MEET FASHION & TEXTILES ALUMNI
"Studying at Northbrook was my first experience of being fully supported as a creative within education. From the range of technical facilities to the genuinely invested staff my time at Northbrook gave me a solid understanding of craft and experimentation within Fashion and gave me a vast technical knowledge that fully prepared me for university. Since leaving Northbrook I went on to complete my Bachelors and Masters at Central St Martins in London and since 2018 have been showing on schedule at London fashion week with a bi-annual show and worldwide stockists. It was at Northbrook that I had my foundation of confidence and knowledge built for me to enter the Fashion industry."
Stefan visit Northbrook MET
mohsin in studio
I have very fond memories of my 2 years at Northbrook. I was there from 1997~1999. For sure all my early development, from pattern cutting, researching, sewing, illustration was crafted there. I remember doing my 1st stand work on a dummy and making something fitted for the 1st time, and the love affair with dart manipulation started there.
I loved my 45 minute commute from Brighton each morning.
I was advised that a national diploma might be my best shot to a stepping stone to a degree. I didn’t want to A level Art as I knew textiles was were I wanted to go into
My 2 years were amazing. I was finally able to spend a full week learning about fashion and textiles. I enjoyed printing, dying, sublimation printing, knitting, pattern cutting and most of all illustration and sewing. Back then I didn’t know what I would become - but I knew I enjoyed mostly everything I was doing. I remember I was the only boy on my course. There was another boy who joined the year below me, a Chinese student called Ewing. ( He ended up in denim as well ) I met him up in Hong Kong / Japan in 2012… but that’s a whole different story.
I remember meeting Julian Roberts there. He showed us his portfolio of lovely illustrations and ended up being an examiner for our final year work.
I ended up becoming his assistant for 3 years while I lived in London studying for my BA.
Every member of staff was superb and we had external visitors too. There was a lovely older gentleman who came in and showed us how to draw figures .I was amazed as he showed us his Italian collezione books and all of his illustrations in all of them. Back in 1997 I thought I would become a fashion illustrator. It was this period I saw Julie Verhoevan illustrations in Sunday times style magazine and started collecting and treasuring them. Many years later I met Julie and told her it was mostly her that led me into fashion, she kindly gave me an illustration on my 40th birthday.
Being at Northbrook I remember feeling thankful, I had staff that could show me things that I didn’t understand… pattern cutting was like maths for me. I was always scratching my head. Until I understood it. But everything else was second nature.
For sure the love affair for a print studio started there also.
I had aspirations like all fashion students to get into central st martins. I remember hearing about it even when I was studying for my GCSEs when I was 15 years old. “ it’s the only place you need to go”
I ended up going on an open day to CSM, feeling not that impressed by it all. I also looked at Winchester. But staff suggested I go to Westminster in Harrow. “ It’s a small college, but the level of students is very high class “
I remember going on an open day at Westminster, seeing the campus, fashion studios. I was advised it was a small course around 35 students, compared to larger CSM intake. ( in some cases just as hard to get in ) I decided I needed more development, and a smaller fashion course might be better suited to me. As I knew I would get more one on one time. I got an unconditional offer. And was in. I did my 1st denim project in my year and really enjoyed it. Little did I know.
Soon after completing my BA in fashion from Westminster - I got a job working for a new start up company called oki-ni ( based in savile row )
How I got that job was just luck.
In my 3 years at Westminster I was one of the 1st in my course to use photoshop and illustrator - in fact I think I was the 1st. As I was dyslexic. I was given a £3000 state of the Art computer as I started the course. ( I know I was lucky! ) I was one of those students who was given extra 30 mins in exams to complete - but still getting Ds or failing. Mostly I was not strong at reading. I remember getting a report saying I had a reading level of 9 when I was 16 years old.
Anyway an advert went out for a graduate designer who knew photoshop. My tutors forwarded my details as I was the strongest.
Little did I know that oki-ni was on the cusp of something that no one had done before. The age of collaboration between brands. This company had a in-house design team that would design
For Levi’s, Paul smith, adidas and many other brands. And these collaborations could only be sold at Oki-ni it was very new and way ahead of its time.
