Printed Textiles Student Ellie Bennewith offers us an insight into the experience she gained through the Industry Placement Module.
During my second year I was exposed to multitude of exciting roles within the textile industry. Two roles that I’ve explored within printed textiles were working with the team at Fairbairn and Wolf Studio (FWS) and designing in-house for a week with Blendworth Interiors.
I really enjoyed my time at FWS (a freelance studio based in Peckham) not only did I learn a lot about the industry but I learnt what it’s like to be part of a design team and create relationships with other designers. My week at Blendworth Interiors was a completely different atmosphere because fashion is much faster than interiors. The pace was much slower, which, allowed designers to have more time to consider and create stories for each of their designs. I think I preferred the faster pace as FWS, it was ‘mental’ at times but I left the studio proud of what I had achieved. This has really helped me to discover which area of the textile industry I would like to go into. I think, before my placement, I was definitely leaning towards interiors but now I like the intensity of the fashion industry.
This experience has been invaluable to my development as a designer. On reflection, I have developed key skills that will make me more employable, such as, improving my CAD skills and developing a commercial hand on screen and paper. I built on my transferrable skills as I listened to feedback to improve my independent work but also experienced what it is like to work within a design team – an experience which cannot be replicated at university.
I’ve been exposed to experiences that can only happen on placement, like the preparation for tradeshows and getting to assist a client. Through working with FWS I’ve become more aware of culture impacting the concept of taste, as a result it has forced me to work out of my comfort zone and develop an awareness of how the textile industry works on a global scale. This will have a significant impact on my studies when I enter my third year as I will recognise and be able to produce a cohesive collection demonstrating a variety of skills.
Before I started my placement, I had my reservations, I was afraid to start in a new environment with completely new people. But the experience was far better than I expected, I loved doing the Placement Module. After being in education all my life, it was a fantastic opportunity to try something different and have a taste of what life could be like after I graduate. For such a long time I convinced myself that all I wanted to do, once I left education, is travel around the world before the stress of getting a job. Since my placement, my opinion changed, the prospect of getting a job in an industry that I love is more exciting than travelling. Something I never thought I would say!!