How has your decision to start your own business been affected?
Without a doubt, I am still planning to start my own design label. But like any other student, I lack money to run my business. So for now, I am looking for job opportunities and I’m hoping to still launch some small projects on the side to build up my audience. This has been my plan all along, and for me, there really isn’t a plan B.
Samson Leung, MA Womenswear
I want to start my own brand, so I am looking for advice from tutors and designers who already have a brand. However, this is more difficult right now, as I cannot meet anyone face-to-face. For the time being, I focus on drawing rough sketches, thinking about alternative options to work with buyers and dealing with my VISA.
Sun Mu Lee, MA Menswear
“I hope we will all support a more localised production, buy what we truly love and value, respect everyone along our supply chain, resist excessive continuous growth, but, most of all, I wish we can all move SLOWER TOGETHER. “
Starting my own business was not something I planned on doing immediately after my studies. The best way for me is working for someone, gaining more experience, in order to then start independently in the future. My plan has not changed due to Coronavirus, but seeing how small businesses and the self-employed have sadly been affected as a result of this pandemic, obviously raises concerns about maintaining a business. I hope for all the small businesses and self-employed workers struggling right now that the situation improves as soon as possible. This is something that is affecting everybody in one way or another, which is why we have to seek whatever solace we can. For me, this means continuing with my work and exploring new ideas as a way of escapism from the current reality.
Joshua Crabtree, MA Menswear
I was planning on a capsule collection to sell, but unfortunately, most production facilities and even school studio facilities are shut until further notice. I’m not exactly sure how to finish it until everything opens again.
Leeann Huang, MA Textiles
I was never keen on starting my own business as I’ve worked for startups before and I am aware of the extreme financial and emotional commitments that are required. During the MA, you pick up a lot of momentum in terms of productivity, so to suddenly slow down so drastically makes you feel uncomfortable and restless.
Alexandra Armata, MA Womenswear
Starting with the fact that I am not able to have my own space and I have to fully rely on others for whose help I am very thankful for. It is harder to solidify any plans or make investments at this point, without knowing when I will be able to get back home or even see my friends. In a way, it is the best time to build a business as no one is able to distract or stop you from working on new projects at home or wherever you are. You can deal with your “own business”, deal with yourself. Also, we have to work with what we have available right now, similar to when we were children.
Johanna Maria Parv, MA Womenswear
No, my plan to launch my own collection hasn’t changed. I think young designers are needed, because we say what large houses can’t…or won’t say. Right now fashion needs to speak. It needs to be challenged. It needs to pose questions. The industry NEEDS to change. The role of young designers, who have something to say and are challenging the system, cannot be undervalued in a time like this. There needs to be more support for emerging designers and creatives in general as we enter the industry. All of these thoughts are not new, but the importance of our work as young designers has been solidified in my solitude.
Jawara Alleyne, MA Menswear
My plans were turned completely upside down within a week. One day, I was planning to get my studio in place and looking for shelves and rails, the next day, I was on a flight back to Helsinki leaving everything behind and not knowing when I’ll be able to return to the UK. Many decisions have been affected and I’ve had to rethink my future aim and plans such as how and where to start my business. This pandemic showed me the importance of local production, collaboration and being able to cope with change, economically as well as creatively. As a fashion designer, you most often need your own studio, tools, and materials. However, I’m trying to find ways to do it without all the tools, not restricting my creativity – finding new ways of creating, going back to bespoke tailoring, working closely with the client. Fundamentally, my work is about freedom. Being who you are, breaking the censorship around the female nude and making more space for lesbians, butches, queer women and non-binary people. The way I work should always reflect that freedom.
Ella Boucht, MA Womenswear
This crisis, no matter how awful, has become my blessing in disguise. Time is on my side. Time to develop my business plan and to clearly frame what I stand for at a natural, low-pressure pace. I believe strong ideas come to me more spontaneously during tranquil periods and this is what I am experiencing now. As a creative, I need a balance between hard, ambitious work-ethic and clarity of mind to produce my best and most genuine designs. Now is the time to fuse both, and launch my work in the midst of this phase of disarray. This crisis will accelerate the change that has long been coming, and we’ll need to embrace it and get on with it. After the crisis, there should be a push for young businesses to thrive. People all over the world should learn from the COVID-19 disruption and alter some of their behavioural patterns. I hope we will all support a more localised production, buy what we truly love and value, respect everyone along our supply chain, resist excessive continuous growth, but, most of all, I wish we can all move slower together.
Saskia Lenaerts, MA Menswear