University

The Tarot Experiment: September

Tarot has always been a hobby of mine. Although I’m not thoroughly invested in its fortune telling abilities, I find it a really fun way to get my thoughts in order. So on that note, I thought a fun way to document my year on placement would be to throw out an annual tarot spread and see how each card compares to the actual events each month brings.

September’s card turned out to be Three of Swords. This card represents heartache and even more so when the card is reversed. The quote in my tarot guide reads: “Confusion and worry, a great upheaval that causes stress. The healing process has begun, even though you have a long way to go.”

This couldn’t have been more accurate if it tried. Unfortunately, my placement is located a considerable distance away from my previous city, which has cost me a 2 and a half year long relationship. As inappropriate as it may seem to document this detail, I want this blog to be a raw and honest recount of my year – and that includes acknowledging events and memories which might not all be rainbows and unicorn poop.

Regardless of whether tarot readings have any truth to them or not, I strongly believe that the healing process really has begun. Although there may be a long way to go and I’m inevitably feeling a bit sore, I can see through the tunnel to the end of this year and it still has a warm and encouraging fire burning slowly on the other side.

This is a time to get to grips with what I love doing again. Lots of handcrafting is definitely a priority for next month and I’m going to be learning from two lovely entrepreneurial ladies how to build a business from scratch. It’s time to put my best foot forward and step confidently into a new academic year.

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MODA Fashion Exhibition Birmingham 2016

I found out about the MODA Fashion Exhibition by searching for local events – fashion events are usually exclusive and expensive. I was looking for something that I could enjoy and be inspired by as a student, without travelling hundreds of miles only to find that I wouldn’t be granted entry. MODA seemed perfect, it was relatively local, it promised to have 1400 stalls, various seminars and students could attend for half of the usual price!

Even though this exhibition is mainly for business and not for entertainment, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I couldn’t help but marvel at all of the work that had gone into the presentation of the entire event. Each of the four halls used for the event were full of stalls, each with its own personality and marketing strategy. The catwalks were lined with tall elegant screens, depicting the colour and mood of each collection.

As a second year Fashion student, I felt that hearing from experts in different sectors of the industry would help me to find a placement that I will love. So I attended various seminars at the event and each one taught me something different – they all gave me a new perspective on how business should be approached.

This experience gave me valuable insight into how trade is carried out within the fashion industry and into the roles of fashion buying, design, visual merchandising, blogging and digital content. I will definitely be attending next year’s exhibition!

Sheffield Hallam Graduate Fashion Show 2015

GFW 2015

Last night Sheffield Hallam University hosted their graduate fashion show, showcasing all of their Fashion Design BA (Hons) and Fashions Design MDes students’ completed look books, portfolios and  garments. The event was accommodated by Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery and was broadcasted on a live stream via Sheffield Hallam’s website for the first time ever – I watched the live stream and I was kept intrigued from start to finish. The footage is available if you want to sample Hallam’s talent for yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0quTkZBwaWw) or you can follow what everybody had to say about the event via twitter #IamSIA

Jess Eccleston's MDes collection

Jess Eccleston’s MDes collection

It was evident that all of the students had invested time and expertise into their work, treating the audience to a shower of diverse materials, fabric manipulation, cuts, colour palettes and embellishments. Each collection was accompanied by a unique soundtrack and accessories that perfectly portrayed the individual themes and stories. MDes student Suzie Whall captured the essence of flora, seeds and pollen with the creative use of garment shapes, print, a fresh spring colour palette and floral, cased accessories.

Suzie Whall's MDes collection

Suzie Whall’s MDes collection

Fashion course leader David Morrish brought the show to a close and ‘Made In Chelsea’ star Oliver Proudlock chose and announced this year’s winner and runner-up. I won’t give away the results, for anybody who still has yet to watch the video!

The show was a great success, with a lot of effort put into making it happen. First year Fashion Design students, models, photographers, makeup artists and stylists all worked together with the graduates to make sure the show was the best it could possibly be – and I have to say all of their hard work definitely paid off.

A Year of Fashion Design

LineupI began university last year to complete a degree in Fashion Design. I had very little knowledge of anything I should have known, but I figured what the hell, if I was wanting to learn I was in the best place for it. I have recently decided to start a different fashion course – nevertheless, learn is certainly what I did throughout this year! The aim of today’s blog is to outline the life lessons I have taken from my year of Fashion Design – and I hope it might reassure some readers out there that are worrying about their futures.

I only had very basic sewing skills when the year began. During my first semester, I felt like a goldfish that had strayed from its safe and familiar fish bowl, into a huge savage ocean – I felt like I had no chance of making it in the industry and I was wasting time and money. Leaving any comfort zone in search of greater plains can be a gut wrenching thought, it’s a perfect example of a leap of faith. But trying to better yourself is never a bad thing and fear stops us from doing it all too often. By the end of the course I had made a waistcoat with silk lining and a customised shirt, something I could never have done when I began. Trusting yourself enough to take the leap can lead you down lots of new and interesting paths!

A lesson I feel I really need to express is it never hurts to be prepared. CAD software was a big part of the year and I’m a bit of a technophobe so I literally knew zilch about it when I began. Grabbing the problem by the horns was my most successful strategy – don’t be afraid, have fun with it and remember that everything you learn can be used again, so its infinitely rewarding!

