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7 Questions with a Fashion Design Student: Megan Mustill

By Maisie Abell

Meg is 20 years old and from Brighton. She is in her second year at Leeds Arts University studying Fashion Design. She loves spending time outdoors and baking carrot cake.

What made you choose fashion design?

It was a really last minute, on the spot choice when I was applying to colleges. I thought I was going to do History, Textiles and Photography [at A Level] at a different college. Then I saw a Textiles course at the college that I ended up going to and I just went with that and actually really liked it. I carried it on to degree level because I enjoyed it. I always enjoyed sewing as a child too but it never struck me that that’s what I could do as a full career until I got to college. Then I realised I can actually do this for the rest of my life.

What or who are your main design inspirations?

I feel like for each new project that we do I research into completely different and new designers but I’d say one that keeps popping up is Christopher Raeburn. I love his work - it’d be my dream brand to work for in the future. He’s so sustainable and that’s massive at the moment. I find it really interesting the way he takes old stuff, like parachutes, and turns it into something completely new. Christopher Raeburn is definitely the stand out for me, but there are some similar feel designers - people like Craig Green. I also take inspiration from a lot of things around me in my life. I did a project in college where I used my own train tickets in my garments, and I live by the beach which comes into my work all the time without even realising it. For example, I did a water sports bag for my project last term.

What’s your take on the fashion industry right now?

Very cut throat. I hate it even though I’m going into it, I hate it. I couldn't think of anything worse to be honest. Especially going to graduate fashion week last year, it’s just one massive competition. Who can be the best? Who can get in there? Who is left out? And it’s so fast pace. You go into Primark one day and it’s this stuff and then you go a week later and it’s completely new stuff. WHAT! It’s so fast. But then on the flip side you’ve got these new brands which are coming in that are trying to do slow-fashion. It’s two completely different sides of the stick and there’s not much in the middle - I feel like we need to create that middle bit now. People throw away way too many of the clothes that they own whereas they could turn them into something new - I’ve turned old dressing gowns into cushions because I don’t want to throw them away. People are so quick to think “I’ve worn that three times, I can’t wear that again, that’s going straight in the bin”, give it to charity if you don’t want it or make something new out of it.

Who are your current favourite fashion designers?

I kind of already answered this with Christopher Raeburn but originally I was really interested in 1950s - Balenciaga, Christian Dior. That’s what got me into fashion back in college and all my garments were that style and feel, whereas now I’m branching off.

Expectations vs. reality for a fashion design student

Expectations are what everyone thinks it’s going to be - easy, that you have to follow specific directions and not much work. The reality is you spend your life doing work, it’s so vague - you’re constantly thinking “what am I doing and what do I need to do? I have no ideas what I’m doing” and I’ve never do so much work in my life. I’ve surprised myself with the amount of work that I’ve actually been able to do. It’s a lot of 3:00AMs…

How would you describe your personal design style in three words?

This isn’t three words at all but not how I expected it to be when I look back a couple of years - it’s changed a lot. I’d say it’s quite everyday with a wacky twist. And I hate women’s, I like men’s.

What do you want to do in the future?

I have no idea. Something to do with menswear and fashion. Whether that’s tailoring, making suits or costume for theatre or film, anything like that. But hands-on making, not drawing or designing - I hate drawing. If I went into tailoring I’d want to make suits that you would literally have forever without even realising. Not branding it as ‘slow fashion’, but ‘timeless pieces’ that are hardwearing and stay in people’s wardrobes forever.

Special thanks to Megan Mustill