Jessica Prytherch

Art & Design Foundation Diploma

Jessica Prytherch

When did you join CSVPA and what programme did you study?
I came in 2006 and studied the one year Art & Design Foundation Diploma.

After leaving CSVPA which university did you progress onto?
I went to UCA for a 3 year Fashion Design degree. I then did a short course at Central Saint Martins in Fashion Marketing and also Fashion Business at Portobello Business School in London.

How did you start you in your career as a fashion designer?
After my studies I came to Hong Kong and then Guangzhou in China. In Hong Kong I was designing for a company called SML and we supplied to Bloomingdales, I.T Hong Kong, Nordstrom, Aldo, Wet Seal and Me Moi. After moving to Guangzhou I worked for NTD Aparel as a Designer and Buyer supplying Forever21, Wet Seal and Hello Kitty and then for ICON Fashion as a Senior Designer and Buyer where we supplied to New Look, Little Mistress, Paper Doll, ASOS, Monsoon and the in-house label Mised Message. For the last year I have been designing for Caggie Dunlops (from Made in Chelsea TV show) brand ISWAI.

In 2014, I launched my own e-commerce website called Hope and Sky which sells womenswear, menswear and accessories worldwide.

I have also been doing some styling work for online fashion magazine, Elsewhere Magazine.

Looking back did you value the time you spent at CSVPA?
Yes, it was an amazing year! The foundation course gives you a chance to try all the creative routes and was a wonderful year to really push your creative boundaries and have the freedom to try and experiment before focusing yourself on your degree course. The teachers at CSVPA are all so inspiring and really challenge your creativity with new ideas. The teachers are all working artists, which means they are always in the loop with what's happening now in the creative world. Being a part of the End of Year CSVPA Fashion Show was an amazing experience and gives you a chance to showcase your final collection on a real catwalk which most foundation courses don't have. It was an incredible night that I will never forget.

What makes CSVPA so special and unique compared to the other experiences and training you had after leaving school?
At CSVPA you get your own workspace which is so valuable when you are working on a creative project - you also get to see your tutors everyday, 5 days a week which again is such a help when you have a question and don't have to wait weeks to speak to your tutor like you do at university. Again, the fact that the tutors are working artists outside of CSVPA means they are current and know what is happening in the creative world.

In what ways did CSVPA help you get onto the career path you followed?
The foundation course at CSVPA is such a high standard that it means you have the choice of the best universities in the world to study for your degree. When I was there, London College of Fashion (UAL) and Cental Saint Martins (UAL) came to our studios to meet us and see our work before we even applied giving us advice about portfolio work. The standard of CSVPA students is so high because the teaching is so good and the fact that these universities came reflects this.

Are there any highlights that stand out as best memories?
The end of year fashion show and exhibition were my highlights - as a kid I was lucky enough to live in Cambridge and was invited to the CSVPA fashion shows from a young age. They are so inspiring it definitely had an influence on my future decision to go into the fashion industry and follow this creative career path.

What would you say to a student who is looking to become a Fashion Designer like you?
I would recommend doing the foundation course at CSVPA before doing a fashion degree and then do as many work placements with top brands as possible to get experience and find the companies you would like to work for.

What would you say to a student who is thinking of coming to study at CSVPA?
Have a wonderful time - enjoy Cambridge which is such a beautiful city and also so inspiring. Go to all your Life Drawing classes and take advantage of the great tutors who are there to help you achieve your full creative potential. Plus, I would say I'm jealous as I would love to come back for a year and study at CSVPA all over again :)

"You get your own workspace which is so valuable"

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