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Aurélie Fontan
For Aurélie, studying at ECA gave her the chance to pursue her interest in Fashion where she made the most of the experience, wining first place in a professional project in collaboration with Michael Kors and became a student ambassador working for the university to help with events.

Since graduating, Aurélie has completed an MA at the Royal College of Art and established her own design studio and company. ECA prepared her for professional briefs which she has secured with major companies like Samsung and Netflix.

Why I chose to study Fashion - BA

While completing my foundation year in Paris, I was looking for a school with a cutting-edge approach to fashion, and Edinburgh College of Art stood out because of the teaching methods and environment as well as location. I did not know a lot about the school itself, but I was very interested in discovering a different angle on design which is very different from one country to another. I was aware the University of Edinburgh was very highly rated, and it made me think I could learn more about other cultures while at the school.

My time at ECA

My time at ECA was very informative, we had external practitioners visiting regularly and some industry-led projects. As I entered second year directly, I spent a lot the year getting used to the teaching style and approach to design, catching up on the course structure and how assessments were conducted. During this year we had a great collaborative project with the Graphic Design students which culminated in a catwalk show at the end of the year. In my 3rd year I was lucky enough to take part in a professional project in collaboration with Michael Kors to make leather bags from their leather remnants and I won first place. This allowed me to fly to New York City for a short internship, which was an amazing experience. During the same year I started working with a local science laboratory and submitted my first projects in bio design and fashion at ECA. I exhibited my work a few times with a student-led collective founded by the intermedia department, and I also became a student ambassador working for the university to help with events. Alongside the course there were lots of interesting external activities on campus, and so I joined the Language Café from the Tandem society to teach French to students from the university. If I could start again, I feel that I would try to explore more of the range of activities offered by the college, whether from ECA or the University of Edinburgh, and perhaps visit other courses' studios more often. I discovered a lot of very interesting work while looking at the jewellery and costume departments. It would also have been great to trial some of the other workshops, but obviously, there needs to be time for all of this.

"My time at the ECA was very informative, we had external practitioners visiting regularly and some industry-led projects"

Aurélie Fontan

Fashion - BA (Hons) alumna

My experiences since graduating

Leaving ECA was incredibly sad but exciting at the same time, as I left a community of friends and fellow designers I had great connections with. I felt very proud of myself for completing my studies to a high standard and thankful for the teaching provided. Originally, I was set on finding a job, and I was lucky enough to win 6 nominations at the Graduate Fashion Week 2018. Upon graduation I decided to take a gap year before completing my MA at the Royal College of Art. I established my own design studio in 2018 and my own company in 2020. ECA prepared me really well to be my own designer and answer professional briefs which was extremely helpful during some of my commissions with Samsung and Netflix. It gave me the creative outlook and structure I needed to pursue my own career. I have achieved quite a bit since leaving the College but one of my main achievements was to win the London Mayors’ Entrepreneur Award for my new R&D project and start-up that manufactures biodegradable plant-based leather. This project acquired around over £100k in funding in 2019-2020 and we are very proud to be the first in the UK to pursue this type of work commercially.

My advice to new and current students

First year is a such a great opportunity to open oneself to the university surroundings, so go and explore, meet people, and make new connections. Be inquisitive and maybe try things you have never done before, be it sports, culture, or arts. This is your time for exploring the school and discovering more about other courses.

If you are graduating this coming year, try to form collaborations with students from other courses, this will enhance your current work. Find your niche, what makes your work unique, and don’t worry too much about life after graduating, if you are actively looking for opportunities, they will come to you.

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