I was hired in the marketing dept 2 days a week, photographing samples getting everything ready for the website. Sending samples out to press. I also Illustrated and did a lot of layouts for magazines and adverts. Soon after I was assisting the in-house designers too on their collections, tech packing on the computer, toiling. Something happened 9 months in. The senior designer was fired, I was asked to step in. ( as i was assisting her ) Intern to senior designer in less then a year, sink or swim. I ended up doing very well there, and was asked to take care of the denim accounts - Levi’s Japan, Levi’s Europe, Evisu - I ended up designing and developing all or most of Levi’s collections. And started to travel to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Europe visiting factories.
After leaving my 1st job I went on to design for many other denim companies, high lights being heading up Edwin Europe, DKNY JEANS & Timberland. I also worked as a designer for Aquascutum, Pringle of Scotland, Ducati & many others
After 10 years I established ENDRIME® Denim consultancy / Label together with my wife Sadia Rafique. Selling internationally in London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Berlin, New York & Yokohama. We have 28 vintage sewing machines in our workshop & have collection of over 2000 vintage garments in our denim archive
We design seasonal collections, look books & direct fashion videos for many of best denim mills, yarn producers, notably TENCEL™, Cone Denim, Bossa, Artistic Milliners, Naveena, Desert Studio Dubai, thankfully the list goes on
It’s now been 20 years since I’ve been a Denim Designer, Lecturer/Educator.
I’ve been awarded twice Rivet 50 most influential denim industry leader in 2019 & 2020. I’ve also won awards for the videos we have created, notably best overall video for 2021 Blue Lenz Awards in Munich Germany
I spend 1/2 my time teaching now and try to teach at as many places as I can.
My goal since the beginning has been guiding the next generation of denim designers. I helped establish Blackhorse Lane Ateliers in London in 2015 & ran their 1st 14 Denim Masterclasses. I’m a Denim Lecturer at many notable Fashion Universities, notably: Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art, Westminster, Kingston, London College of Fashion, Norwich and Ravensbourne
I’ve been invited to Cone Denim College in Greensboro & I’ve completed my Denim Pilgrimage, in Kojima, Japan. My knowledge of Denim History has led me to also write many expert reports for British High Court
Since 2019 I’ve been a Organiser & Host Transformers EDs, Educational Denim conferences by Transformers Foundation
I love exploring modern & lost constructions. In 2021 I created one of the 1st zero waste denim collections. I’ve always been a non-believer of fast & cheap methods of production
My aim is to establish Masters & PhD courses in Denim & finish writing a number of denim books by 2023, just in time for 150th anniversary of jean
I loved my time at Northbrook - and consider it as one of the best places of my journey”.
OWNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR - ENDRIME®
CONSULTANT FOR TENCEL™ / CARVED IN BLUE® - DENIM TEAM
CONSULTANT FOR TRANSFORMERS FOUNDATION - & TRANSFORMERS ED HOST / ORGANISER
INDUSTRY DENIM TUTOR:
CENTRAL ST MARTINS - MENSWEAR DENIM PROJECT
RAVENSBOURNE UNIVERSITY LONDON: DENIM INNOVATION PROJECT
"Northbrook MET really opened my eyes to endless opportunities and directions you could take in the creative industry, the amount of time and effort the staff would put in I’m grateful for all the support they have given me as it has definitely allowed to be where I am today. I cannot stress enough how encouraging and amazing the tutors, technicians, staff and also facilities were around me, as I know it’s not every day you have access to all of that equipment, so this allowed me to be creative explore different avenues and learn a lot of different skills.
The knowledge and confidence I took from the two years I was there I then moved onto graduating with a BA in Fashion at Northumbria University with a year in industry working with the likes of Raimund Berthold (menswear designer) and Markus Lupfer (Luxury Womenswear designer), this really allowed me to progress my skills further also give me an insight into the industry first hand.
