Since studying Art and Design in Liverpool Hope University I knew I had an undying passion for fashion. It was my personal mission to return to Belfast and embark on a journey that would lead me to my dream career in the fashion industry. I researched endless courses, with my particular interests swaying from fashion journalism, design and marketing. Being honest, I found an extremely limited number of courses that allowed me to explore all areas. It was very fortunate that one of these proficient courses fell right on my door step at the Belfast Metropolitan College. My cousin Grainne Martin (who has recently opened her own store Savannah) did the course previously and I had heard nothing but good words from her. It seemed to be the most well-rounded fashion course out there. Just as I had left my Art and Design course knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I hoped to gain this same prospective from a fashion degree.
The course is called Fashion Management and it is validated by Manchester Metropolitan University. What I have found from this course and the college, is the belief in student ability is extraordinary. I started the course with no sewing skills and not an ounce of dress making knowledge and there I was sewing up my very own designs and collections by 2nd year. The course also has very strong relationships and connections in the industry which provides us students with a lot of opportunities throughout the course including traveling to The Clothes Show Live, working backstage at Belfast Fashion Week, designing and presenting an outfit to the Douglas & Grahame team and showing garments at fashion shows such as Unify Showcase, just to name a few! It is obvious this insight to the outside industry has benefited the college as the creations gracing the catwalk were stunningly diverse. Collectively showing former students (including Unify designers: Shauna Fay, David Henderson and Keria Ann Marie Phillips at KAM Kouture), current students and all levels of study from the BMC Fashion Department, hear it is, the extravagant and edgy but stylishly commercial, end of year Belfast Metropolitan Fashion Show:
Photography by Stephen Potter.
The first gallery shows student designs from 2nd year BSc Fashion Management students as there is a particular project in second year that generates complex pattern making skills to produce a unique catwalk outfit. I am currently in second year and there is a lot of success that has come out of the class already with Majella Shields being accepted into the Study America programme beginning August 2013, Gordon Donaldson holding the title of Young Designer of the Year credited by Wedding Journal Online and Laurence Fay securing a years paid placement on the Remus Uomo design team. The slide show features images of impressive student collections from all levels of study in the BMC fashion department from BTech part-time and full-time students, right through to fourth year BSc Fashion Management. There has been so much success from all levels of the fashion department so far including current first year student James Mc Crudden being accepted into University of the Arts London week-long course in PR and Fashion. With the success stories building up and the valuable experience in the industry gained by these passionate students throughout their studies, I have absolutely no doubt the future of the fashion industry in Belfast is going to be incredibly promising!