch your collection come to life as well as the fact that everyone has their own personal design style and that no one should tell you that it’s wrong. Fashion is about reinvention and coming up with new ideas even if it does sound bizarre.
I feel so proud to say that I know these young uber-talents and I can’t wait to see them succeed even further. If you’d like to keep up with these gorgeous ladies, they are all on instagram
There you have it, please be sure to show these ladies some ladies and leave me a comment to let me know what you think. Supporting local talent is so important to me, so if you have something interesting you’d love to share please contact me!
Thanks, VB xx