Graduate to Watch: Sinead Blagbrough, Salford University

Graduate Fashion Week isn’t just for women’s and menswear designers, this year also saw an influx of fashion designers showcasing impressive childrenswear collections, with Salford University’s Sinead Blagbrough scooping the Mothercare Childrenswear Award at the prestigious gala show.

Blagbrough impressed the judges with her “attention to colour, designer and innovation,” for her vibrant 'Two Girls, Two Worlds' collection, and FashionUnited sat down with her to discuss why fashion, the inspiration behind her graduate collection, as well as the challenges she faced designing for the children's market.

Why did you want to be a fashion designer?

“I took the decision to be a fashion designer after many years in the creative field, fashion design allowed my to combine all the skills I favoured from design through to production, as well as allowing me to work in a field constantly evolving and making every project unique and fresh.”

Graduate to Watch: Sinead Blagbrough, Salford UniversityWhat was the inspiration for your graduate collection?

“I was initially inspired by the vibrant colours of the Malibu surf and the style brought by British ready-to-wear runway. This combined to create my collection picking two muses that brought together each element.

“‘Two girls, Two worlds’ finding friendship through being penpals, keen to communicate regularly and share their life differences - a classic London child and a typical Malibu minor. That’s where the story came about that I based my collection and inspiration on.”

What fabrics/techniques did you use?

“I used a combination of fabrics throughout the collection from textured cotton, metallic effect lambskin and scuba combining techniques such as bonding and decorative topstitch to create detaining, on top of sublimation print onto all fabrics used. I sourced all my fabrics in China on a three-week trip, meeting suppliers and fabric showrooms.”

Graduate to Watch: Sinead Blagbrough, Salford UniversityHow did going to China come about?

“My time spent in China involved a collaborative project with fashion students, leading them through a project with the outcome of a finished garment showcased in a fashion show. This gave me great teaching experience with added challenges of working with students that weren’t English speaking.

“I have also been selected to team lead the Chinese summer school when 40 Chinese students are visiting the University of Salford for two weeks, which combines studio work with educational visits.”

What are the signature piece/pieces?

“Signature pieces from my collection would have to be the bonded trench coat, combining a similar style to the iconic British trench but with new fresh colours and fabrics.”

Were there any challenges designing for the children's market?

“Childrenswear always combines extra challenges and restraints, obviously there is a lot more health and safety concerns when designing for children that need to be considered throughout all aspects of design as well as ensuring the designs being produced are relevant for the age range, not being too old or too young in style, colour, print and fabric quality.

“Also ensuring I created something equally as appealing to the children wearing it as well as the adults purchasing the garments, it's important to consider both consumers when designing for the children’s market.”

Graduate to Watch: Sinead Blagbrough, Salford UniversityDid you enjoy your Graduate Fashion Week experience?

“Graduate fashion week was beyond what I expected, I have visited the show in previous years but actually being privileged to showcase my own work gave it an extra, even more, enjoyable experience.”

Why did you choose to study at Salford University?

“Salford University has an amazing reputation as a leading fashion course in the UK. Visiting the university, seeing the facilities and speaking with Bashir Aswat, programme leader, and the other tutors made my decision. Being able to be part of a course that has such inspiring and dedicated tutors helped me to gain the success I have from my degree.”

What was the most valuable thing you learned on your course?

“That hard work is what makes success and that what you think at the time is the best, can always be made better, and the only way to be successful is to constantly evaluate and be critical of your work.”

What do you wish you had been told before you started your degree?

“To enjoy every minute of it as it will be over in a flash.”

Graduate to Watch: Sinead Blagbrough, Salford UniversityWhat advice would you give someone considering studying fashion?

“Be prepared to give it 110 percent and believe in yourself, hard work is needed and at the time it seems like it’s taking over your life but once you finish your degree you will miss it.”

What designer do you most admire?

“I would have to say at present Romio Gigli, after being privileged enough to spend a day with him, gaining an insight into his life as a designer and the processes that gained him success really opened my eyes and inspired me.”

Images: courtesy of Sinead Blagbrough