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Posted 09.09.16

Making our mark in fashion at Plymouth’s Fashion in the City event

By Sarah Packer

Students and graduates from our BA (Hons) programmes and Pre-Degree courses have helped put Plymouth on the map for fashion as part of this year’s glamorous Fashion in the City event.

We joined forces with retailers and the City Centre Company to help run the show, which showcased top designs, new trends and the latest in High Street fashion for the South West.

The City Centre Company also worked with students and apprentices from City College Plymouth and GHQ on this inclusive and fun event, which took place in venues across the city.

The aim of the fashion week was primarily to promote Plymouth as a premier shopping, as well as holiday, destination – with designer labels, big brands and heaps of local talent.

However, our students and graduates were determined to show that Plymouth is also a great place to learn the fashion trade too, from designing and pattern cutting to creating their own collections.

“The aim was to create more of a fashion forward presence in Plymouth and to showcase young talent..." – Georgia Cook, Fashion graduate.

We caught up with BA (Hons) Fashion graduate Georgia Cook following her internship with the organisers of FITC, “It’s been a really good opportunity for me to gain valuable experience in a sector that relates to my degree.

“The aim was to create more of a fashion forward presence in Plymouth and to showcase young talent – it’s been great for me to network and utilise my contacts.

“The event has been hard work with quick deadlines, but I feel privileged to have been part of such a lovely team creating something that we're really proud of.”

Fashion graduate Georgia Cook discusses her role in Fashion in the City to BBC Spotlight.

Jenny Bishop from event organisers Agenda said, “When PCA asked if we would be happy to work with a couple of their top fashion graduates to put the Fashion in the City events together we jumped at the chance.

“Not only do Sian and Georgia really know their stuff when it comes to Fashion, we have found them to be energetic, creative, generous with their time and expertise and, above all, professional.

Our Fashion graduates showcased their collections on opening night as well as in the catwalk show at the weekend.

“It is no exaggeration to say that we could not have put these events on to this level without them. Any employer they go on to work for will be incredibly lucky to have them.”

With enough glitz and glamour to satisfy even the most discerning trendsetter, the event drew thousands of visitors to the city.

“This event really puts Plymouth on the fashion map, not just for great shopping but also as a place to study fashion, performing arts, hair and beauty and art and design." – Jon Walton, Plymouth City Centre Manager.

The promenade Fashion Foundations exhibition showcased the work of local photographers and some recent Plymouth College of Art graduates in a variety of locations across the city centre.

And, as part of their first week beginning Pre-Degree study with us, our Extended Diploma in Fashion & Textiles students were let loose on some of the city centre’s window displays, in shops such as Skechers and Michael Spiers.

Extended Diploma in Fashion and Textiles students putting up their window display in Waterstones.

The students designed the displays as part of the City Window Trail, where eagle-eyed shoppers were able to go on a fashion hunt for the chance to win a personal shopping experience with Debenhams, complete with a £250 voucher to spend in-store.

Plymouth City Centre Manager Jon Walton said, “We couldn’t have put this event on without the students from Plymouth College of Art and City College Plymouth.

“Their enthusiasm and hard work is infectious and they really get into the spirit of things, helping with everything from designing special shop windows, to showing off their own collections, providing beauty treatments and helping make up the models.

“This event really puts Plymouth on the fashion map, not just for great shopping but also as a place to study fashion, performing arts, hair and beauty and art and design. With its lively culture and beautiful surroundings, it truly is inspirational.”

“I've met a lot of great people through this project and it just reminds me how much I love collaboration and big projects.” – Allie Couch, Graphic Design graduate.

Fashion in the City culminated in a two-day catwalk show at Drake Circus, where retailers showcased everything from the new Autumn and Winter collections from top stores to hair and beauty demonstrations.

Hosted by Heart Radio’s Josh Andrews, the show features our students’ graduate collections that debuted at our Fashion Graduate Show earlier this year.

Branding designed by Owen Jones and Allie Couch.

The branding behind the event was created by local designer Owen Jones in collaboration with 2016 BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduate Allie Couch.

Allie describes why she got involved with the project, “All of my involvement with the Fashion in the City project was through Owen Jones, a designer who saw my work online and thought I had a good style and would be worth collaborating with.

"She engaged with the brief straight away and immediately impressed me with her professionalism, creativity and general savvy-ness!" – Owen Jones, Graphic Designer

“I decided to get on board after meeting with him to hear about the project because I knew it was a branding project I could get hands on with.

“It's been a really exciting project and a fantastic experience; we recently had the VIP launch event before Fashion Week started and it was great to see the work we had made displayed before everyone.

Owen Jones and Allie Couch at the Fashion in the City opening night.

“I've met a lot of great people through this project and it just reminds me how much I love collaboration and big projects.”

We got in touch with Owen Jones to find out more about working with Allie and the event, “In Spring 2016 I was approached by Jon Walton from the City Centre Company to lead the creative on an exciting fashion event in the Summer/Autumn.

“I suggested taking on a student or graduate to help ease the workload and give them some great experience.

Allie Couch behind the scenes of the Fashion in the City branding photoshoot.

“Allie’s skills, style, enthusiasm and attitude all fitted perfectly with the project requirements so I called off my search once I’d interviewed her. She engaged with the brief straight away and immediately impressed me with her professionalism, creativity and general savvy-ness!

“We spent a day brainstorming with magazines, whiteboards and cameras before defining 3 different creative routes or concepts for the essence of the event – all of which Allie played a valuable role in – before we presented these to the rest of the event team.

Design by Owen Jones and Allie Couch.

“The route the clients clicked with straight away made good use of her photographic skills and she was again heavily involved in the photoshoot (along with another PCA student, Isabelle Luscombe) – cracking on with photography and other helpful roles while I ran around collecting clothes from retailers and art directing the shots.

“It’s been great working with Allie. I’ve worked with some really good students before, but Allie seems different.

“She has a really vivid imagination – full of creative ideas – but is very grounded and realistic: understanding the practicalities of clients, timescales and budgets as well as thinking carefully about end users and what is appropriate, helpful and effective for them.

Allie and Owen's designs on the big screen in Plymouth City Centre.

“I didn’t need to chase her along for anything, she was happy to crack on with whatever I needed her to do, and her influence on the project can’t be underestimated.

“The clients were over the moon with our work and we’ve had a lot of great feedback. Whoever gets her to work for them will have struck gold.”

The Fashion in the City event is sponsored by Drake Circus with key partners Plymouth College of Art, City College Plymouth, GHQ and designer store Flannels, where the event’s official launch took place with a special Fashion Show preview.

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