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Hannah 1

Hannah ready to fashion a catwalk career thanks to University Centre

BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Garment Technology graduate Hannah Miller believes her time at York College University Centre has equipped her with the confidence and skills to break into a competitive industry.

Despite living in Middlesbrough, Hannah chose our degree course as it “really stood out” and was worth the 100-mile round trip.

She subsequently achieved 100% attendance and admits she is already missing being on Campus.

Hannah had previously dropped out of her studies at Nottingham Trent University due to crippling anxiety and returned to her family home in Middlesborough.

Even though she is a self-confessed “northern girl”, however, the course helped Hannah reach a stage in her well-being where she could thrive during a two-week placement in London with menswear fashion label Orlebar Brown.

During her time in the capital city, she received glowing reports for her outstanding contributions to the research and development of the next season’s collections, which were deemed beyond the company’s expectations of an intern.

She was also entrusted with shop-floor reporting duties at flagship stores Selfridges and Liberty.

Reflecting on her three-year course at Sim Balk Lane, Hannah enthused: “York College was somewhere I really wanted to be, and the support of staff was great. If I was a little late travelling in from Middlesbrough, they understood.

“We did a lot of things that were linked to the industry, including work experience. I was always going to miss College when I left but, for everybody on the course, your time there sets you up in a really good way.

“I took a gap year before starting my degree and the course really stood out when I looked at options quite local to me. We were really lucky to have some of the equipment that’s at the College and did a lot of 3D pattern cutting which is very niche.

“There was also a community feel on my course. We had smaller classes than you might have at other universities, but I don’t feel we missed out because of that and, if anything, we benefitted from it.”

Hannah added the experience she gained putting together her final collection for the course and on her work placement was invaluable as she looks to make her first strides towards a career in the fashion industry.

She has already landed a new job as a Visual Merchandising Specialist Manager for River Island and declared: “With my final collection, I now feel that I stand out when I’m being interviewed because of that. Doing the collection was amazing and really exciting stuff.

“Every staff member was involved and the support we had from (course leader) Becky (O’Leary) was fabulous. We did multiple presentations and were shooting our look-books and making our final videos. You put your heart and soul into it, so it’s nice to see the finished pieces at the end.

“For my placement in London, I’m very much a northern girl so that was a great experience and I think it really stands out now on my CV. It was great to see the spring/summer collection launch this year from the work we did two years ago.

“I sat on the design team and went into Selfridges and Liberty to do shop-floor reporting to look at what competitors were doing. We also did CAD (Computer-Aided Design) designs and presented to the company’s head designer which was terrifying but another great experience.

“It helped my confidence massively, because we learned these things in the classroom but, to see them happening in the workplace, is amazing. It was comforting to know that what we were doing was useful, especially as we were using the same software as they were.”

Hannah is now busy making her first inroads into a profession that often rewards those who demonstrate a determination to seek opportunities in its multi-varied facets.

“I’m interviewing for some entry-level positions in the industry, and I’ve just joined a northern fashion magazine called Sunday Girl, whose aim is to empower women,” Hannah said. “I went to London Fashion Week with them in September and they’re presenting me with some amazing opportunities.

“I run the website for them at the minute, as website design was one of the many different skills we learned as part of the course. I’ve also done some work placements since finishing College to show that I’m keen and I’m actively looking for opportunities.

“It’s a competitive industry, but I’ve had some really positive feedback so far and I feel I’ve got the skills I need now, which is great.”

Hannah with her fellow Graduation Day 2023 winners