09 May 2011

In January, Grazia magazine introduced you 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. Now, they have been handpicked to be part of a unique mentoring scheme launched by Grazia and Reiss and transported onto the fashion front-line to be 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 (right here!) and and follow their blogs charting their highs and lows over the next six months. Here, Allie, who is being mentored in womenswear design, reveals why work’s been a struggle over the past month…

I’m beginning to really feel like I’ve settled in here at Reiss and that I’m a real part of the Reiss Womenswear Design team now. Not that it hasn’t been tough at times. I’ve just had to miss two weeks of work. I was unwell and whilst I was ill my travel card ran out. I needed money to buy a new one but I couldn’t physically get to Reiss to get my allowance. I feel really lucky that my travel is subsidised because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this internship. But money is so tight and it’s really hard sometimes to keep on top of things.
I was nervous about going back after two weeks off because I worried I'd disappointed the team. But they reassured me. I hope they realise I don’t like missing days because I know that this is a great opportunity for me and I’d like to gain as much knowledge as I can from this experience whilst I’m here. I also want my team to see my enthusiasm for learning, and to show my appreciation for all they are doing for me.

But I’m back now and getting into the full swing of things. I’m designing a t-shirt and tank top and it’s a much harder task than I imagined! There’s so much thought that goes into those two little items of clothing – the shape, print, fabric, and how they come together to compliment each other. I’m getting inspiration from books, magazines, the catwalk and vintage garments. When I first started here, I think I worked quite slowly, but with more experience, and the help of the team, now my designs are coming together much more easily.
Since working at Reiss I have applied to several design/textiles courses – all at London universities so I can stay close to my family, as I often care for my nieces. I have an interview next Wednesday for a Foundation Degree course in Fashion with Textiles. That means I will have to miss another day at Reiss but it’s for a good cause and my mentor understands. She has even been helping me with my portfolio. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I’ll let you know how the interview goes….


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