Amy Smith

Fashion Accessory Designer

Amy Smith is a successful fashion and textile designer who came to Wilberforce from Malet Lambert to study Art, Textile Design and Graphics Design. After gaining a 2:1 at the University of Huddersfield in Textile Design for Fashion & Interiors, her career has ranged from accessory design to knitwear and menswear design, and she is now a Senior Designer at a global accessories company based in Manchester.

I didn’t fully know what career path I wanted to take when I was at school, but I always knew I enjoyed creative subjects more than anything. I really enjoyed Graphics Design but I didn’t think I was precise enough with my drawing style so Art and Textiles appealed as the other options for me at Wilberforce, as I could be more free-hand and expressive, whilst gaining a broad grounding for a creative career.

Even when I applied to university, I wasn’t completely clear of the job prospects that would come from my chosen degree, I just knew that I would enjoy it. Because of this, I think it’s really important to choose a degree with a year in industry to give you an insight into the types of job that are out there. During my time on work placement, I gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience but also gained a greater understanding of how the skills I learnt at uni could be applied in a design career.  I think it’s a common assumption is that if you do a creative degree that you will automatically go into a Design job. However, because my chosen degree was designing fabrics (rather than garments or an end product), it gave me a greater understanding of the technical side of textiles and the testing requirements needed for commercial products. Some of my friends from the course are now working in Garment Technologist roles or as Buyers – not just Design. 

I look back fondly at my time at Wilberforce. College is a stepping stone between school and university and I felt the set up at Wilberforce enabled me to become independent, and at the same time allowed me to develop my creative and personal skills. I found the tutors in the Art and Design department really helpful, approachable and encouraging. Alongside lessons, college gave me more time to work independently, but the tutors were there for guidance whenever needed, which was great preparation for my further studies after Wilberforce. My confidence and social skills also grew – college life was definitely different to secondary school. Free periods were a new concept that tended to be more of a social time. I also realised the importance of timekeeping and organisation, both of which proved much needed in my degree.

If, like Amy, you’re interested in a design career or applying for a design-related degree, why not have a look at these courses on our website?