Life through the eyes of a Fashion Design student
Final year BA (Hons) Fashion Design student, Sarah Greshoff, tells us how to utilise your flexible timetable.
22 Jan 2019
I’m Sarah, a final year fashion design student at UCA Rochester. I have been a student at UCA for nearly five years, having first completed my extended diploma at the Canterbury campus before starting my undergraduate degree at Rochester.
Over the last three years the format of the days and routine has changed and evolved. Now I’m in my final year, a lot of our time is very much self-directed. We do still have classes to attend and compulsory elements of the course, but much of the time management and how we go about things is up to us.
We’re lucky enough to have a base room in the final year which allows us to work flexibly — the tables are pattern-cutting tables and we have sewing machines and other equipment in the room with us.
A normal day for me starts with the drive to uni, I made the decision to stay living at home in Canterbury and commute to Rochester as that’s what works best for me. The drive takes about 45 minutes and I like to get there for 9.00–9.30am. We never have anything scheduled before 10.00am, so arriving at this time allows for a more relaxed start to the day.
At this point in the final year we have completed our dissertations and are focusing on our final collections. Much of our time is spent pattern cutting and sewing both our toiles (initial practice garments cut in calico) and our real garments.
The pattern and production support we receive at Rochester is amazing, the technicians are incredible and always have a tip or trick to teach you, there’s not a problem they can’t help you to solve.
This term I have spent most days pattern cutting and completing some samples towards final collection.
Another really exciting element of the final year is organising our end-of-year fashion show. Alongside Graduate Fashion Week, our entire graduating cohort have a show on campus once we have completed the course. As student rep, I am a member of the show committee which means I have at least one meeting a week to go over the show progress. This is something that I really enjoy being a part of as it has taught me many skills that will be transferable to industry. For example, we have held model castings in a professional setting, organised the logistics of the show and venue, worked as a member of a team and agreed on compromises to make it the best it can be.
Because our final year schedule is very self-directed it means we can prioritise what we are doing and when. This week I spent a day up in London sourcing fabrics which is a vital part of the course. The flexibility of the timetable allows me to do this in the week and not at weekend when I’m at work. It’s also nice to be able to get out of the studio for a bit and find some more inspiration to bring back with you.
The variety of the final year is so exciting and the freedom we have allows us to use all the skills that we have built up over the past two years of the course.
It is hard work and most of the time I am in uni five days a week working. This definitely sets us up for life and work in the fashion industry.
Because I commute to uni I like to spend the entire day there and usually leave at about 6.30–7.00pm to avoid traffic. This long day allows me to complete most of my work on campus so I am not stressing about getting it done when I get home at night.
I have loved my education at UCA, we are encouraged to be creative and push oursleves. It definitely has a community feel, which means that we really get to know everyone over the three years and the tutors get to know and support us too. The staff at UCA are truly incredible.