Alumni spotlight: Steph Hutchins

Picture yourself travelling to the some of the world's fashion capitals... Steph Hutchins, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduate, shares her global experience and top tips on how to secure the role you want.

Why study at Birmingham City University?

I chose to study at Birmingham City University as it offered a sandwich year course and brilliant facilities. I liked that when I visited on the Open Day the tutors really gave their time to students and this was also very important to me.

My year working at Whistles

Since graduating, I interned at REISS for two months. With that experience, I later on managed to secure a role at WHISTLES as a technical assistant. My role involved assisting fit sessions and helping with the ethical side of things - supply mapping and making sure that everything was ethically traded.

Be persistent to secure the role you want!

I have now handed in my notice at WHISTLES and I am about to start working as a Design Assistant at a supplier called Bandana Limited. The role was initially advertised as a internship and after reviewing my portfolio they changed the position into a permanent role.

My work experience in Paris, Milan and New York

I utilised my summer holidays throughout university and applied for several internships including Heidi Klein and Peter Pilotto - a high end designer who took me to Paris as part of their showroom. I gained more experience during my placement year and had the opportunity to intern in Milan and with LF Americas in New York.

I think BCU really looks after you as an individual. From the moment I stepped in the doors until I left in 2017, BCU helped me develop my personal skill set and build my self-confidence.

BCU offers many opportunities and the support you can get there from your tutors throughout the course is massive. They even still continue to support you with your career as a graduate after you leave!

My course highlight

It was amazing to see my own collection at Graduate Fashion Week. Since exhibiting, I have a collection to show and a portfolio to help get my name out. 

Securing my first design role is definitely a highlight of my career. There is so much competition in the fashion world, and having the opportunity to showcase my collection down the catwalk meant a lot to me.

The majority of work at Graduate Fashion Week tends to be quite quirky and dramatic, whereas I followed through with what I had a passion for. To my surprise, I received a job offer right after the show, which highlighted that following my own vision paid off.

Top tips

You have to continue to apply for jobs even if you don’t hear anything back. Use social media or LinkedIn to apply for jobs even if they are not posted – just get your name out there and eventually you will be noticed.

Find out more about the School of Fashion and Textiles