As the end of summer draws near, many of my friends are parting ways to seek out their own post-HS adventures. One of my friends, Claudia, has the incredible opportunity to go to school in London to pursue a career in fashion design.
Claudia was nice enough to answer some questions about her personal aesthetic, her new life in England and her future in fashion design. Enjoy!
Lily: So. Have you always known you wanted to be a designer? When did you first start sketching designs?
Claudia: I’ve always had an infatuation with clothing and aesthetics in general. When I was around 14 I started making simple things. If there was a trend I liked but couldn’t afford I’d customize my own interpretation of it, be it a simple modification of an old shirt or something more complex like making a bag. Until this year, actually, I assumed I would be an artist and work in fashion marketing, but when it came time to apply to university I decided I wanted to transition into the actual design aspect of fashion. This is when I started making original sketches and designs.
L: I love that you could make your own stuff. I think more teenagers should do that when they feel overwhelmed by expensive things. What was the actual application process like for your school? Did you have to send examples of your work?
C: Well, being the anxious and nervous person I am, I applied to an extremely wide array of schools. For Central Saint Martins in particular, though, I needed a full art portfolio as well as two full sketch books. Not to mention the usual essays, references and grades!
L: That’s so much! Are you comfortable sharing your work with strangers?
C: I’m actually a very shy person. I’ve never been the one to “like” photos [on Facebook or Instagram] or start a conversation. With my art and clothing, though, I’m the total opposite. I feel like I’m able to express myself and show my individuality through the way I dress and the things I create. I’m super comfortable showing my work, it’s almost like my version of a conversation, if that makes sense. I love when people comment on my work or style, whether it’s positive or not. I think it’s cool to stand out through the way you dress and the things you make.
L: Total sense, your attitude about that is very cool. I love that fashion has the ability to enhance who a person is. Where do you find most of your inspirations for designs?
C: Well, my favorite designers at the moment are Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, The Row, Céline, Rosie Assoulin, Opening Ceremony and Vince. I get most of my inspiration from architecture, nature, bloggers and social network platforms such as Vfiles. The bloggers that I get most of my inspiration from are Ivaana Carpio of Love Aesthetics, Sabrina Meijer of afterdrk , Karley Slutever, Olivia Lopez of Lusttforlife and Clymdraws. I’m mainly interested in monochromatic, simplistic designs. I love neutral colours, earth tones, black & white with tonal greys. Design-wise I’m a big fan of simple clothing with a twist such as an intricate collar or an oddly shaped piece that fits well.
L: You have such an established aesthetic. Sort of reminds me of Alexander Wang, actually. How do you think being in London (!!) will influence your sense of style/self?
C: Well, I think living in such a large city will allow me to access so many more creative outlets then I can here in Vancouver. London is known for its fashion scene, so I think the latest trends will be available more cheaply, allowing my style to evolve.
L: Yeah, definitely. Topshop and Vivienne Westwood everywhere. Are you nervous at all for your move? Excited to finally start pursuing a real career?
C: I’m not very scared about moving, I’m mainly scared about the course load. My biggest fear is not being able to catch up with others in my course. I’m super excited to finally start taking classes in what I love and work towards a real job.
I’d also say for anyone interested in fashion: I think you should build up your closet with basics. My favorite items are my black and brass Alexander Wang Rocco bag, a vintage grey oversized Jil Sander blazer that I found for 14 bucks and my all-white Nike Air Max ’90s. I love them because they go with essentially every outfit.
L: Thank you so much, Claudia, you’ll be absolutely wonderful and fab in London. 🙂
For anyone else who has fashion school on the horizon—I wish you all the best!