After 4 years of pure solid hard work and graduating with my final collection, I am now currently working at Batra group an international business group specialising in sports/apparel wear as a junior designer. They look after various accounts including Fila, Mistral, Tony Hawk, Sergio Tacchini and many more. I have been lucky enough to work on multiple collections from Menswear, womenswear, even down to kids.
I can definitely say that from my experiences I have grown as a person developed skills and knowledge of various areas throughout all my opportunities so far. Having the passion and drive to push myself really stemmed from learning at Northbrook MET which I will treasure forever. They didn’t just teach us things we needed to know they supported our journey through good and bad and pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves in whatever career path we chose".
Cristopher Luke Watts
"I first came to Northbrook MET about 15 years ago when I enrolled on the ND Fashion and Textiles course, after a brief stint studying fashion at Kingston University I returned to Northbrook MET and completed the BA Surface and Textile degree.
My years at Northbrook MET have been some of the most informative of my life helping me grow not only on a professional level but also personally. Supported and encouraged by excellent tutors, guided by their technical expertise and the colleges superb facilities, I came to understand the fundamental aesthetics and guiding personality of my work.
Upon graduating from Northbrook MET I went on to study an MA at Central Saint Martins and spent some time working in London as a textile designer specialised in bridal wear for Jenny Packham, then moving to Paris to work as embroidery designer with a strong focus on accessory development and haute couture. During my time in Paris I was fortunate enough to work for some of the worlds most prestigious fashion houses such as Dior, Givenchy, Celine, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton. After some years in Paris I was head hunted and asked to move to Spain where I currently work as a senior designer for Zara Home overseeing the concept and design for the bedroom department. Whilst my current role is departure from my previous fashion focused roles Northbrook MET taught me the importance of being and open to the challenges and opportunities that you will encounter through your career path.
Northbrook MET has a very special place in my heart, the relationships I made with my tutors and fellow students continue to this day and the knowledge I gained studying at Northbrook MET has enabled me to travel around the world pursuing a career that I truly love".
"I started my time on the ND fashion and textiles course a couple of weeks late after a last minute transfer from the music course. It was the best decision I ever made. The course is thorough and doesn’t require any previous experience in pattern making, machine stitching, knitting and print making. I was given close technical advice in all these areas while studying the course and by the second year I felt comfortable and confident in my abilities. One thing I should point out is not only the great tutors who give you the time you need at this college/ university but also the facilities and equipment available. I went on from this course to a well known London university which didn’t have half the equipment and staff available to students (most the time sharing a machine between 3, and one lesson a week with tutors) not the case at Northbrook!
What I learnt and achieved on this course gave me the foundations I needed to move to London and begin a career in the Industry. My only real formal training is from Northbrook MET as I dropped out of uni after 7 months. After dropping out I got a job at Paul Smith in the suit department and quite quickly became the main fitter for vip clients. This was due to the technical knowledge I had from making and studying.
I began tailoring garments from my bedroom to earn some extra money alongside work. I moved on to making bags quite organically and became fascinated with the traditional craft. Today 10 years on from leaving Northbrook MET I still manufacture my bags in house at my shop based in Shoreditch East London. I currently wholesale my products to 20 stores across Japan and have sold to many London boutiques and department stores over the years. It’s been a real personal push to get the business to where it is today and was by no means easy but without the amazing time and introduction to the industry given to me by Northbrook MET, I wouldn’t be here today. So thank you to everyone at Northbrook!"
