Tell us about your time on the Performance Costume - BA (Hons) programme
I think that the Performance Costume programme is a great opportunity to explore your interests and talents, and then once you’ve graduated you realise how hard you need to work to build on them. The programme prides itself on giving its students the opportunity to explore a variety of techniques and disciplines – some graphic design for design books, some life-drawing, a bit of fabric dying and printing, laser-cutting, pattern cutting and making - but this should only really be considered an incentive to then follow one’s own initiative.
What have you been doing since you left Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)?
First of all I did some freelance work as a costume maker for a young opera company. This was followed by a seven-month Creative Scotland Traineeship in the menswear workroom of the critically acclaimed British/American TV-series Outlander. I worked with the head menswear cutters and makers on the construction of 18th century Scottish and French period garments, as well as occasional dressing and crowd-stand-by on set. The Assistant Designer on Outlander had come to ECA's final year Fashion, Performance Costume and Textiles show (SHOW) and instantly remembered my section in it when I showed her my costumes during the interview.
Following this opportunity, I got to realise the costumes for renowned director David Leddy’s touring theatre production, International Waters, in Glasgow.
What is your biggest achievement since leaving ECA?
Being a freelancer and respected as part of a hard-working team of experienced professionals in the industry, and reaching the point of being taken seriously as a skilled young professional. I love that I get to show work that I'm proud of to people, and that they them to listen because they’re impressed.
What advice would you have for anyone who is leaving this year?
Be persistent: don’t give up and you will find something. People always say that it’s about being in the right place at the right time, so be at as many places as often as you can, and eventually the odds will be in your favour. No one remembers someone who sent them a CV months ago, but they’ll remember last week’s email from someone checking on its progress.
Get to know as many people in the industry as you can. Be realistic about your skills and your abilities, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Get as much work experience as you can – it might not always be entirely relevant, but work hard and be completely open to learning and listening and you’ll build up a diverse set of skills.