Fashion Enter has set up a working studio at the University of East London's Knowledge Dock and is preparing the next generation of British talent through its apprenticeship programme.
Manager of The Fashion Studio Desiree Koster said: "Students seem to be missing something these days.
"University and college courses can be so specialised that they miss the basics. Students learn about designing a collection but they have someone else to do the pattern cutting and don't get the basic skills."
Desiree has worked in the industry for 30 years employed by Bruce Oldfield, Biba and Pineapple among others. Her new venture at UEL makes patterns and samples for a range of clients and, when necessary, can do small production runs. It has three apprentices working exclusively at the east London location and offers additional experience at its factory in north London where larger orders are made for clients including ASOS and Osman for John Lewis.
Desiree said: "I find it very fulfilling advising students on the right way of doing things.
"The fashion world has changed a lot - when I began it was about trends changing every season. Now there is more of a base collection that rolls on year after year. I suppose it is more economical that way.
"I have learned different things at different stages of my career - when I worked with David Sassoon they had been running for 50 years and I picked up the tricks of the trade that they don't teach in schools."
The apprenticeship in fashion and textiles is an 18-month agreement between apprentice, employer, trainer and college. It gives apprentices four days a week in work and one day training in the classroom. Big names, including House of Fraser and Jaeger, are among those to take on apprentices.
To be eligible applicants must be aged 16-19 years old, have a minimum of 5 GCSEs grade A-C. Industry experience is desirable.
Tia Moore, 18, two months into her apprenticeship.
"An apprenticeship offers more of an inside route into what the industry is about, it's more hands on. I had the option to go to university but the course seemed to be too textbook based. I thought I knew stuff after college until I came here. In the fashion industry experience is a lot better than just having a qualification.
"I'm Desiree's assistant - she has taught me pattern cutting, how to alter, cut etc. I help on the admin side too - replying to emails from designers and about events.
"I'm not to sure what I want to do and that's why the apprenticeship is good. I get to observe all roles and see which one I best fit into. My job description is Garment Technologist and so far I have seen the factory side where they make big orders and here. If I had gone to uni these are the sorts of jobs I would be applying for afterwards so it just makes more sense to be here."
For further information, go to www.fashioncapital.co.uk.
Original article: wharf.co.uk
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