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Jessica's work at graduate Fashion Week

Inspired by Shanghai and Hangzhou, exhibiting in Beijing: Jessica Wade's international experiences

10 July 2018

Fashion student Jessica discusses her internship and competitions in China

BA (Hons) Fashion student Jessica Wade, along with fellow Fashion student Rose Brown, has been selected for the International Youth Design Competition 2018, an event which will see fashion design students and graduates from across the world showcasing their work at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT).

‘I feel massively overwhelmed and shocked!’ commented Jessica Wade. ‘To have been selected as a finalist for such a prestigious competition, after the success of the Manchester School of Art Fashion Show and Graduate Fashion Week has left me on such as high. I feel honoured to represent Manchester School of Art.’

She initially found out about the competition through Senior Lecturer in Fashion Robin Kerr.  

‘He’s been extremely helpful throughout the previous three years’, Jessica commented. ‘He recommended competitions that would benefit our portfolios, and with the fashion industry being as competitive as it is, I have always tried to enter as many as possible.

The selection process consisted of sending a capsule portfolio of my graduate collection final pieces, alongside drawings and professional photoshoot images’.

This is not Jessica’s first experience showing her work in China. She previously presented her work at the International Foundation for Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and completed an internship there. Jessica explained, ‘I firstly visited China in March till May 2017 to intern as part of a placement module.

‘This experience also helped me to learn about the fashion industry and how I could work outside comfortable boundaries. There were definitely some testing situations. However, I believe this allowed me to push myself, which I don’t think I would have done as much in the UK.

I then went back to Shanghai in April 2018, for IFFTI Design Competition. I was incredibly happy to be a finalist, taking into consideration the high applicant rate.

Again, I wouldn’t have been able to have the opportunity without my tutors. As well as having a great experience seeing my garments on a catwalk show, I was able to network and speak to people from different companies and universities, which I feel has benefited me for heading into industry.’

As well as preparing her for industry, Jessica’s placement also provided the inspiration for the collection that she will be showing in the International Youth Design Competition.

‘The research behind my graduate collection began when I interned in China at the beginning of 2017.

I took images down the backstreets of some of the major cities, such as Shanghai and Hangzhou. The concept of my images, such as plastics, mops and different types of knits, and began exploring fabric manipulation.

A key concept of my design philosophy is to use handcraft and textile processes to add a sense and expense to everyday materials, and ultimately turn these into luxury fabrics. Therefore, my graduate collection consists of combined domestic materials with high end fabrics, an extensive development of print and textile process and a wide range of vibrant colour combinations.’

Jessica stated that such international experiences have helped her to develop as a designer. She commented that, ‘I was able to see the production side of fashion, and also the full process from designing a garment on paper to styling it on a manikin in a shop window. It now feels important that I got to experience all the minor, important detailing that goes into creating a collection, and I feel this really helped me in my third year.

I believe interning in China has made me a lot more confident going into industry. Due to the language barrier, at many of the events and meetings I felt out of my depth. However, this has hugely prepared me for industry and situations I wouldn’t have felt as confident as before.

I hope that through networking and speaking to different companies, I can continue to travel and experience the fashion industry outside the UK. I have thoroughly enjoyed working in China and I hope I can again in the near future.’

I also hope the competitions will help me gain more experience interning for more brands and eventually gain a design job.’

Jessica will be showing her collection at BIFT in October, where winners of the International Youth Design Competition 2018 will be announced.

Find out more about her work on her Instagram profile, jessicapippa_.