I'm a final year fashion design student at UCA (University for the Creative Arts) and I've just found out that I've been shortlisted for the 2014 Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) awards! It's a dream come true and I'm grateful and so excited to get the chance of showing my work at London Fashion Week!
When our course leader presented this year's FAD brief to us, I didn't hesitate to enter as I know what a great opportunity it can be for fashion students to show their work - as finalists, we get to showcase our mini collections at London Fashion Week in February. That's also when I'll find out if I've won!
For the competition, I had to design two outfits and show my design process in a portfolio that I submitted, together with drawings and fabric samples. My collection is called Crystallised Energy and it's a menswear collection inspired by natural processes and the Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka and his art installation Crystallised. I wanted to explore the otherwise unseen, delicate morphogenetic processes found in natural processes, and how a crystal formation could look when applied to a garment. Complex shapes of ice crystals emerge when temperature and humidity changes. Individual crystals are all unique and none of them are perfect - just like people - and that's the beauty of it.
I also wanted to question the norms of men and womenswear - crystal diamonds are often seen on womenswear, but who said only woman can wear shimmering things? The collection examines the relationship between nature and human beings, but it's also about taming the conventional views many people have on menswear and breaking the rules of how certain things should look.
I'm deeply humbled to be chosen to show my work at LFW - it means a lot to me. I'm eager to work hard on the production of my collection so that it'll look as great as possible on the runway. I know that I wouldn't be in the competition without my fashion degree - it's meant so much. It's really pushed me to be the very best me I can possible be, and I feel like I have grown so much on the course.
I decided to leave Finland and come to the UK to study fashion because I know it's one of the best countries in the world to study fashion in. The fact that UCA was located so close to London, the fashion capital, made me want to come even more. I knew that moving to a new country with new people was going to be a challenge that would make me grow as a person as well. And looking back, it's the best thing I've ever done and would recommend for everyone to do once in their lives.
Even though I like the UK, I love Scandinavia. After my degree I might want to go look for a job a bit closer to home, maybe Stockholm - a city I love which is also a great fashion city. My aim is to find a job in a creative environment where challenges are part of the job so that I continue to develop my skills.
Being a finalist in FAD may open doors for a future job, but I don't really think about it too much. I'm taking one day at a time and enjoying every moment of this process. Time will tell my way.