13 July 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, gives us an update on her work…

A lot has been happening over the past few weeks since my last blog.  My original mentor, Rachel, has left Reiss to start a new job – I was very sorry to see her go, but now I have a new mentor, Emily, who is really nice.  She is a womenswear designer, and she has been great for me – she has set me a design project and regularly checks in with me to see how I am getting on, and to give me feedback on how to improve my work. I’m designing a T-shirt, which will hopefully be good enough to be sold in the Reiss stores. I have a deadline in a few weeks so I am working really hard as I have to come up with four designs and so far all I have done are a few illustrations. I want to use some reference to Kids Company in my designs, as a lot of the therapy they use there is art-based, and it is where I found my passion for design.  But I am conscious that anything on sale in Reiss has to appeal to a sophisticated, adult customer so I have to make sure my design is not too young. I have decided on a floral theme, using the bright colours that Kids Company encourages and try to work in the Kids Company logo, but in a subtle way so the garments will be bought and worn by the Reiss customers. 

At least I can relax in one area of my lif. I have had my interviews for university and got a verbal offer on the spot for the course I really want to do, so I am waiting for UCAS to update my status, then I will finish my student finance application and get ready to start in September.  I haven’t celebrated this brilliant news yet, I just want to make sure everything is in order. I know it will be really hard work for me to complete the course, but it is a massive opportunity for me. And I’ll also be able to focus on it properly because from September, all my sisters’ children will be enrolled in the same school, so I will no longer have the responsibility of taking my eldest niece to school in the mornings. 


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