March 2013′s Graduate Profile of the Month is Emily Wainwright.
Emily graduated, in 2012, with a BA Multimedia Textiles. She is now making and selling Jewellery & Working as a Freelance Womenswear Designer.
Where are you now?
Aside from making and selling my dip-dyed cable tie necklaces online and in a shop in Leicester, I am working three days a week as a freelance fashion-textiles designer for womenswear in Nottingham. I make sample printed and embroidered fabrics for high-end and high-street womenswear. It is hard work but it has enabled me to continue doing everything I loved doing throughout my degree. I am able to experiment and explore different textiles techniques as well as learn new ones such as screen printing, computer aided design and embroidery techniques. I have already sold designs in L.A and New York and hopefully this will continue as my work becomes more commercial. As well as this, I work two days a week as assistant buyer for a large jewellery and hair accessories company who manufacture and import jewellery and hair accessories from overseas and sell to the trade. I do a lot of trend research for them, creating story boards and new ideas for collections as well as developing sample products and visiting China on buying trips.
How did you get there?
I applied for the freelance position at the end of Semester one of third year as I wanted to get ahead and apply early! I used the Easter Holidays to get my portfolio together as well doing project work. I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave everything until the end of the year which I knew was going to be manic! Tutors are always willing to help you prepare your portfolio for an interview, but I would say don’t wait too late or everyone else will be asking! You definitely have to be very self-sufficient and organised to do a Textiles degree!
What if anything would you have done differently during your time at Loughborough University to help you prepare better for your career/life upon graduation?
I would have arranged and attended print workshops to widen my knowledge and broaden my skill-set as choosing to do Multimedia Textiles meant it was never necessary to learn about print due to the nature of my three dimension, mixed media project, but now I am working in a textiles studio, I have realised having a knowledge of print techniques including dyes, screens and photoshop would have made everything a lot easier! However I am also aware that the degree course at Loughborough has recently changed, and students are now able to tackle all specialisms!
What advice would you give to a student studying your subject at university now?
My main advice would be to get a website and blog up and running as early as possible. Try and keep it updated regularly with information and images of your studio work, not just final pieces. This is important not only for networking at the end of year shows but also if potential employers want to know more about you during your time on the course, its very easy for them to browse rather than you having to send them individual images. Do not wait until the end of third year when you think you will have time because you won’t! Get a domain name and online presence as soon as you can, and take professional photographs of your work using the photography studio facilities at the university. Both of those things really helped me get the most out of the degree.