Fashion Intern

Month: October 2018

Month 1

Month 1 of my internship year, over already how time flies.

For those of you who don’t know I’m working at Amanda Kelly which is a print design company in London, and am living here for 3 months. The month has flown by and I’ve learn an incredible amount that will be useful in my final year, as well as been able to put some of the skills I learnt in first and second year into practice. So here are my top 5 skills I’ve learnt from uni I’ve been able to put into practice and my top 5 I’ve learnt on the job that will be useful in my final year.

Top 5 skills I have learnt and now gotten to put into practice –

  1. How to fill an area with a pattern quickly. In first year during our Photoshop classes we learnt how to create illustrator and Photoshop versions of  fabrics and then to fill them neatly into whatever garment you desired. Although this is a different skill the tools used in it have helped me to confirm pattern tiles repeat smoothly much faster than doing this manually.
  2. How to thread an Overlocker. In my second year we did a project where the only fabrics we were allowed to use were cotton jersey and fleece which involved a lot re-threading overlockers if they came undone or needed to colour swap.  I have found this skill so incredibly useful when we are overlocking mass amounts of fabrics because of the amount of times you are in a flow and don’t notice the thread run out or it unthreads itself. It saves so much time being able to re-thread the machine myself rather than having to ask a designer to help.
  3. How to design. When I first began university I didn’t really understand how to design, I used to think of what I wanted as an end product and work backwards but during first and second year I learnt how to design patterns and garments well and produce products that were well thought through and purchasable. This skill has been very useful for me to help the designers design patterns for commercial use swiftly and to a high quality.
  4. Time management for sewing. Sometimes we receive a lot of fabrics in that need to be cut out, over locked, mounted and photographed. From having speed sewing classes I have learnt how to complete sewing/overlocking tasks very swiftly to a high standard which is very useful in this job and makes the task go much faster.
  5. Presentation skills. During my second year we were set a live brief to design a print collection, as this project was textiles based we learnt how to present our designs in a more textiles manner which is very different to how we do in fashion. As I am working for a textiles company learning how to present print designs in a professional manner has been very useful to me and sped up many tasks we have on a daily basis.
Striped Pattern 
Striped Tile
Final Pattern

Top 5 skills I have learnt on the job that will be useful in final year –

  1. How to transfer large Photoshop files. There is a website called ”We transfer”, as it is not always possible to get files to where you need by attaching them to an email or using a memory stick companies use ”We transfer”. By using ”We transfer” I will be able to transport files for marking and general viewing much easier than attempting to post all files or find a large enough storage device.
  2. How to create repeat pattern tiles that can be used to print large scale fabrics. If I want to use my own patterns on fabrics in my final year this will involve me needing to have it printing and in a large quantity in order to make a garment. Patterns tend to work much better when the pattern flows as a continuous repeat with no joining lines. In this job I have learnt how to take an initial pattern drawing , scale and edit them into repeats which will be useful if I choose to use my own patterns in my final year collection.
  3. Overlocking with speed. Although this is a skill I have learnt in my first and second year it is also one I have built upon. The fabrics we overlock on a weekly basis tend to be of 2 main fabrics, light cotton twill and chiffon. From having to overlock so much in a little amount of time I have learnt how to accurately overlock even more difficult materials like chiffon at a much faster speed than I was able to when I first began the internship and I’m sure it will be very useful when keeping to tight deadlines in my final year.
  4. How to use a graphics tablet. As I have a really awkward hand condition drawing is of great difficulty for me, a lot of the designers don’t use mice at all and therefore when using their computers you need to use a graphics tablet. Using a graphics tablet can be very disorientating however after a lot of practice I can now use one to draw in the same way I would on my own touchscreens. This will be useful for producing much higher quality products both digitally and physical in my final year as I will be able to use software I don’t own but in the same way I would on my touch screen laptop.
  5. How to combine hand drawn segments/other hand created patterns into a digital print. When we draw for the designers they encourage us to use paper and then they scan them in to create beautiful patterns. In the past when I have done similar things it’s always been clear that it is a scan and not all digitally created ruining the pattern or other piece. However I have learnt how to scan images smoothly and later combine them with other digital patterning to create beautiful patterns that you wouldn’t be able to guess has used several different artist techniques and multimedia. This skill will help me to greatly improve my design skills for my final year and help me to create more unique patterns.

London – Week 4

Hi again,

So week 4 in London with Amanda Kelly, how time flies!

