designer / guest post

The life of a Fashion Design student

Ever wondered what it’s like to study Fashion Design? Jade Callan guest posts on Chic to Street about patterns, mannequins and designers.


A design from Jade Callan’s final graduate collection. Image credit: Jade Callan

I still consider myself to be new to Cardiff even though I have lived here for six months. I graduated last year from Falmouth University where I studied Fashion Design. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK but sadly it isn’t very up to date with its fashion jobs.

This meant that staying down there probably wouldn’t have been great for the type of career I want to pursue. Plus I missed Wales so much, hence why I have now moved to Cardiff.

The fashion industry has always fascinated me, but looking past the trends I have always been more interested in the concepts behind clothes and the power of them which was part of the driving force behind my final graduate collection.

My fashion journey was a bit of a bumpy one. I struggled my way through university. Whilst studying Fashion Design I found pattern cutting extremely hard. My lack of the mathematical part of the brain would ensure that whenever I was near a pattern master I would freeze and go slightly cross eyed because I would get so stressed and tell myself I couldn’t do it.

Thinking I was not cut out for fashion design, I scraped through first and second year by doing the simplest patterns so that I knew that I could do it within the set timescale.

“The whole experience made me fall in love with fashion again”

Then third year came flying around in which we had to make our final collection of six complete outfits along with everything else. It didn’t feel like there was time to sit and think about it logically. I was in a huge panic and trying too hard to create something that is physically impossible when you’re so uninspired.


A design from Jade Callan’s final graduate collection. Image credit: Jade Callan

Then after many tears of frustration, my guardian angel appeared – my tutor. He simply told me to think outside of the box. So with no other option this is exactly what I did.

There was no rule that said we had to pattern cut the traditional way. So I decided to start anew and go right back to the beginning by looking at the dimensions of garments.

The dimensions of a T-shirt is essentially 3 tubes, 4 holes. No one says it has to look like your average T-shirt; it’s just what we know and recognise. So I began experimenting with the dimensions of a T-shirt.

I got a wooden mannequin and sheets of fabric and cut holes in them and placed them on its body, trying it in all different ways, sketching from it then refining it to wearable pieces.

I did this again life size, perfected it until I was happy then unpicked and traced the patterns. On paper they looked too complicated to even think about trying to produce the traditional way.

I worked my socks off and loved what I was doing at the same time which felt strange for me. It all started to piece together slowly and I felt like I could conquer the world with my new found belief in myself.

“Joining the thousands of unemployed fashion graduates seeking their dream job after university can be very daunting”

It showed me that when things get bad it’s never too late to make them better if you believe you can do it and are willing to take risks. I came out with a final collection that I was so proud of, a new outlook and an unexpected grade which I was over the moon about.


A design from Jade Callan’s final graduate collection. Image credit: Jade Callan

You should never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, but more importantly you should never tell yourself that you can’t do something.

Apart from all the practical skills of pattern cutting which includes designing, constructing and drawing, the most important thing I learnt was not to be afraid of doing something differently.

The whole experience made me fall in love with fashion again and made me remember why I was doing it in the first place.

I’m currently working as a design assistant for a brand called Tayberry Outdoor. I feel very lucky to have got a job related to my degree so soon after graduating.

Joining the thousands of unemployed fashion graduates seeking their dream job after university can be very daunting. It’s a big industry and one of the most competitive.

I’m unsure of what I want to do in the future but I have plenty of time to figure it out. In the meantime, when I am not at work I enjoy blogging and reading up on the design world. I love minimal, sophisticated style and my favorite designers are always changing.

Currently, my favourite designers are Alexander Wang and Esteban Cortazar but that will probably change tomorrow. I’m a huge fan of up and coming designers, graduates in particular. It’s so refreshing to see how they are interpreting their idea of fashion and being able to understand the hard work and passion that has gone into it, it makes you respect and love what they have done even more.

GALLERY: Browse through Jade Callan’s final graduate collection

CHECK OUT Jade’s blog: and Follow Jade on Twitter @JadeCallan

Interested in a career in fashion? Read ‘What to do with a degree in fashion’



Jade Callan. Image credit: Jade Callan.

I’m currently a design assistant at Tayberry Outdoor whilst living in Cardiff. I’m Originally a Swansea girl but after studying in Cornwall for three years, its safe to say I missed Glengettie tea and welsh cakes too much! So I’m back to indulge in welsh goodies and start my grown up journey.


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