I was interested in doing a design course from a young age. I did an art Foundation after A-level, and my teachers asked if I had thought about doing a footwear course, as the work I had been doing seemed to head in that direction. I looked it up and thought that I'd apply. It was something different and definitely very specialist!
In the footwear pathway, there are about 30 students, which is a good number. We have mass lectures that the whole course attend; it has an accessories pathway and a clothing pathway as well as footwear. There are large lectures on report-writing and all the boring side of the business! Then we have design tutorials, which are either individual or in groups of four. You can pick specific areas you're struggling with and the tutors can also see that you're up-to-date. We're only marked on our final year, where we have to choose the brief ourselves. We have to keep that for the whole year and then we have the graduate show at the end.
I did two placements. One with Lulu Guinness and the other with Olivia Morris. It was really good because I wanted a bit of a contrast. Lulu Guinness is a large company that designs its own shoes as well as commissions for Nicole Farhi and French Connection: I saw the high end and the high street end of the market within that single design room. I was there for three months.
Olivia Morris did the course I'm doing and she set up her own business a couple of years after she left university, so it was really good to see how that was going and how a smaller business operated.
With Lulu I did design-based work. I was in the design room, doing tasks such as trend research. I also got a couple of weeks in the press room which surprisingly I really enjoyed: I really didn't think I would like that side of things. With Olivia, it was a lot more personal assistant work because the company's small, so she does all of her designing herself.
Our final show is in July next year. We have to produce a series of sketchbooks and a series of reports; we don't have a dissertation as such. We also have to produce pairs of shoes. They only want two pairs of shoes from us but I think most people will be doing a few more. You can either make them yourself or you can get a factory to make them.
You do have to know your trends and make sure you're a little bit ahead of them; they like you to have knowledge of what's going to be in fashion during spring/summer 2008, for example. I'm going to have to see how the graduate show goes and, if something comes out of that, it would be great!