I think the most important lesson I have taken away from this year is to take things as they come. I know a lot more about myself than when I started and although my career plan has changed, I feel I had to take the Fashion Design route to reach where I am now. I have learnt lots of important emotional and practical skills and I feel that completing this year has better equipped me for the future. My final tip for anyone in a similar position is not to worry! Life may not go according to the way you first planned, but there are no instructions and finding your own way through it all is a crucial and fulfilling part of the journey.

Interested in Film? Introducing ‘HANDMADE CINEMA’

Handmade Cinema is beginning to flourish! A brand new innovative and unique film club in Sheffield that aims to bring something different to our usual cinema experience – constructing immersive and memorable cinema events to show films in a new and more intriguing light.

Created by Ellie Ragdale and ran entirely by young people in the Sheffield area, Handmade Cinema works with the community to find film themes and cultures they would like to explore. The club then turns this into a project and works together to transform a space. The space is used to put on a screening that brings these themes and cultures to life and marks the completion of the project.  These creative screenings enable the audience to become completely involved with the film and experience it in a more intimate way than ever before.

Volunteers from in and around the Sheffield area help to create atmospheric cinema events in a variety of ways; crafts, film making, creative writing, photography, drawing and animation to name just a few! Or for people who would prefer to get involved on a more part time basis, they also team up with local performance groups, artists, musicians, culinary experts, entertainers and creative minds of all kinds to make each individual cinema event truly unique. It is a great way for students and other members of the community to get to know each other and make something for everybody to enjoy.

In the recent past, the club has produced unique screenings of a variety of films – Up, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Chicken Run, Moonrise Kingdom, The Lego Movie, The Jungle Book and many more. Handmade Cinema is always open to suggestions and ideas for new screenings, so anything is possible! Whatever your favourite genre or personal preference may be, the staff and volunteers will be able to cater to it.

Their latest collaboration was with the new Sheffield-based fashion brand The Creep Store. The brand’s summer line was launched 2nd May with a unique and captivating screening of Mean Girls. The screening took place at Picture House Social in Sheffield, between 5pm and 1am, with the film beginning at 7:30pm. The audience were fully immersed into the spirit of the movie with live performances from Manchester Theatre group Pull Your Finger Out, themed pizza and cocktails, a prom photo booth and after-party curated by The Creep Store featuring special guest DJs.

The two organisations have also teamed up with a range of local entrepreneurs and artists to run a selection of themed workshops, including Corsage Making with Frances & Rose. This unification of two creative talents marks the first in a series of collaborative events, workshops and parties under the name of ‘Girl Gang’ – so there are a whole host of future opportunities to get involved with.

Re: If you don’t go to a Russell Group, then why are you at uni?

This blog is a response to the editor for Nottingham on tab.co.uk – I am specifically replying to his article that is dated 7th March 2015: ‘If you don’t go to a Russell Group, then why are you at uni?’ A link for anyone who wants a quick read: http://nottingham.tab.co.uk/2015/03/07/if-you-dont-go-to-a-russell-group-then-why-are-you-at-uni/

Certainly provocative journalism with a bit of Poe’s law going on, but whether this article was written with a bucket load of sarcasm or if it’s aim was to incite a reaction, I feel it is important to outline exactly why we ‘polys’ attend university, for the good old golden record.

Let’s jump straight in – A quote from the article in question: “Of the top 20 unis targeted by the best grad recruiters, 19 were in the Russell Group. If you’re outside this select group, you may as well not have bothered.” Well, any recruiter that judges a candidate on the university they attended over their grades and content of character doesn’t sound very equitable – they certainly wouldn’t be among the ‘best grad recruiters’ to me. But hey, running in prejudiced circles is worth it right? You’re so employable!

Next, my favourite quote of all: “Poly degrees are the educational equivalent of building a mansion on a council estate: it’ll take time and money and although you might get a nice warm feeling of satisfaction, everyone around you is going to think you’re a complete mug.”  Yeah, we should just give up, we’re all flogging dead horses and there’s no point in trying to compete.  Underdogs have been spun tales similar to this since the dawn of humanity. But there’s absolutely no reason at all that they would be unworthy competitors, unless they start to believe ridiculous analogies like this.

There is plenty more to this article, but I feel this final quote sums up perfectly what the editor is trying to say about poly university graduates: “You’ll leave with nothing but bang average grades and a piece of paper that is as useful in the real world as a Frosties swimming certificate.” Brilliant. I think we can all agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to better yourself and you’re definitely not doing that by belittling everybody else’s endeavours. Russell Group attendees sure as hell aren’t the only ones who can work hard and feel the benefits of it.

I realise a lot of readers may interpret my response as no more than sour grapes or a naïve whine, but I feel that this article raises a lot of issues that need bringing to the forefront. It is no secret that young people push themselves to dangerous and unhealthy lengths throughout their studies, under the impression that they simply aren’t good enough and won’t amount to anything if they don’t meet the criteria for our elite universities. I think it is necessary to reiterate that choosing your path in life based on your own criteria, instead of what a bureaucratic system says it should be, is something to be proud of and it’s very easy to forget that when there is so much unnecessary pressure to be part of elite circles. In my mind, there is no room for arrogant, unhelpful standards such as these in the 21st century.