Words From The Fashion Wise: Joanne McGillivray

11/07/2013 20:44 | Updated 22 May 2015

Scottish designer Joanne McGillivray completed her degree at Heriot-Watt University in 2012 and went on to win Graduate of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards. She has since collaborated with Marks & Spencer to produce the dress design that won her the award - pretty impressive, no?

Joanne took time out of her busy schedule to share her words of advice to fashion students facing their degree shows...

joanne mcgillivray

What challenges did you face during your final show?

The week leading up to my degree show was hectic. It was the same week as the Scottish Fashion Awards, so I was rushing around trying to make sure the collection was perfect while also making sure the dress I had designed for the Fashion Awards was ready.

I think it's typical that the things that could potentially go wrong always do. I had a model put her foot through one of my dresses which was very stressful and everyone else is stressing around you so it's like a domino effect! But it all worked out in the end - the collection looked great and you would never have guessed the DIY sewing last minute. But I think the biggest challenge is the week leading up to the show.

You have months of preparing the collection and it became second nature to me. I think when you put so much of your time into one project it becomes part of your day to day life so when it was over I couldn't wait to throw myself into my next project. Your degree show is a difficult collection to design for I think, as it's a round up of 4 years of designing and personal development which means there is a lot of pressure to make sure it symbolises you as a designer. However, my graduate collection is a personified version of my design style. It's not how I wanted to progress my brand, but I had the freedom to express myself on such a large scale, it's good to push your designs that wee bit further.

What advice/ words of wisdom would you offer to students about to graduate?

I would say that it's very important for your CV to match the style and type of design you want to do. The best advice I have ever received was to think about what your ideal job is and how long will it take you to get there. Then filter that all the way back to now and what you need to do in the now to achieve that goal. Internships and work experience are invaluable but make sure its right for you and will help you not hinder you.

LOVE JOANNA'S WORK? Be inspired and take a look at these shots from her final collection, you can also follow Joanna twitter here: @JoanneMcGStudio


See all the latest graduate fashion and degree shows here.


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