“If this all calms down and we return to some kind of normal, we’re still going to be competing for jobs with graduates of previous years with way more experience.”
Lucky enough to graduate as scheduled, Joe’s final year of his undergrad was nevertheless turned upside down by the pandemic. Committed to finishing the course without compromising, he did not cut down on the number of looks to make sure his portfolio would be strong, since there wouldn’t be a digital or physical show. Worried by their lack of exposure, the graduating students of Kingston teamed up with one of Joe’s close friends to create a print publication showcasing their work. “The magic of physical presentation is really hard to replace,” he says, adding that he has a lookbook, but with static images, a lot of the movement gets lost. Overall, the students share a similar fear connected to the current state of the industry. “If this all calms down and we return to some kind of normal, we’re still going to be competing for jobs with graduates of previous years with way more experience.”
During his BA, Joe was lucky enough to have three placements. He first experienced fast-fashion at Bershka in Spain before moving to Paris and catching a glimpse of the hyper-luxury world of Chanel. Working within textiles and couture, he felt a little disconnect. “I don’t know if I like the fact that these dresses cost more than the house I grew up in,” he remembers. Lastly, he spent a few months at Alexander McQueen’s diffusion line McQ, which felt more like a job due to the slower-paced atmosphere in the studio. Grateful for having had such diverse experiences, Joe was able to not only learn a lot from all his placements, but also cherry-pick what he likes and find his own approach to the industry.