Artist and designer Emma has kindly written about her experience of being mentored throughout her final year by award winner designer William Lee. Some of her artwork is included…it is truly astounding!
Class of 2016 BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design
Emma’s Mentor 2015-16 academic year:
William Lee, Designer at Giles Miller Studio.
William works with some of the world’s more prestigious brands; Hermes, Omega, British Airways, Publicis, Harrods, V&A Museum, and Piper-Heidsieck Champagne amongst many others.
Bucks Alumni, BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design, Class of 2013.
William’s endorsement of the Mentoring Programme can be seen here.
What career opportunities are you seeking Emma?
From July 2016 I am looking for a dynamic and fast-paced job in the fashion industry, ideally as a print and textiles designer for a large fashion brand such as Valentino, Burberry, McQueen or Vivienne Westwood. I want to be part of an established international brand because I want to be part of something bigger, and I love the interdependence of working in teams where everyone has their own job, but every job is responsible for and essential to the unified goals of the brand. I also think that the external pace of a bigger brand will enable me to learn and develop more as a designer than I could by myself.
I want to work with bespoke, couture garments that both respond to and set trends, with the larger than life aesthetic that isn’t found on the high street. I am passionate about art and design, photography, illustration and colour, and I love having the ability to communicate through visual and aesthetic, and want to expand my skill set as much as possible so that I am always finding new and innovative ways to do so.
What have you learnt through having a Mentor?
For me, having a mentor has firstly been amazing to have the opportunity to meet someone I find very inspirational (although I do have a tendency to get starstruck), and also invaluable to have this external input to my work, from a recent graduate who is only a couple of years ahead of me on the professional ladder, and yet has managed to climb so far up it in such a small space of time.
Since my mentor William Lee graduated fairly recently he was able to give me very current advice on how to approach my end of year design shows to market myself and make myself as employable as possible, and he also was able to look for gaps in my project work with fresh eyes.
William advised me on some outside the box tricks to get noticed at my design shows (where I will be displaying my work amongst every textile student in the country) such as finding innovative ways to outsource, brand myself as professionally as possible and to ask for help where possible in a collaborative way, by trading skills with others rather than trying to have my fingers in all the pies and think I can do everything myself. It was amazing to have insider knowledge on these aspects.
Why should students sign up to the Mentoring Programme?
I was actually overwhelmed by how positive and helpful the scheme was.
I definitely think all students should utilise this amazing scheme to their advantage, especially since Robert Coldwell is so enthusiastic and positive about helping you, and able to give you direction to what help will suit you even if you aren’t entirely sure yourself!
My mentor pointed me towards some invaluable points that my tutors either hadn’t thought of or it wasn’t at their disposal to inform me of. If you’re ambitious and genuinely interested in pushing yourself to be better; if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, create opportunities for yourself, and meet interesting people you can relate to (and that you hope might represent future versions of yourself) then you should definitely take advantage of mentoring. You may not be as lucky with your match as you hope, or you can be more lucky than you anticipated, but you don’t know what doors you might open for you, and it’s definitely worth trying to find out.
To William Lee, thank you so much for accepting to be my mentor. You have been enthusiastic, generous with your time and invaluably helpful, and I really appreciate that you actually came all the way to High Wycombe from London in order to see my work and my work space. I will definitely be looking to return the favour one way or another in the near future, once I have some free time not obsessing over my own work for my degree shows!!
What else were you involved in during your time at university?
Whilst at university I interned at Amanda Kelly Design Studio, Dulux Paints, Jacki Tsai Ltd, and Prangsta Costumiers and set up my own face painting business. During the New Designers exhibition in 2016 I was thrilled to be invited to present before the prestigious Texprint panel.
My time at university wasn’t all about work though, I should also mention that I joined ladies hockey team, which has been an incredible and memorable experience, where I’ve met some awesome girls and built friendships that I would never have had without the bond created through being part of a society like this together.
See more of Emma’s amazing work via your preferred platform:
Thank you Emma for sharing your insights and experience with us.
For those interested, the Bucks Mentoring Programme matches and supports one-to-one relationships between students (the Mentee) and a selected Mentor (a more experience student, graduate or professional).
Our Mentors come from a variety of backgrounds, and are matched based on the industry they work in or the skill set they have that a Mentee can learn from.
From these links you can read more about the experiences of the Mentees and Mentors, or go onto the university website to see more about the programme and to download an application form to volunteer your services: Bucks New University Mentoring Programme
- Advertising Vacancies to Students and Alumni
- BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design
- Alumni LinkedIn Group