Grazia Daily meet Alberta Ferretti! *wibble*

10 June 2010

Picture the scene. Backstage in the VIP lounge at Graduate Fashion Week the presenters of the awards at the impending ceremony like Nicola Roberts, designers Barbara Hulanicki and David Saunders of David David, Zandra Rhodes and Erin O'COnnor are assembling and chatting while snaffling champagne and canapés.

In the middle of everything is our very special guest blogger from yesterday: Alberta Ferretti, petite, dainty and smiling serenely. Her English is excellent but everything else about her is super Italian, from the way she tells a story to her super groomed but warm appearance. Alberta is in town to be the international member of the jury of the 19th River Island Gold Award 2010. This award is the final accolade given to the best talent among the ten finalists of the Graduate Fashion Week, the showcase for the most prestigious fashion colleges in Britain.
The award-winning creatives of previous editions include Christopher Bailey and Hussein Chalayan. It's a big decision for the judges, potentially life changing for the winner and a responsibility Alberta takes very seriously, as we saw from her blog posts on Grazia Daily yesterday. . . .

Alberta Ferretti AW10

So, Alberta. What do you think of Graduate Fashion Week?
It’s a real buzz. It’s a great competition; it’s a good atmosphere here. It feels like going back in time for me, the energy of the students, the buzz.

Have you enjoyed the judging process today?
On the one hand, yes, I have enjoyed it. Looking at the students' work and discussing it. On the other side, it is horrible because I can see how much work has gone into each collection by each student and we can only have one winner. So it doesn’t feel good that some of them will not win but they have all worked so hard.

Am I right in thinking that you didn’t go to fashion college or study design? Do you think it is harder or easier for someone young starting out now, than it was for you in the beginning?
No, it is true that I didn’t study fashion at college. I opened my first shop when I was very, very young, but I grew up always knowing about dressmaking from my mother. (Alberta set up her first boutique in her home town of Cattolica in Italy as soon as she left school just after the 60's)

I was very lucky to learn the way I did, slowly and with feedback all the time, because I was selling and meeting my customers at the same time as designing. I always say that my clients were my teachers and my shop was my classroom!
It’s necessary these days for students to go to college. And the students here [at Graduate Fashion Week] are very lucky to have such good colleges to attend. One thing all the graduates must remember though is this; when they leave college it does not mean that they are a designer. They still have so much more to learn about business. There is the image, but also the business. Costs, deliveries, so much to learn. It isn't easy.
The schools in Britain are very very good and they do teach the students about the business side, the technical side, about commercial issues, but the students really need to learn through experience too. It’s a balance.

The winning collection - Rebecca Thomson. Congratulations Rebecca!

Would you like to take any of the graduates whose work you’ve seen today back to Milan to work for you?
I hope so. I hope so. The work today was of a high enough standard to come and work in part of one of my businesses, so we will see.  . .  [smiles mysteriously]
Wow. What a legend!

- Naomi Attwood


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