Jessica Mort is Central Saint Martins’ recent graduate, who has blown our mind with her sleek and colourful graduate collection! Jessica had received a prestigious LVMH Scholarship to help her with the final collection, and indeed, the LVHM’s investment has fully paid off as Mort has proved that she is super talented, and it showed in her work. She studied print, but didn’t use it. Instead, she used an intricately developed fabrics, with which she “just messed around”, to trick the mind into believing that it is print!
1Granary would like to thank Jessica Mort for a fun interview and we wish her all the best! Check out her website: http://jessicamort.com/
Tell us about yourself: where are you from, how old, what is your background and how did you get into Central Saint Martins?
I am 24 years old and originally from the Wirral, which is a small place near Liverpool. I’ve lived in London now since i was 18- i moved here to do my Art foundation at London College of Fashion. I know it sounds cliched but there was never anything else i wanted to do other than to study fashion and go to Central St. Martins, i feel really lucky that i’ve always had such a firm goal and have known exactly what i want to do. So, needless to say when i didn’t get into CSM first time round i was disappointed! Instead, i took up a place at London College of Fashion but never felt satisfied or like i was in the right place. After a year, my Mum encouraged me to just take my portfolio along to Charing Cross one day and to just try and get some tutors to look at my work, which they did and luckily i got a place on the Fashion Print course. Being pushed by Mum to do that taught me a massive lesson and i’ll always be grateful to her for making me go along that day with my work.
I’m not sure why fashion, as i said it’s just what i’ve wanted to do for as long as i can remember. At the age of 12 i moved schools to a grammar school where there was an option to do ‘Design Textiles’ which taught basic pattern cutting, sewing, materials etc. I gather it is quite unusual to have this sort of a subject at school and i continued it up to A-Levels- perhaps moving schools spurred me on to want to study fashion, i don’t know!
Around this time I did a short course called ‘Fashion Design for 16-18 year olds’ when i was 15 at the old Charing Cross campus and knew this is where i wanted to go. I was dying to move to London too.
It didn’t occur to me if it was a competitive industry when i was 12, infact it wasn’t until i got to Uni that i realised how tough it was.
Describe these past few years at CSM? And how was your final year?
My time at CSM has been amazing! I think not getting in first time round made me really appreciate how lucky i was to be studying there, so many people would love that opportunity and you’ve just got to put your all into it.
Final year was the best year of my degree and i’m surprised how smoothly it all seemed to go when i was anticipating there being a lot of problems! At the beginning of the year i was selected for a Scholarship from LVMH which undoubtedly was a huge help for my final year and allowed me to not have a weekend job, but to focus all my time and energy on my collection. Being able to spend the whole year working on this one collection that’s all yours is such a luxury- it’s so rewarding and exciting.
How was your sandwich year, where did you do your internships and what were the most valuable things you have learnt?
Well i went into sandwich year not knowing i would get a scholarship so spent 6 months of it living at home and working full time to fund my collection! Before that i managed to fit in 3 months at Christopher Kane and 3 months at Diane Von Furstenberg. I learnt alot about the generation of a collection as a whole and just had the best time living in New York and discovering a new city.
Please tell us about your final collection. Inspiration, techniques
My collection came about after me messing about with fabrics in my bedroom. I started to pull threads out of scraps of fabric and really liked the effect it gave. At the same time i started to research and became inspired by imagery from protests against the Vietnam war in the 70′s and by the way people wore their clothes day to day. I wanted to reference psychadaelia and camouflage in a contemporary way. Although i am a print student, i prefer to find alterative ways to create patterns and texture on fabric, with this drawn thread technique, i was able to create undulating, optical, 3D patterns on the fabric and i built my collection around this whilst keeping the silhouettes clean as not to look too retro.What were the doubts and main difficulties during the whole process?
There where constant doubts- having spent so long submerged in my collection, i found i stopped actually ‘seeing’ what i was doing and i started to find it hard to decide if what i was doing was actually any good. It really helped having a few people at uni whose opinions i trust and whose work i love so i could get an outside perspective.
The main difficulties where to do with the making of the fabric. To pull the threads out of a piece of fabric of about an A2 piece of paper took one person a whole day if they worked solidly, this would be enough fabric to cover one sleeve or a front of a top. My collection was so labour intensive, at times i worried i wouldn’t get the threads pulled in time to enable me to start making the actual clothes out of them. Getting the fabric to work as actual garments and not falling apart when cut was another challenge which meant lots of sampling until i found a process which worked.
What would you advice to the soon to be final years?
Work really hard and savour every moment.
What would you put into the survival kit?
Lemsip! And good music.
What did it feel like during the final show?
Being backstage at the show and seeing your looks go out one by one on the television screen felt amazing but it’s over so quickly!
What is on your playlist? What (why) did you choose to be your song for the show?
A bit of everything but mostly Beyonce! I couldn’t decide on a song for the show so i asked my friends boyfriend who is a musician to suggest some stuff. When i searched the songs on youtube i came across a song called ’212′ by Azealia Banks which had perhaps two thousand views at the time. I hadn’t heard of her or the song before but immediately loved it. Anyway, you have to pick your show music weeks before the actual show and just after i submitted the song i started hearing it everywhere! By the time the show came round it was a full-on summer anthem and i think everyone was sick of hearing it.
What is for the future?
Straight after finishing uni i started a paid internship at Celine which i am still doing and am really enjoying. I have a place on the MA at CSM starting later this year but anticipate not being able to take it because i can’t afford it! Hopefully i can sort something out before then.
In three words, how would you describe your whole CSM experience?
Full of opportunity