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GFW19: Meet Amy McCann, whose dissertation was the inspiration for her own fashion collection

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Graduate Fashion Week 2019 has come to a close, but the celebrations aren’t over yet - we’ve been catching up with the designers behind some of our favourite collections. Today, we're chatting to Amy McCann of Nottingham Trent University.

If one thing was made clear at GFW19, it’s that the fashion industry isn’t one for the faint of heart. The attention to detail in every collection was admirable, and the level of dedication and time necessary for such results hardly bears thinking about. Nottingham Trent  graduate Amy McCann knew that, though.

“I've always been really interested in style, since I was very young," she says. "My parents said when I was around six I would always talk about wanting to be a fashion designer, but I always changed my mind so they never thought it would stick!

"Although I've always loved illustrating… when it came to choosing a university and course I knew fashion would be the only subject I would be passionate about - and determined enough to stick through all the sleepless nights and complete the mountains of work.”

Image credit: Georgie McGrath at NTU

And complete the mountains of work she did: her graduate collection is an absolute triumph. Fine knitwear in every shade of red and pink, from candy floss to cherry, comes in the form of sleek wide leg trousers, slinky bralet-style tops, and sophisticated asymmetric midi skirts. Fluffy socks, puff sleeves and satin platforms heels add freshness, and all of these components combine to reflect the modern woman who is neither one thing nor the other, but a complex combination of many.  

Amy has reclaimed the colour pink and made it an empowering addition to any millennial wardrobe - but more important than colour in this collection is shape.

Amy says: “The inspiration for my collection came from my dissertation: I explored how in social media advertisements for women, bodily enhance[ments] are the forefront of our feeds and have a strong influence on the way we act around them. These adverts have such an impact of us, not only due to the advertised body [many] would dream to achieve…celebrities celebrate plastic surgery in a way which makes it almost normal to spend thousands on changing the way we look.

“Transferring this information into my collection, I began by using historical influences that change the female form, this being corsets and power suits - generally garments which enhance or [add] features to certain body parts.

"Naturally this all lead to using conceptual artists such as LucyandBart and Birgit Dieker, who inspired organic shapes, and the general feel of progression for my collection.

Image credit: Georgie McGrath at NTU

It’s clear from Amy’s words that a huge amount of research and effort went into this collection, but she’s no stranger to the work required in the fashion industry.

“Before I began final year I was on a sandwich year where I worked for Rebecca Taylor - a high end womenswear company in New York - where I assisted the print and embellishment team," she says.

"Working in New York influenced me more than the actual placement did, I would say… I come from a textiles background [so] print, embroidery and embellishment are all things I'm comfortable with.

"After New York I came back to Nottingham, where I worked for a supplier, Roy Lowe & Sons. I really enjoyed this placement as I worked directly with buyers from high street and saw my own designs go in to production, which was exciting."

So having already seen her designs go into production, how did it feel finally seeing her own collection on a runway?

“At Nottingham Trent we are lucky enough to have two runways," Amy says; "so we have one with university, where it's a massive relief to say you've actually managed to finish a collection, although you are filled with nerves in case it doesn't go to plan.

"And then, if you are selected for Graduate Fashion Week, that's when I guess it seems more real. For GFW I generally don't really remember seeing it on the runway - it goes so quickly, mostly just like a flash of colour, which you know is your collection, and then it’s over. 

"The whole day doesn't really seem real until it ends, as to say your work has been shown of the GFW runway is such a massive achievement.”

Image credit: Georgie McGrath at NTU

Now the rush of GFW is over, Amy’s focus has swiftly returned to the future.

“I hope to find a position in womenswear design in London. This would be my ideal goal for post-graduation, however as it's my first job I'm obviously open to starting somewhere and working my way up to that point.”

With hard work in no short supply from Amy McCann, we’re sure this goal is more than achievable.  

You can follow Amy on Instagram here.

More GFW19 content and coverage can be found here.

Lead image credit: Georgie McGrath at NTU




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