One of the great opportunities provided by our Student Design Competition is the chance to get your work seen by our influential judging panel. Drawn from throughout the fashion, design and leather industries, between them, they know design inside out.
Meet the designer – Katie Greenyer
1/ How did you get started?
How I started is a long story but a good one. I will, however, keep it short. I have always known I wanted to be a designer, since I was little. My dad was a graphic designer, so I was able to get a glimpse into the industry early on. And my brother would always bring home really cool magazines like FACE, ID, Melody Maker and NME, and I would read them all cover to cover – I loved fashion and music. And that’s when I came across the coolest brand ever, Red or Dead.
I was just 17 and I decided that I was going to work for that brand. It was owned by a man called Wayne Hemingway, who started the company in the 80’s.
I started stalking him, waiting for him outside his office in London. I approached him as he was coming out and told him I wanted to work for him.
He told me to get lost at first, but then reconsidered and said that he would possibly consider hiring me if I could come up with designs with the title MAD IN ENGLAND?. Feeling a little dejected, I left and headed to Oxford Street to look at the shops. As I was coming out of the tube station, there was a man with a placard saying: “Less passion from less protein: Less Fish, Meat, Bird, Cheese, Eggs; Peas, Beans, Nuts and sitting.”
I thought he was a little mad. So I asked for his name, bought his 12p booklet and took some pictures of him and his placard. I found a Boots, got the photos developed in the one-hour speedy service and returned to the Red or Dead offices. I asked for Wayne, showed him my pictures and the booklet.
He told me I’d better come in.
I started my work-experience straight away and then continued working for Red or Dead whilst attending Liverpool school of art.
I eventually started my own business freelancing for a mix of high fashion and high street designers: Vivian Westwood, Lacroix, French Connection, Jigsaw, Next and many more.
2/ What is the one thing you have done that you are most proud of?
I’m always very proud when a young designer we trained and supported ends up getting a permanent position in our company – or decides to follow their own creative path and forge a successful career.
3/ If you hadn’t become a fashion stylist, what would you have been?
I love making things! So, I think I would have become a sort of ‘maker’. Maybe a gin maker or a stained glass maker. But I love animals too so perhaps I could have been a dog groomer too. I think would have loved to run a donkey sanctuary…
4/ What do you look for in outstanding design?
Wow! This is not an easy question… In my opinion, an outstanding design needs to be original and authentic but, more importantly, it needs to show potential commerciality.
5/ What would you say is the number one quality needed to last in the fashion industry?
I only have a few words of advice for those who not only want to make it into the fashion industry but also succeed: persist and persevere. Persistence is the key to last a long time in this industry.