As my final year at university has sadly come to an end (although I am pleased the stress levels have decreased!), I think it is a good time to take a moment to reflect and look back at the last nine months. This year has really taken over some areas of my life (whether you realise it or not, it does happen in your final year) and the areas where I have exceeded my expectations should be acknowledged!
At the start of my final year, I had to make a “contract” to myself for the major project – it was a nine months long, and you cannot go through a project that long and not enjoy it! At first I found it difficult to decide whether or not it should just be about retail, but I also wanted a fashion event to be part of it. After the first term, and not really feeling overly inspired or motivated by what I had chosen, I made a brave decision to change the focus of the project.
I changed it to being mainly about Fashion Events and how these can inform the public about an emerging brand and their recent collections. It also included a small retail environment (which acted as the ticket office for the events, by night), an emerging fashion designer residency (studio and workshop areas to support the growth of three resident brands) and an exhibition of the journey in which these resident emerging brands have taken to get to the final collection being shown in the main fashion event. (You can read the full post here and a condensed version here).
Having found a project that I am so enthusiastic about (even now – six months on!) is fantastic, and to me – a great achievement. It has been a huge realisation in what exactly I want to do in the future beyond my university life. Whilst I do enjoy designing retail environments that entice customers to purchase, I am extremely passionate about the fashion events that showcase a brand’s collection. As many university students will know, the most hated question to be asked during their final year is “What do you want to do after uni?” I can happily say that I have an answer that I am proud, and excited about!
Despite the first term at University being challenging and at times disheartening, after Christmas I really stepped up a gear. With the new brief and concept, I was able to knuckle down and start on the planning – this is floor plans and sections. I fully interrogated this whole process and it definitely worked to my advantage. I was extremely happy with the results because it meant that all the little areas of the project (like the bar/cafe and designer quarters) could fit around the main fashion events.
Model making for one particular module was where I found a few challenges. My final model for the whole project wasn’t a problem because the scale was 1:75, and I find that relatively easy to work with. However, my other model was to be made at 1:25 of a specific area of my scheme – half of the main catwalk within the events space. The scale made it easier to make mistakes, and I found myself improvising with dowel a lot of the time, which made it look messy and unprofessional. I think I overcame these obstacles when it came to photographing the final outcome … I had bought some LED strip lights (battery powered) from eBay to represent the event lighting I had designed, and as a result, the photographs looked great and actually really showed off the event space.
An area of the project I enjoyed the most was definitely the organisation of the main event. I got in contact with the three emerging fashion brands I had selected and found out exactly how they would have a fashion show for their most recent collections. Using their answers to form a new brief, I set upon the task of organising the seating and designing the lighting and acoustics of the event space. This consequently informed my sections and visuals which meant that the entire outcome of the project stepped up a gear.
Changing the background of my visuals to black instead of white was a game-changer. Suddenly the suspense of an upcoming event came through the imagery and brought my whole project to life and I forced myself to improve my Photoshop skills to enhance the event lighting some more.
I have learnt more about myself as a designer in the last four months than I have at any other point in the last three years. I pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do, and broke new boundaries to create my final scheme. My Photoshop, InDesign and Vectorworks skills flourished and supported the whole process.
Overall, it has been a stressful yet extremely rewarding nine months. I have learnt more about myself and my future than I ever thought were possible, and I feel confident to continue with the next few stages.
I am so excited !
Why not have a look at my recent inspirations? They’re over here.