charlie borrow shop
"In my final school year, I knew I didn’t want to continue my studies doing A levels. I came across the Level 4 ND in Fashion Clothing & Textiles and just knew that this was the course I wanted to do.The college was a two hour commute but was worth every minute.The curriculum was fun, creative and at times intense, these were the building blocks for my job today.When given assignments you had the freedom to create whatever interested you with all the help and facilities you could ever need. Our tutors, Annabel, Carolyn and Sarah were fantastic, the knowledge they passed down and taught us was industry level.Since graduating from Northbrook I then went on to study Fashion Buying & Merchandising at The Fashion Retail Academy in London. Again another amazing experience!After completing my studies at FRA I looked for employment as a Buyers Admin Assistant. In my year alone graduating from FRA 150 students were also after the same jobs, it was challenging. I didn’t land a role in Buying unfortunately, but I did get a job at Victoria’s Secret for the opening of the UK Bond Street Store as a sales assistant. I worked my way up to Visual Merchandiser and was 1 of 5 in the store.In my spare time I made fashion turbans with oversized embellishments on the front, this came about after I made a Mystic Meg Fancy dress outfit. Friends wanted to buy them, so I carried on selling Via Depop. This then got picked up by the Accessories Buyer at Fenwicks Bond Street of all places; and ended up with my own range in the store. I had a 2 year run selling my turbans in store which was wild and such fun.While self employed I fell pregnant with my now 5year old daughter Suki and decided to move back to Brighton to be closer to family. I worked at the hospital as a receptionist on the weekends as that worked around child care.I started applying for jobs I was interested in, something more creative and came across a Buyers Admin Assistant at a company called Pour Moi. I truly believe this was fate, a Buying role down here in the lingerie sector I already knew so much about! I got the job and have never been more content in a role. This is what I studied to do and have finally come full circle!I know people say it, you should never give up on your dreams, as cliche as it is- it really can happen even when you think you are so far past it.I have now been at Pour Moi for 2 years and am still evolving daily in my role. There is so much to learn and work towards.The role itself is so rewarding, just seeing the lingerie we have created selling and being loved by customers!All in all, it was the classes, knowledge and experience I gained at Northbrook that got me here today and I am so proud of where I started and couldn’t recommend the course enough".
"My time at Northbrook allowed me to extensively explore an eclectic range of design process and technique, along with ample personal time with tutors and technicians. Northbrook college surpasses any other college i have seen when it comes to its facilities. I was introduced fabric dying, print making and industrial knitting as well as pattern cutting, sewing and cultural studies. Staff at Northbrook come with a wealth of knowledge and an energy which pushed me forward, and with the studio space provided i was trusted to work independently both in and outside of class hours.
With hard work, endless support and encouragement i was successful in securing a place on the BA (Hons) Fashion degree course at Kingston University London. Where i continued to develop my skills and push my talents further. At the end of my final year at Kingston i was very fortunate to be awarded the Graduate LVMH prize, securing me a years contract with Christian Dior Couture in Paris."
"Studying at Northbrook was the first time I had proper facilities to really imagine my ideas. With the genuine and professional advice from my tutors, it really prepared me for University and opened my eyes to opportunities in the creative industry. The course was a great insight into both subjects with excellent advice and help from technicians. Having university standard facilities at aged 17 is rare and I certainly appreciated getting this kind of support and skills. After leaving Northbrook I went on to do a BA Textile Design degree at Central Saint Martins in London, winning the Joyce Clissold Scholarship for Printed Textile Design. I am currently in my third year, completing my year abroad in Amsterdam working for fashion designer Bas Kosters and Mediamatic, an arts center dedicated to new developments in Science and Art. I will be going into my final year with strong interests in sensory, sustainable and material futures. It was Northbrook where I first discovered my passion for material and built the confidence to be myself.and room for expression fascinates and inspires me. I also want to learn more about sustainable methods towards design".
“The fashion and textiles course at Northbrook is a highly advanced extensive level of education. The facilities allowed me to be widely creative, with access to amazing equipment along with incredible tutors including Annabel and Carolyn. I felt as though I had taken away such a high standard of education and I truly believe I would not have pursued my career in the fashion industry without the knowledge and training I had at Northbrook.
Since Northbrook I have built up my own sustainable fashion brand alongside my mother (in which she has been in the fashion industry for 30 years) and has been one of my main inspirations. Our brand Reclaimed Roundabout ! We create unique one off garments using preloved denim jeans giving them a new lease of life skilfully turning them into jackets, dresses accessories etc. For all adult ages and genders. We sell online through our Instagram, and are proudly in two boutique shops, Flock in Brighton and Courthouse Cooperative in Hastings. We are super pleased with our denim journey so far and can’t wait to see where the brand takes us”.
