Amelia kraushaar

Amelia Kraushaar

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds? 

Before this degree, the closest knowledge I had to anything fashion related was a GSCE in textiles which I really enjoyed. For A-Levels, I did Maths, Psychology and Fine Art, so nothing fashion design related! However, I knew I always wanted to do something in the creative industry and that I quite liked shopping! I just wasn’t sure degree to apply for. In June of the first year of A-levels, I decided to explore the idea of doing Fashion further by attending Graduate Fashion Week. This is a showcase of all the Universities around the UK that do Fashion degrees. Before going to this event, I never even knew the University of Leeds did degrees in fashion. I thought it was a university that only did academic courses. Upon attending Graduate Fashion Week, I discovered the Leeds stand and was amazed at the quality of work and by how friendly all the tutors were to me. From there, I knew that this was a place that I wanted to apply to and in the end the course was the perfect balance between academia and design.

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most? 

Overall, I have enjoyed all aspects of the course. Throughout the degree the work has become more independent which I love as now I am working on collections that I am really passionate about and connected to. Even in first year, although there is always a brief, there is still enough freedom to be able to explore areas and themes that are of interest to you which is always good.

Being able to work in the Clothworkers building and especially the studio has been great. It’s such an amazing room and the technicians are so supportive, so you are really able to develop your pattern making skills to make clothes! They have now just upgraded all the sewing machines and they are really lovely to use. Moreover, within all the modules, there is room to develop print, knit, laser, 3D printing and more. Being able to access all this equipment to experiment with has been great fun and expanded my knowledge deeply. 

One of the highlights of the course was my placement year. Although getting a placement can be tough, the rewards of doing one are endless and has made final year much more enjoyable. 

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I just love fashion, clothes and shopping so naturally that makes me passionate about doing a degree in Fashion Design. Undertaking a degree in Fashion Design is definitely not for the faint hearted as there is lots of coursework and it can be quite stressful at times. However, just by enjoying it, it makes it much more fun, so even when it is stressful it’s never too bad!

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself? 

Personally, I have been an active member of women’s lacrosse. Although I am not the best player, I have made friends for life and always have a brilliant time at all the socials that usually take place every Wednesday! Live, Love Lax! If lacrosse isn’t for you there are so many sports societies, all of them having social members as well as teams so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t played before.

In my second year, I was also able to help out with the Leeds Rag Fashion Show. This is the largest student-run event in Leeds that takes place every year in the union, all with the aim to raise money for different chosen charities. I was chosen to be the hair stylist for the event, and although I don’t know much about hair, I had a great time. I was responsible for designing all the hairstyles for 100 models and managing a team of 20 hairstylists across 2 show nights as well as working on promotional shoots. Not only did this help with my CV, but it was a great way to make friends and I made some great memories. I would definitely recommend getting involved as there are so many roles that they need filling every year.

There are so many societies and activities at Leeds that you can find anything that you may be interested in. It is definitely worth getting involved!

Did you take a work placement or study abroad year? If so, where did you go? how did you find this experience and what have you gained from it?

For my year in industry placement, I worked as a design assistant for a supplier and the experience I got from it was unimaginable. I attended weekly meetings with senior buyers and designers from across the industry, sometimes showing them my designs. Some of these have been picked and now it’s up on their website or in store which is pretty cool. I worked with companies such as: Crew Clothing, Jack Wills, Asos, Aligne, Whistles, Whitestuff, Next and French Connection. It was an amazing way to network too. I also was lucky enough to go to Florence and Copenhagen during my placement year to visit fabric fairs and shows such as Pitti Uomo and Ciff. I got so much from my placement year and it is clear that these skills have helped me in final year, both in practical design skills but also work ethic and time management skills. Once graduating, I am fortunate enough to return to my placement but this time as Designer and Account Manager. 

How do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with your career plans?

Without Leeds, I wouldn’t have been able to get the placement that I got which has led me to my first job in the fashion industry once I graduate. The course prepares you for the key areas of the industry and had been able to bring in new technologies into the course as they become more relevant, one of them being Clo-3d. The assignments are aimed for different levels of the fashion industry providing a breath of knowledge for whatever sector you go into after. There is opportunity to figure out what you are passionate about and to explore it in depth, for me I have loved using the laser machine to develop really interesting patterns. 

The School of Design environment is always welcoming, and it has taught me that hard work and determination pays off. With the course being small in numbers in comparison to a lot of degrees it allows you to create really good relationships, both with students and staff alike, even across different courses as well as within the school. All these connections and people skills will be valuable for the rest of my career.

What advice would you give to incoming students who are about to start their own university journey?

Go for it and have fun! As much as everyone says that university will be the best time of your life it will be challenging but that’s okay because everyone is experiencing it together and it is a big change in your life. Make the most of the opportunities that Leeds enables you to have (there’s a lot) and enjoy it! It’s normal to be nervous or anxious but university is the time to take the leap of faith, make mistakes to learn from and to have a good laugh with so many different people from different backgrounds!