21 February 2011

A few weeks ago, Grazia magazine introduced you to four twenty-somethings – Allie, Cosar, Jo’el and Mary - who have been given a fashion opportunity of a life-time. All four had a difficult start in life and have been helped by the amazing Kids Company- the charity set up by Camilla Batmanghelidjh to help inner city kids written off by the system. Today, they have all been handpicked to be part of a unique mentoring scheme launched by Grazia and Reiss which will see them transported onto the fashion front-line for the next six months and trained in everything from fashion design to blogging.

So, how has it been so far? Every week you can check in with them on Grazia Daily and and  follow their blogs charting their highs and lows. Here, Jo’el describes how he’s fitting in and already coming up with ideas for his own designs…

At school I liked drama and modelling, but my main ambition was to become a footballer. Saying that, I’ve always loved fashion –  American trends mostly - so the opportunity to be mentored by Grazia and Reiss is absolutely mind blowing.  My friends and family are really excited for me too, but the whole thing became more of a reality to me the morning of the Grazia photo shoot.
I never really knew that much about Reiss initially but even after the first few days I’d gained a fair bit of knowledge about the brand and David Reiss’s vision for the company and his plans for their  their 40th anniversary celebrations this year. By my second week, my mentor Kasha felt that I had done enough research to be able start hands on designing. She presented me with two prototype scarves and asked me to come up with three different colour schemes for both of them which I will eventually present to David Reiss himself! I was also asked to come up with a name for them too, which made me feel pretty privileged. I feel very relaxed and I appreciate the positive people I work with. I won’t say I’m one hundred percent myself yet  because it’s still early days, but I’m coming around very rapidly as I’ve been given an amazing welcome. There is lots of laughter and banter we in the office too, Darren one of the Menswear Designers is very witty and always cracking jokes! The others try but aren’t as funny as him. It definitely breaks the tension.

Next week I’ll be working on T-shirts using screen printing imagery which Darren will be helping me with. I have to come up with screen print designs for next season’s collection. I’ve got a few ideas in mind. Wish me luck...


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