     This week a lot of boxes and suitcases of fabrics have arrived and we have had to go through the boxes and bags marking every pattern with a highlighter on the header and some with dots on the digital files. To begin with I was very confused at why one box we highlighted with a purple line, another case an orange one and then the red dots on some but not all digital files. Curious I asked the office manager what all these colours mean. I then began to understand how they keep track of where all the fabrics are mailed out to, where they’ve been sold and which patterns have been sold. Each highlighted colour means a different country, by marking them with the highlighter you can see every country that pattern has visited in the quest to be sold. The red dots next to the digital files however mean the file itself has been sold, the company keeps hold of original copies of all its sold files however I’m unsure of for how long.

   Generally that way if a client who has purchased a pattern say wants it put into repeat we then have the file ready to access and complete the request. Now although this all sounds rather dull and unimportant to many of you readers, I believe learning about how they organise their patterns in such a simple, but effective way has taught me a great organisation skill I can take back with me into my final year. Using colour to organise files makes it much faster to see which file is relevant to which topic. With the many different elements I shall encounter in my final year I believe this will be incredibly useful to stay on top of work and find files when I need them most.

We also do rather a lot of labeling of sample prints so they are ready to be shown to clients. However when a styling or fabric isn’t correctly headered then if it were to be sold we can’t send the client the digital file for them to print themselves. Fortunately this doesn’t happen often, however this week we were given a restyled dress front that was made up of 2-3 prints, 2 of the prints were very similar and I assumed they would be and A+B File. I had to ask the designers who’s work it was and luckily they all agreed it was one specific designer’s work but it they had no idea when it was drawn other than pre-2016. Over the course of 2 days I searched through every single design said designer created between 2011-2016, 10,800 designs and FINALLY found 2 of the 3 designs. I never realized quite how many prints a designer could produce in a month no matter about a year.

    This week in my spare time I had a movie night with my flatmate and 2 of her friends, the movie we chose – ”Miss Sloane”. It was a very interesting and political movie that I believe is a great watch for feminists and women who want to see a woman take the lead for once. The film stars Jessica Chastain who plays a powerful, cutthroat lobbyist who is using all of her skills to back the ”Heaton-Harris bill”. The ”Heaton-Harris bill” is for stronger regulations and background checks to be enforced when purchasing guns. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now this movie is set in the US. To fight for this bill Miss Sloane has moved to a much smaller lobbying firm and must now take on her old firm, a lobbying giant and a gun manufacturer. The film is about Miss Sloane and her fiendish tactics and incredible mind that have plummeted her at a congressional hearing in the opening scene, to answer questions about possible violations of Senate ethics rules whilst at her previous firm. I would definitely recommend this film to my passionately political and feminist friends, however don’t watch this film when you’re tired. This movie requires all of your attention to follow and understand what is going on in some scenes. Overall a very good film that I would recommend if you’re struggling to find something to watch.

I believe that is all for this week, I hope you enjoyed reading and I haven’t bored too many people until next week I think that is all.

London – Week 3

Hi all,

3 weeks in and I’m starting to get the hang of this tube commuting thing. Each day to get to work I have to get 2 tube trains to and from work. The lines I get are the Victoria line and Bakerloo line. My first train is always packed and just gets busier and busier at each stop, because of my hands I found out the hard way that I can’t actually hold on for as many stops as I need to if I were to stand all the way. Fortunately TFL offer badges for the disabled that they can wear to notify other travelers so that they give up their seat for you. I ordered this on Sunday as prior to this I had mostly been very lucky with getting seats so didn’t think I would need it however of course I have discovered I do. The application for the badge and card is rather simple and my little package arrived very swiftly. Luckily for me I haven’t had any problems using my badge and other commuters have kindly given up their seat for me. Once I get to Elephant and Castle my end station I usually take the lift up to ground level however one day I felt as though I was running late and there is always a queue for the lift so I decided to take the stairs. I was almost crawling by the top, I most certainly cannot walk up 124 steps no matter about run up them. A key lesson I think I have learnt here is that I shall not be climbing the Eiffel Tower anytime soon.

Another thing about the London tube is that when a tube line breaks it seems to take out several others with it causing ⅓ of London to shut down. Usually it takes me about 35 to 45 minutes from the second I leave the office to get home, however on this day the Victoria line was suffering “severe delays”. Normally I find this means the trains are more packed but I’ll still get home about the same time, but on this particular day it turned out between Victoria and Brixton has shut down due to a track failure in both directions. Then once I arrived at Oxford Circus, my interchange, a passenger alarm was pulled at Warren Street then another causing the train to be stuck in the station for 40 minutes and then extend my actual train journey by a further 40 minutes meaning I got home at 7pm.

