Being a sportswear designer is a pretty cool career choice. We thought we'd find out a little bit more about sports clothing design so we asked our designer Emma some questions. Emma's not only a designer but she's an athlete too - she's just been part of an amazing world record cross channel swim!
When did you decide that you wanted a career in fashion design? I've always been relatively creative and have enjoyed sewing, knitting and drawing since I was young. Fashion design was actually my second choice of degree as I had originally wanted to study Performance Costume and go into theatre and the arts (I didn't get onto the course though, so fashion design it was!) It was definitely the best decision in the end!
What subjects did you do at school?
Standard Grades included, Art & Design, Graphic Communication, Administration, English, Maths and History. I then did Highers in Art, Graphics, English and History and then Advanced Highers in these 4 subjects too.
Did you do a fashion design course at college/university? Which one?
I studied Fashion Design for Industry at Heriot Watt University (based at their Galashiels campus in the Scottish Borders - an area famous for its woolen mills and knit houses). The course was focused more on designing fashion for manufacture and looking at wearable fashion rather than conceptual design.
What was the first thing that you ever designed and then made?
Good question! The first term of university was to help us find our feet, and to start picking up the skills we'd need for the rest of that year and subsequent years after that. I designed a skirt in the first few weeks with yellow and blue flowers printed on it - it was ghastly! We also had a module on shirt development; where we had to design and then make a shirt to be worn at a presentation to the course leaders - I can't actually remember what it looked like (which is probably a good thing) but I still remember (and use) a lot of the fundamental sewing and construction skills we learnt in the process of making it.
Did you always plan on designing sportswear? How did that come about?
Not exactly. I was always drawn to the functionality of clothing and why we wear certain things when we do. I have also always been heavily involved in sports and exercise myself so I suppose the two elements naturally merged together after I finished university and started to look for jobs in the design industry. Sportswear is very tactile and has to be designed in a way that understands the body and how it moves, I found this easier when I related to how I wear clothes when training and the pros and cons of certain elements.
Who are your favourite designers?
I like Aitor Throup and the way he merges functionality with aesthetic. I worked in his studio for a short time after I graduated - I've never met someone with a closer eye for detail in my life! In terms of sportswear, Lululemon and Charlie Cohen are doing some interesting things with ladies and girls fitness wear and Nike are always at the forefront of consumer sportswear, regularly introducing new and innovative fabrics and styling details.
What is you favourite sportswear brand (asides from everactiv!) and why?
Aside from the ones mentioned above, I'd probably say either Sweatty Betty - their use of colour is always spot-on and their all over print designs are pretty funky - or Stella McCartney for Adidas - I love the way she seamlessly combines a high fashion on trend look with functional, fit-for-purpose sportswear, blurring the lines between work-out gear and high street fashion.
Any tips for a people looking to get into fashion design?
Experience really is key, and lots of it...whether that's working at the weekend in a clothes shop or volunteering with a dress seamstress, anything that brings you up close and personal with clothes and how they work will be hugely beneficial. Also, evidence of the level of interest you have in fashion design will help in the early stages of university applications; such as designing and making your own clothes, embellishing t-shirts and accessories you already own or learning to knit/crotchet.
|Numeric age*||Age 7/8||Age 9/10||Age 11/12||Age 13+|
|cm/inches||Age 7/8||Age 9/11||Age 12/13|
|Unisex Kids Hoodies Chest||86/34||92/36||98/39|
|Unisex Kids Hoodies Sleeve Length||43/17||47/19||51/20|
|Boys T-Shirt Chest||78/31||82/32||89/35|
Adult Hoodies and T-Shirts
|Hoodie Sleeve Length||58/29||59/23||61/24||62/24||64/25|