Fashion student Emma Glynn has put her foot on the first rung of the style career ladder before she’s even finished her degree course at Kingston University. She has already caught the eye of Italian clothing brand, Max Mara, which has snapped her up to work on its Weekend range this summer.
Her placement at the leading label isn’t the only success Emma has notched up to date. She has just discovered she is one of the students set to showcase her final-year collection at Graduate Fashion Week which launches this Sunday 7 June. She has based her collection on the way clothes are used in art and how garments can often appear ambiguous. “My research inspired me to put together a range of womenswear, adapted from men’s garments, she said. “One of my designs is based on a man’s trench coat which I sourced from a charity shop so that I had a 3D piece to work from.” said Emma. “By tucking in the shoulders and putting in darts, I was able to create a coat which retains the masculine undertones but has a more feminine silhouette.”
The collection features a range of fabrics including satins, wool and silk. There are original silk prints inspired by Andy Warhol, which feature a series of Emma’s hand-drawn sketches from photographs of herself. The starting point for another print was a painting by Emma’s art teacher mother Julie Glynn, which has been given a new lease of life since Emma discovered it tucked under the sofa at her parents’ home. Both prints have been sponsored by textile designers, The Silk Bureau.
The 22 year old admits that the decision to move from her home in Nottingham to study fashion at Kingston was a hard one to make but is one she hasn’t looked back on since. “Kingston came highly recommended so I went along to a couple of open days and thought it had a great vibe” said Emma. “All the disciplines seemed to come together - and it helped that my Dad, Tim liked the place as well.”
Emma first caught the eye of bosses at Max Mara after she submitted a portfolio of design ideas for a student design competition run by the label earlier this year. One of just 10 finalists invited to attend an interview, her work earned a special mention at the awards ceremony. “I was the first interview of the day so I knew I had to pull out all the stops and set a high standard,” Emma said.
Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Just a month later, Max Mara’s creative director Ian Griffiths called the University to ask if he could come and talk to Emma. “I was absolutely delighted when Ian told me that there was a 90 per cent chance Max Mara wanted to offer me a job. It really is an amazing opportunity. I’ve absorbed such a lot over my three years at Kingston and because the courses are so vocationally based, it’s prepared me really well for the move into industry”.
Kingston University fashion lecturer Andrew Ibi said Emma’s final-year collection was bound to get the fashion show audience talking. “It combines excellent research and design processes with contemporary and modern design aesthetics,” he said. “Emma’s collection appears effortless and understated with the cutting, fabric selection, and her execution of the complex design process driving the garments. The outcome is a sensitive, professional, modern and very desirable collection,” Mr Ibi said.
Clothing isn’t Emma’s only speciality. She’s also had a chance to put her talents to shoe designing in a one-off project for British shoe manufacturer, Church’s this year. “My Dad has contacts there and managed to organise a tour of their factory in Northampton for me on one of my weekends home,” recalls Emma. “I had the chance to see the shoemaking process from start to finish and couldn’t believe it when I was offered the opportunity to come up with designs for a shoe collection for them. It was a real challenge, translating what I know about clothing into shoes and producing something creative but which keeps Church’s traditional values,” Emma said.
With a prestigious summer job already under her belt, Emma is looking forward to the culmination of all her hard work when she gets to unveil her designs at Kingston University’s Fashion Show this coming weekend. “It’s every young designer’s dream to see their clothes on the catwalk and it’ll be even more special having my mum and dad in the audience after all they’ve done in helping me to get here,” Emma said.