The students

March 5, 1999

Cutting it in the fashion world

Gemma Marsh. Graduated 1998. Winchester Schoolof Art. BA in fashion

Last year Gemma Marsh won a High Street Excellence award at the British Home Stores Graduate Fashion Week. By the end of the year BHS was selling her jumpers.

"It wasn't part of the award, but they approached me afterwards to ask if I'd work with them to produce a collection. I did knitwear fashion, so they picked up on that, and my jumpers were sold in the shops at Christmas under my own name and label.

"At the moment I'm applying for an MA. Going into BHS set up a name for me, but I want to set up on my own.

"As soon as I finished my degree I found out how small the fashion world is - especially in knitting. Doing an MA would be a way of getting into that world and of developing my own style.

"Hopefully after doing an MA I'll go and work for a larger company and then go on to set up my own label. Or I could go abroad."

Funding? "Bank loans - more debt!"

Jason Denham. Graduated 1994. ManchesterMetropolitanUniversity. BA in fashion design with technology

"I spent a year with a large supplier to Marks & Spencer, and now work in Amsterdam as a product development manager for Pepe Jeans. There are two product development managers - we work together, but my colleague does everything above the waist and I do everything below: combat pants, work pantsI "With a degree like mine, either you set up on your own or you go into the corporate world. The course tried to educate people for a career in fashion design. If we wanted to start up on our own, they gave us the tools to enable us to do that.

"I have friends who have set up on their own and are doing well, though it has been difficult.

"A lot of fashion students have really creative ideas, but in the end they recognise that they have to survive in the real world. Even people who want to do their own thing have to think commercially."

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