As we do a lot of computer work at Amanda Kelly and there are 5 interns 4 of us have to use computers of designers who aren’t in that day. Often you find that the designers computers do not have mice, this means you have to control and edit with a graphics tablet. If you haven’t used used a graphics tablet before they can be rather disorientating the first time you use them, especially to draw. Most artists are used to looking down to wherever their hand is, watching their movements and their masterpieces appearing. However when using a graphics tablet you have all the freedom of movement of that of a pen whilst your actions are reacting on the screen in front of you. It can take some getting used to but now finally 3 weeks in I have fully adapted and can use it the same as if I had a mouse. I personally feel like this will be a very useful skill for me in my third year as it will allow me to enhance my sketchbooks and use more software that I don’t own but are accessible on the university computers. Generally I believe it will be a useful skill for my future career  knowing and being able to use a graphics tablet for drawing, editing and all over computer activities.

As the designers are working on next season’s designs there has been a lot of tye dye featured on the catwalks and so they asked us to do some tye dying for them. Me and another intern did some indigo dying for them. Personally although I have tye dyed before I have never used chemical tye dying or indigo, my fellow intern however did a course in dying and loves indigo therefore why she chose it. So she showed me how you have to carefully mix indigo dye, leave it for a while before you then start dying fabrics. For this kind of dying you have to add activators in order for the dye be the most effective. When dying using indigo you must be careful not to stir it too much as you don’t want air getting into the dye, that will oxidize the solution and ruin the dye itself. Indigo dye works with oxidation, the fabric when initially removed from the solution is green and then oxidizes to become the beautiful blue colour you can see in the photos below. We dyed a lot of different patterns tying the fabrics into different formations to create different designs. As the designers wanted these for backgrounds or to generally enlarge for patterns these shall be used in designs that are then sold to companies which is very exciting so I’ll be keeping an eye out for if I see them in any shops I know. I found it very interesting learning about this different way of dying and how I could potentially dye my own fabrics for my final year, at the moment I only know how to use indigo dye however my fellow intern is quite happy to teach me about chemical dying and other sorts as well which could make for some interesting unique patterns for my work in my final year.

At the weekend my mum came to visit and we went to visit the famous Portobello Road market on the Saturday and then Greenwich on Sunday. When we arrived at Portobello Road I didn’t know what to expect but it was a very quirky, lively market with what I thought was an odd amount of silverware for sale but that’s just my opinion. There were stalls stretching for what felt like miles, the market just kept going and going but as we kept walking it didn’t get any less interesting with street performers including this headless pair you can see at the bottom, food, books, clothes, art and much much more. If you love a market this is definitely one I would recommend, with its wide variety of stalls stretching down the entirety of Portobello Road. Personally I will definitely be visiting this market again before I leave London. However on the Sunday we took a river boat tour down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich which was great fun although a bit cold. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend much time in Greenwich itself but the short bit of time we did spend there was nice and the area we saw by Greenwich Pier was very beautiful so worth a visit in my opinion.

London – Week 2

Hi again,

So week 2 of being with Amanda Kelly, this week was unusually slow but we got through it and learnt some new tricks. We had a 5th intern start who is also a student at Loughbrough University who is very lovely like the others.

On Monday it seemed like we had a million tasks to do and that we would be incredibly busy all week, with requests for repeats, colourways, colour separation, an order of fabrics arriving, invoices to be sorted, styling and many other tasks. I mainly focus on doing repeats now when they come in as it has been deemed I am the best at them (yay). After the first week of  doing repeat patterns I’ve quickly picked up a lot of skills in how to ensure they repeat correctly to the clients liking. I don’t mind doing repeats as I find it interesting and something in me is able to pick out repeat spots of patterns very swiftly so they never take long.

When we had finished all the immediate tasks for each day we moved on to overlocking and headering, new designs had come in printed on fabric  and we complete the presentation so they are ready to be taken to clients for sales meetings. There are 2 kinds of headers in house headers and freelancer headers. As I am the only intern who takes fashion I was one of the 2 given the task of overlocking the designs so they would stay neat and not fray in transit. However in the tiredness of a Thursday morning disaster struck, I accidentally cut a hole in the center of a striped multi pattern design. I immediately went and spoke with the head designer Ben who fortunately wasn’t angry at me. He explained that accidents do happen and I wasn’t the first to do something like this. Ben then demonstrated to me how we resolve such accidents so that the pattern is still presentable to clients and doesn’t diminish the pattern. Of course he did tell me to try and be careful when overlocking the rest which I was. When this happened I expected to be scolded and not allowed to do anything else with machinery however they were calm and not too fussed by the incident which relieved me. The main lesson I learnt here that I definitely need to remember when going into my third year is that mistakes happen, stay calm there will always be a way to fix them even if it involves a little alteration.