“I studied the UAL Level 3 Diploma and Extended Diploma at Northbrook MET College from 2014 onwards and can wholeheartedly say that it was one of the best decisions that I ever made. From the beginning, I was given the facilities and support to flourish creatively. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to follow a design pathway, and the tutors gave me the flexibility to answer briefs in a way that would suit my skillset and portfolio development. From print workshops, life drawing classes, technical sessions and an outstanding library, as well as use of an Apple Mac suite and the opportunity to collaborate with other courses, I was truly taught so much.
I went on to study BA Fashion Promotion at Ravensbourne University London and graduated with a first class honours in 2019. I have had many brilliant opportunities to include interviewing renowned Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov and celebrity stylist Roger K Burton, working at Paris Mens Fashion Week, assisting on campaigns for Daily Paper and Hugo Boss, interning for Stylist Magazine and FGUK Magazine and working at creative agency The Honest Brand for clients globally.
I am currently working as a Content Strategist for a London based beauty e-commerce platform and also freelance for the iconic brand Lipcote & Co. I am part of a creative collective called The Advisory &, and also have my own business selling my art work. If I hadn’t followed my heart aged 16 and been under the incredible guidance of the tutors at Northbrook, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to follow my dreams. I also made lifelong friends during my time there. A debt forever owed to the wonderful souls that teach on the Fashion and Textile Diploma course, who continue to dedicate their time and energy to the future of creativity.”
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“After finishing school I enrolled onto the diploma Level 3 in Fashion and Textiles, which then led to me joining Northbrook’s BA Fashion Design course and graduated in September 2017 with a first-class honour’s degree. The course taught me a broad range of skills that were taught at industry standard. The course was technical, creative and I enjoyed every minute. The technical team was amazing and very supportive. The class environment was small, which I liked compared to other universities as I was receiving more teaching hours. After graduation my course leader put me in touch with VetiGraph Fashion Digital Solutions, a CAD software and hardware company based in Brighton. I was employed as ‘Operation Manager’ which meant I was a contact for support with their clientele. Within a year I was promoted to team manager. I have just celebrated my 4th anniversary and my role now includes managing the team and travelling across the UK and even abroad to meet new customers and set them up with our solutions. ”
“Studying at Northbrook MET College gave me the opportunity to discover and develop my own unique style. During my time on the Level 3 Fashion and Textiles course, I was given the freedom to experiment and push my abilities while also providing an exquisite range of technical facilities. This allowed me to explore different avenues and learn a variety of new skills. I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing staff that put so much time and effort into me and my work. They helped me to believe in both myself and my capabilities which gave me the confidence to work to my highest potential. The two most invaluable things that I learnt from my time at Northbrook are that firstly, art doesn’t have to be perfect. I now realise that there are no mistakes and only discoveries in art. Secondly, I have learnt to be stubborn and stick with my individual style of work. I was taught that it was okay to not fit in with others and to celebrate my organic drawing style and eccentric take on digital print.
Upon leaving Northbrook with a Distinction, I went on to study BA Printed Textiles at Winchester School of Art. I graduated in 2019, and I have spent years devoting my time to honing my craft and developing my signature style. Since finishing University, I have exhibited my work twice at Première Vision in Paris and won a Pattern Award sponsored by Liberty London, two achievements of which I am particularly proud.
I am now a self-employed Print Designer and Artist based in Chichester, West Sussex. I create and sell my own artworks and work on bespoke commissions for my clients. My creativity has been recognised by several notable high street and luxury brands such as Zara and Anthropologie. I am also the designer and co-founder for the Colour Show, a printed lifestyle brand which sells an exclusive range of luxury cushions and silk scarves.
Northbrook MET and the tutors that taught me will always have a very special place in my heart. I am very happy to still be contact with them, and very thankful to have been given the opportunity to host an online workshop with their students. This was a rewarding experience that meant I got to share my skills with like-minded creative individuals through the medium of teaching. I hope to be back in the future to share more of my knowledge with the next generation of students.”
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