Holly Jayne Smith graduated in BA (Hons) Fashion Design in 2014 and is now back working as a visiting tutor, as well as working on starting up her own label.
Holly talks to us about what she has been doing since graduating, including the incredible opportunity of being selected to show her collection in Morocco as part of a month long scholarship.
Holly Jayne Smith
BA (Hons) Fashion Design Graduate
Other than your MA at the Royal College of Art, what have you been up to since graduating from BCU?
Immediately after graduating from BCU in 2014 I was offered a Residency Scholarship in Morocco which was awarded after being selected to show my BA collection at the Gala Event at Graduate Fashion Week. The Scholarship was funded by the British Council who sent me out to Morocco for a month where I engaged with Morocco’s fashion industry and worked with students at the Casa Moda Academy in Casablanca. I was also given a grant to create a capsule collection based on my time there, which was shown at the International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week in February 2015.
Can you tell us about your debut collection?
My MA collection and research was based on creating a Utopian sisterhood that values Joie de Vive. The driving force behind this research was my own lived experiences of coming of age, and my observations of the impact of social media and commercial industry on the formation of female identity. I wanted the collection to create a sense of joy and celebration, in spite of aesthetic and social pressures placed on women.
Why did you decide to become a Visiting Tutor at BCU?
I always thought that I would end up in academia at some point during my working life however, I didn’t really plan for it to happen so soon after graduating from BCU. After I returned from my residency in Morocco I came back to BCU as a designer in residence, where I was able to use the facilities in return for a day per week teaching. When I was given the opportunity to become a Visiting Tutor, I jumped straight at it, and it’s been one of the most rewarding (and exhausting) jobs I’ve ever had.
What are your plans / aspirations for the future?
I try not to think too far into the future as you can never really predict what is going to happen. I tend to work on a year to year basis, so for now I’m trying to start up my own label and working towards building up a successful business.
How did your course at BCU help prepare you for this?
BCU was really the starting point for me, although the course has changed a lot since I was studying, it gave me the core skills that were necessary to build upon for the future.
What advice do you have for someone thinking of studying fashion at BCU?
I think one of the key things I’ve learnt, from being both a student and teacher at BCU, is that the more you put in, the more you get out. The students who are prepared to work on their own initiative and are not afraid to bring lots of ideas to the table really do get the most out of the course. I also think that the students who are willing to try out lots of different approaches to their work give themselves more opportunities to produce really exciting final outcomes.