As I’ve now gone through invoices marking the files as sold, I’ve started to understand what a wide variety of clients the company sells to, how much pattern design is worth and what kinda of patterns sell best. It seems season to season some patterns apply throughout and others are seasonal repeats. Paisley and ditsy patterns always sell really well according to the designers so when we had a moment they got us to draw some ditsy’s, sketchy flowers and paisley pattern. My medical problems with my hands made drawing pretty paisley patterns really difficult as they’re drawn so smoothly, no feathered lines, bold but fast and this is something I can’t really achieve in the same way however I gave it my best and produced the patterns below.

In my personal life I also finished my book I’ve been reading called ”Friend Request” by Laura Marshall and if you’re looking for a good thriller to read this book is excellent! I could barely put it down and physically couldn’t if I hadn’t finished the chapter. The story is about a woman named Louise who one day has a notification from Facebook ”Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook” but Maria has been dead for more than 25 years…. hasn’t she? You can read the blurb in the photo below but I personally thoroughly recommend the book.

Hopefully next week I’ll have some interesting stories to tell but for now that’s all for this week.

London – Week 1

Hi all,

     For university for my placement year I have to keep a blog. This is said blog where you can read updates on how I’m getting on, on my various placements, the things I learn and whether I’d recommend to other students to do a placement year.

    On the 1st of October I started my first fashion internship at Amanda Kelly in London and I’m going to be here until the 14th of December. Amanda Kelly is a print design company, they work with many clients across the world and produce a wide range of beautiful prints for garments and other items of the clients desire. For my internship with Amanda Kelly I had to uproot and move to London in order to get to and from work everyday. This for me was incredibly hard as I pretty much spend all my time with my boyfriend at his house and now I’ve moved a 2 hour drive away from him. However I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to work in London even if its only for 2 and a half months.

   I learnt rather quickly living in London, the tube is the way to travel long distance and rush hour tube travel isn’t as scary as it sounds. On my first day at work I smoothly traveled to and from with no stress or worries about being late. Once I arrived I was introduced to the 3 other interns, one from a uni in Manchester, one from Loughbrough uni and the other a graduate from Japan. After all the introductions and tour of the office it was time to get to work. First task of the day, learn how to transfer sold pattern files to those who had sold/purchased them. This wasn’t very hard, all the files are well organised and easy to search through then I would simply upload the relevant files and transfer them to the correct clients using a website called ”WeTransfer”. Once all of those had been sent off I just needed to organise the emails so other interns and staff wouldn’t get confused therefore redoing a task that had already been completed.

    My second task was significantly harder however as I needed to edit a pattern to make sure it would repeat smoothly. This made me rather dizzy rather fast as it was a very small geometric print with hand drawn flowers over the top, hours on end of staring at this trying to make it line up correctly makes you go rather light headed. Many of the clients I corresponded with wanted their prints to be in repeat so I feel like mastering taking sections and editing patterns to create a flowing repeat print will become of great use to me.  After speaking to another intern who studies textiles at university, she showed me how you can reveal all of the file showing cut off parts of patterns making it significantly easier to edit them into repeats. 

I did these tasks again and again for the duration of the week with new patterns being sent back to be made into repeat tiles. Eventually me and the other interns ran out of tasks to do and got told we should draw. We weren’t told anything specific to draw so I chose to create a geometric graphic flamingo repeat pattern. I thought if i created a simple pattern then in any spare time I could practice putting patterns into repeat, how to colour separate and how to create different colour ways. For the files I was given to edit I didn’t need to colour separate or create colour ways, however I know I will at some point need to know how to do both so hopefully the other girls and designers will help teach me how.

At the end of the first week I was very lucky to have a visit from my lovely boyfriend and had him stay for the weekend.  We went out exploring London and chose to visit the Natural History Museum. The architecture of the building itself was beautiful and the exhibits inside fascinating however I didn’t like the taxidermy animals so much as they rather scare me. My boyfriend being him insisted on trying to get into my photos at the museum which made me laugh. Overall I’ve had a great first week in London and I can’t wait for the next 10.

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