A day in the life of a Fashion Textiles student
Lauren Jones is in her final year of BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles at UCA Rochester. Find out what she gets up to on an average Tuesday.
22 Jan 2019
Being a third-year Fashion Textiles student at UCA Rochester means my days are extremely busy, but fun too! I’m currently living in Chatham in a house near the station, with three Fashion Atelier students. It’s great to get to see how other courses work.
My day normally starts around 7:45am, when I get up and prepare to walk the 10 minutes to uni. The views from the top of the hill are pretty great and I arrive on campus at about 9 o’clock.
Unlike previous years, a lot of our time in the third year is dedicated to self-directed study. I’m currently in the midst of making a catwalk collection which is exciting but a lot of work. Because of this, every day is different. I try and make a to-do list the night before every day and then prioritise so I can make the best use of the facilities.
On our floor we have a massive print room and dye lab with three screen-printing tables, three heat presses, a heat roller and dye baths, which we get taught to use in our first year and then build on our knowledge throughout the course. We also have a sewing room with domestic and industrial machines, as well as a digital print lab with state-of-the-art machines, which most fashion universities don’t have.
One of the reasons I chose this course was because of these facilities and the dedicated technicians who are available to help you every day, another was the fact that every student gets their own studio space — something that some universities don’t offer. My space is always full of samples, notes, printing inks and various drawing and sewing supplies.
Today I started out by hand dyeing the satin crepe material I’d chosen for a pair of trousers, measuring and combining the different pigments and adding them to the dye bath.
After getting the right colour and then washing the fabric I go to the year group meeting with our tutors. We have these meetings every Tuesday and Thursday at 10.00am, where we get told about upcoming tutorials, reviews or any information we might need. These meetings normally last roughly an hour and then we have the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with our tutors about our work. These are great when you need help solving any issues you’re having with prints, sketchbooks or fashion designs.
Whilst my fabric dries, I print some digital dye sublimation prints on to fabric by putting them in the heat press, this is a great way of getting a really detailed print on to fabric quickly and in a cost-effective way.
After grabbing a bite to eat, I finally start screen-printing. This is one of the print methods I find most enjoyable, as it’s really hands-on and you can create a whole range of effects.
I drew the design and exposed the screen myself, and after prepping my colours I printed the trouser fabric I had dyed in the morning. I also had time to print another piece for a different garment. The screen is as tall as me so I need to get some help with printing it — but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Even though it takes a while getting prepared for printing, the actual screen-print only takes a minute which is really satisfying.
Normally I’ll leave uni at about 5:30pm, but today I left a little earlier as my friend and I headed into London to see a concert. Living in Chatham means London is only 45 minutes away, which is great for getting inspiration for projects and also letting off steam.
There are also local restaurants and pubs in Chatham which is where I would normally go, but doing something like this is a great way of taking a break from work which can get overwhelming sometimes.
We make it home around 1.00am. It’s been a long, tiring day but I’m excited to get back into the studio tomorrow!