After graduating from Leeds Arts University BA (Hons) Fashion student, Alicia Brown won the BooHoo Social Media Award at Graduate Fashion Week in 2018. We've caught up with her to find out all about it!

You studied BA (Hons) Fashion at Leeds Arts University, what did you enjoy about the course and how did the course help you in starting out professionally?

The course itself is very versatile, I learnt a lot in varied areas of fashion. From learning how to pattern cut, to using Adobe software to high a standard. I really enjoyed the creativity of it especially when we split into our pathways, I chose Fashion Communication.

Image: Work by Alicia Brown. Photographed by Emily Davis.

Developing concepts and producing something which I was proud of is probably the most enjoyable part of it, not to mention learning film and photography production, editing, marketing, printing techniques, garment construction, look books, presentation skills and styling. All of these skills taught within the three years at university, and growing and developing as an individual has been the best lesson I have taken away from Leeds Arts University. Being able to be confident in what I do and the skills I have is extremely useful in the industry as people will trust you with tasks and projects.

You were recently invited to visit the Houses of Parliament, how did this come about?

I was invited by Graduate Fashion Week to the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the charity’s and the graduate award winner achievements from 2018. It was a chance to showcase our work as well announce key developments for GFW/19. It was a great opportunity to network and raise awareness amongst the industry's high-players and recruiters. My project and portfolio was on display, this gave me the opportunity to present it to a wide range of industry guests and gain some key contacts.  

Can you tell us a little about your work?

For my final showcase of work a small capsule collection was created. The collection consists of four staple oversized boyfriend t-shirts with slogans. The slogans relate to the typical 21st century woman who has a humorous outlook on being single, dating, and having a broken heart. The slogans were created from personal experience, over hearing women talking about their dating experiences and their break up’s. The t-shirts are designed so that they can be dressed up or down, and to compliment one’s personal style.

Image: Work by Alicia Brown. Photographed by Emily Davis.

Instagram was used as the main platform to creatively showcase and sell the brand to the target audience. Using a range of different content; lifestyle images, photo shoots and using your ‘everyday girl’ as influencers in order to be relatable to the audience. Creating highlights, hash tags and using Instagram features such as tagging brands built the initial interest, whilst showing style tips and ‘outfit of the day’ posts helped to increase interest and engagement.

You won the BooHoo Social Media Award at Graduate Fashion Week in 2018, can you tell us about how this came about and how it felt to win the award?

Since starting my degree we were always made aware of Graduate Fashion Week, something which was optional but recommended to enter in third year. During a tutorial with one of my tutors, we looked through the awards and decided to submit my project for the BooHoo Social Media Award as my work was so heavily influenced by social media platforms. I thought nothing of it and genuinely thought I didn’t have a chance of being shortlisted, never mind winning!

Image: Courtesy of the artist, Alicia Brown.

The process went through a few stages; put forward by university, entering, being shortlisted down to 10, having an interview with Boohoo and finally shortlisted again down to three. The award winner was then announced at the Gala Award Show at Graduate Fashion Week. The feeling of winning the award was so overwhelming and incredible! It was and still is a good feeling being able to end university on such a high. 

Any plans for the future?

Currently, I am a social media manager which I absolutely love and recently moved to London! Since winning the award and the event at Houses of Parliament, I have had a lot of interest in manufacturing the t-shirts. At the moment, I am looking into my options, keeping in contact with various people, figuring out what type of manufacture I would like and what platform to sell on. Hopefully in the New Year I will have started selling and have a small business alongside my full-time job.