Alice Kirkwood is a second-year Fashion Undergraduate student at the University of Brighton. A budding fashion designer, Alice spoke to me about her future aspirations, throwing yourself into the deep end, and how it’s never too late to pursue something you love doing.
So why did you choose to study Fashion?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to make clothes, but there wasn’t a Dressmaking course at college, so instead I went into Fine Art and Illustration. This led me to a degree in Illustration, which I hated because I had absolutely no passion for what I was doing. I left after one year and honestly, I felt a bit crushed from the whole experience. But I pulled myself together, and with Fashion always being in the back of my mind, I decided at 25 to finally pursue it. It’s honestly the best decision I ever made.
Do you think Brighton has been a great source of inspiration to your art?
Brighton is such an incredible place to live. It’s a very liberal place; not only in people’s mindset, but also for what they wear, and who they are. This has definitely encouraged me to be true to myself when approaching projects. You still get that feeling that what you’re doing isn’t right because it doesn’t look like somebody else’s, but you have to push through and hope it will work out.
What would you like to communicate through your work?
I don’t think there’s a specific message I’m trying to communicate, but everything I’ve done has been pent up ideas and inspiration that I’m now able to embody into my work. I had a tough few years after uni the first time round, so I wasn’t being very creative. However, being able to experiment with print this year has been amazing and I’ve found that natural dyes and fabrics are something I would like to work with more. I’ve always loved artists, Gerhard Richter and Zao Wou Ki, so being able to incorporate my experience into art and illustration has been very therapeutic.
Are there any particular designers who inspire your work?
So, so many. Jil Sander, A.W.A.K.E Mode, Freya Dalsjø, The Row and of course Phoebe Philo’s Celine had such an incredible impact on women’s fashion. She will always be such an inspiration to me. Her style is still so prominent in what we wear today. Samuel Drira, Editor of Encens and Creative Director of Nehera, is a great source of research inspiration. He collects amazing photography and artwork in his magazine which is presented beautifully, and he styles incredible shoots.
What are your future plans, regarding your work?
I’m currently going into my placement year, so at the moment I’m just gathering together places I may want to go. Hopefully one of my placements will lead to a job, but I know it’s not always that easy when it comes to jobs in Fashion. I don’t have any plans at the moment for when I finish Uni – I think I’ll just be happy I made it through producing a six outfit collection in final year, where I hope to experiment with print a bit more.
Words: Grace Sowerby
Photography Credits: Rosie Mackay
Model: Zarya Austen-Fell