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Perry Nelvill - Beyond Graduation

Friday 5 April 2013

All this talk of exiting the cosy and somewhat bubble wrapped world of university, and entering ‘the real world’ has led to a number of quite frankly deep conversations with friends lately. One such conversation blended with one of my ultimate loves- fashion. My friend graduated last year with a degree in Fashion Product and Promotion with the aim of going into fashion design or fashion brand development. Throughout the course it was championed as an entry way into the business, even offering an exhibit in Graduate Fashion Week and yet, a year down the line, those doors haven’t opened yet.

So I was very intrigued when I got an email about an online fashion boutique called Perry Nelvill. They sell the work of recent fashion graduates from the UK, essentially giving them the showcase platform they need.

After looking through the graduates work I was amazed at the talent these individuals had. I find now that more and more clothes designers are playing safe and repeating on us, and yet here is a collection of breathtakingly, painstakingly beautiful clothes. This proves the talent is certainly out there amongst our graduates, so I discussed the concept behind Perry Nelvill with creator and founder Lorna and 2 of my favourite designers on what it takes to make it.

Petra Schultzova:
 Fashion/Innovation pattern cutting postgraduate
 Instituto Marangoni 
Aimee J Ward
 Fashion design with marketing
 University of East London                       

Congrats on Perry Nelvill, it has some truly amazing talent. How did Perry Nelvill come about, and why did you set it up?

Lorna: Perry Nelvill was set up to support new designers at an exciting yet difficult time in their careers when they initially graduate. We provide them with a professional presence on the fashion and textiles marketplace and give various opportunities for exposure whilst allowing them to develop their creative identity. When visiting degree shows, in particular shows out with London, we realised there was some brilliant work being produced. Work which is manifestly individual, exciting and technically excellent. We felt that there were so many graduates with such work who remained un-noticed and found it difficult to gain exposure. We thought it would be amazing to make all this work available to be purchased by people who appreciate British handmade products, want to be completely individual in their style choices and support new designers.  

How do you as a company choose your designers?

L: We visit all the UK shows to select graduates. We look for bold, unusual collections which are very well-made. Additionally, we look at how eager the designer is to succeed, perhaps by past achievements, to ensure that anyone we work with will embrace each opportunity we put their way.  Personally, I like concept based collections where the design process is heavily influenced by a specific thought process and can be followed through to end designs. 

How did you as designers get involved with Perry Nelvill?

AJW: Perry Nelvill approached me after they saw my collection at Graduate Fashion Week, I applied via their website and we went from there!

P: After Graduation fashion show from my BA, they approached me and asked me if I want to get involved and I didn't hesitate as it was a great opportunity.

Does Perry Nelvill work with or mentor the designers at all?

L: We have been heavily involved with a few of our designers not only by providing editorial coverage and such opportunities, but giving additional support when their careers require, such as business advice and fashion show set-up support. Generally, we are here to provide support, advice and opportunity to each individual designer on Perry Nelvill.

Petra Schultzova

As a designer, how would you describe your brands style? What kind of person would wear your designs?

AJW: My designs are very feminine, however they are made unique with the use of unusual fabrics and embellishments. They would be worn by someone who is confident and has an edgy style.

P: It's hard to describe my brand style, it will change with my through the years but the core of my brand is being unisex, tailored, simple cut very structured- playing with patterns and strong prints- which I hope will take people to their own individual fantasy worlds. 

How do you find your creative inspiration?

AJW: Most of my inspiration comes from the beauty of natural forms, my latest collection ‘Sirens’ was inspired by tropical sea anemones, from the shapes to the unusual textures, which made for beautiful embellishments. I also love corsetry and armour - shaping the body, therefore aspects of these always feature in my collections. 

P: How I find my creative inspiration? I just open my eyes and there it is- the world. I can get inspirited from a brush stroke or colour, I just have an open mind to everything and anything and am continually inspired by people and my surroundings. 

So as designers who are eager to succeed, what is your aim for your brand? In the next 5 years what would you like to have achieved with it?

AJW: I would like to continue to create eye-catching high-end unique pieces that will be the basis of my brand. From this I will create a more commercially wearable and affordable range. I have big ideas for my brand and I aim to have it stocked worldwide in the future.

P: I want to develop a style and reputation for good quality clothing and develop a loyal customer base where I can see my clothing being transferred into their lifestyles. 

Do you think there is a big enough market for young, unknown talent right now, especially in the recession?

L: We feel people are less trend-driven now and more focused on saving to purchase a one-off piece they really want.  There has been a flight to quality, reigniting the love for UK made products. Over-the-top extravagant consumption isn’t in favour right now, whereas buying into brands with longevity, quality, individuality and that bit of savour faire is seen as far more desirable.

Aimee J Ward      

The fashion industry is notoriously hard to get into and then make it, what is your one key piece of advice to aspiring designers?

AJW: Do what makes you happy! And if designing makes you happy, work hard and don’t give up on your dream.

P: I could say that enough is never enough, you have to focus, hard- working....etc...but I think we all know it: the fashion industry is very hard and extremely busy with lots going on. I love and appreciate the fast changing climate of fashion. And when you give yourself fully to it, people you design for will appreciate that.

L: Network. Unfortunately nowadays it's who you know, not what you know. It's for this reason that many great artists and designers find it difficult to gain exposure, yet many who are fairly standard manage to get pushed into the spotlight. I hope Perry Nelvill can help change this however having as large a contact book as possible will always stand you in good stead. Additionally, read the press and keep up to date with current news allowing you to develop your own viewpoint on everything, which can not only translate through to your work, but will give you the knowledge and skills to talk about and sell your work to the industry and beyond. 

Finally, if a designer wants to get involved with Perry Nelvill, what would your advice be?

L: We have coverage at all UK degree shows and GFW/ND. Additionally we will be presenting our concept to some universities so students are well informed of the process and requirements. Alternatively, sign up for consideration can be done on our website.  

So with Graduate Fashion Week fast approaching, now is the time to embrace our up and coming talent. Keen fashionista thinking of attending GFW? Then check out the designs of previous graduates at Perry Nelvill. If you are a fashion student, then like Aimee said, don’t give up on what you love, but be prepared to really fight for it.

Who knows, maybe we’ll see you gracing the pages of Perry Nelvill soon?

Website: www.perrynelvill.com
Twitter: @PerryNelvill

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  1. Great post, I love reading something different, and great designers :)

    Now following you on GFC and would be great to get a follow back, if you would like to follow each other? :)

    Be great if you could check out my latest outfit post: Vintage Leather Biker Jacket via Fashion Union

    Thanks! Charlie xx LurchHoundLoves.com | UK Fashion Blog

  2. hey there! great blog, I really love what you've done with the place! LOL :D

    thanks so much for your comment on my nails, I really appreciate it! Big hug! Love your blog name by the way xoxo