BA (Hons) Fashion
Abbie Parrot / Fashion
Fashion student Abbie talks about her journey to Leeds Beckett, the support she has receieved whilst studying here, becoming a mum and how her final year dissertation on femininity in fashion was a success, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Looking back over the last four years, wow what a journey I’ve been on!
In July 2016 I was on holiday in Majorca when my A level results came through, I apprehensively opened them and to my great relief, I’d done well.
“What are you going to do now?” came the question from my Dad as I’d previously decided not to apply for a University place. Over the next few hours, I started to think about what an incredible opportunity I had in front of me so I decided to apply, through clearing, for a place on a BA Honours Degree in Fashion.
Sat in Costa Coffee in Palma, I got on the phone and my laptop and by the end of the day, I had an offer from Leeds Beckett University and I’d secured myself a shared apartment in the Unite’s Sky Plaza. The following September I started, years 1 and 2 of University life were hectic, I quickly learned to be independent and my structured approach to learning helped me to quickly adapt to the work content and hitting the deadlines. The course encouraged me to develop my own style of fashion designs which, combined with the new construction techniques I was learning through the course set modules allowed me to embrace femininity as I focussed on women’s wear collections.The initial years passed very quickly and by the end of the second year, I was delighted to find out that I was going to be a first time mum!
Having discussed the options with my tutors who were extremely supportive, I decided to have a gap year and return to University in September 2019, a week before my daughter’s first birthday. Although I was nervous, I quickly adapted into a return to University life, and despite also taking a part-time job with at Diesel Clothing in Leeds, the support from my Fiancé and my parents meant I could put 100% effort into my final year.
Although some days it felt like I was in a juggling act, I completed all the course modules on time with good pass grades and despite how busy and complex my life had been, I enjoyed every minute. In my final year, I worked hard for my dissertation and final collection. I don’t consider myself a Feminist, but I understand the power of Femininity. I’m not a Climate Activist but I am concerned by the endless consumerism and I wanted to play a part in tackling the growth in ‘Fast Fashion’ .
Through the research I did into Femininity and the design and construction techniques I have learned, such as moulage which is a 3D approach rather than 2D approach to design, embellishing and the use of fabric and colour I have a collection inspired by Fashion Designers, Artists and Sculptors which will be a foundation for my future work. Through its uniqueness, I have created a powerful look which will be ageless.
When I read my blog, things sound so easy but unfortunately it wasn’t. On March 23rd 2020, the Government announced we were in lockdown! This came right in the middle of our final module which was constructing the garments I had designed for the Leeds University Fashion Exhibition Showcase. This meant we could no longer use the equipment in University to complete the garments for our photo shoot for prospective employers. Although this was disappointing, there was nothing that could be done and our tutors quickly developed a course of action to allow us to finish the module.
Zoom was downloaded and we got on with the new module criteria. Building of cascading sleeves on garment being worked on a tailor's dummy My Dissertation ‘How Femininity Could Slow Fashion’ came back from assessment with a ‘First’ and despite the constraints resulting from Covid-19, I managed to fully complete my ‘Look Book Garment’.
I started by saying what a journey I’ve been on. It started back in Costa Coffee in Palma opening my A level results and hopefully it will finish with me a Fashion Graduate and a Mum to my lovely daughter Avélina. It’s been a challenge but I wouldn’t change anything. My confidence has grown, I have new skills and most importantly I’ve learned that excellent fashion design comes from inspiration and goes on itself to inspire others.
I hope that my collections and my University journey will be an inspiration. Thank you to the University Staff, friends and family for the support and encouragement you have given me. I hope that when my little girl is old enough to understand, she’ll also take inspiration from what I’ve achieved.