Interning at Julien Macdonald
We interview BA (Hons) Textile Design student Kiera Morel about her work placement at Julien Macdonald.
How did you get your work placement at Julien Macdonald?
It was advertised online. I found the internship advert on fashionworkie.com so I applied online and shortly after got an interview.
What was the interview like?
It was really scary! I wasn’t asked loads of questions but they wanted to see my technical skills, so I showed them all of my knitting that I had done throughout the year.
It was quite a pressurised interview as they had a huge show on the day after, but it obviously went well as I got it!
Where was your placement?
It was in Notting Hill, London which was so nice! My parents live in Berkshire so I was lucky to be able to stay with them and commute to the studio instead of travelling from Norwich, although it was still a two hour journey there and back. I was getting up at 6am and not getting home until 9pm!
"Having knowledge of both fashion and textiles is actually a really nice balance. I’ve definitely picked up some transferable skills"
How long was your placement for and what did you get up to?
It was a two month placement. It was London Fashion Week a couple of months prior to me joining so we were working on a lot of client orders that came from that, so there was a lot of production work involved.
Dress patterns were split up into panels – so I’d go in to the studio, pick up a panel and they’d show me the technique if I didn’t know how to do it. I was actually making clothes that had been sold to clients which was really exciting.
Did you know any of the techniques (i.e. cutting patterns) before you joined the team?
Not really, I learned a lot of the technique on my placement. Obviously I already knew how to knit but I learned so many more skills with them that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
For example they do a very particular type of knitting compared to what I do, so it was quite specialist.
What did you find the hardest part of the whole placement?
Although I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone I feel like I picked things up really quickly. I thought it was going to be scary and that they’d shout at me if I did something wrong, but it definitely wasn’t like that at all.
If I made any mistakes like dropping a stitch I’d just ask for help fixing it and they would assist me – it was a very chilled and supportive environment.
The commute is also up there with the most challenging part!
What did you enjoy the most about the whole experience?
That I got to knit for 9 hours a day!
Did you feel prepped for the placement from your time on Textile Design? Were you in a good position in terms of your skills?
Because it was a placement in a fashion studio and me being a Textile Design student I wasn’t entirely prepared for it as the skills I’ve gained on my course are slightly different.
But I’ve definitely learned a lot about fashion and it’s relationship with textiles while I was on the placement.
Having knowledge of both fashion and textiles is actually a really nice balance, I’ve definitely picked up some transferable skills.
What advice would you give a student thinking of doing a work placement?
I would definitely recommend just going for it. I think it’s so important to intern while you are still learning and you have your student loan. It’s a good way to spend your summer.
Work experience was factored into our last unit before the summer so we were encouraged to take these opportunities, I’m not quite sure I would have done it if it weren’t for the encouragement from the lecturers.
I’m going back to Julien Macdonald this summer for another work placement around London Fashion Week which is exciting.
I had just missed out on it last time so I asked if I could come back for a month and they said yes. I’ve made a connection with them now which is fantastic!
Keep up with Kiera’s work on her instagram @filthyknits