Lydia Ferguson, shares her journey to becoming a fashion designer for Careers in the Creative Industries Week.
I went into fashion as I loved art and clothes and wanted to combine these two together. At secondary school I was lucky enough to go on a fashion course with established designers and from there my goal to be a fashion designer began. I did a foundation degree in fashion and then went onto a full 3 year fashion degree at Kingston University.
My 3rd year final project was called Tribal Highlands. The theme for my graduate collection started off by looking at a group called ‘hyena men’ in Nigeria. They wear brightly coloured kilts mixed with a leather rap around. The kilts are textured with tassels and have a striking tartan pattern. These hyena men entertain the people of their local village by walking hyenas up and down the street and getting them to dance while they play drums, and chant with bells on their ankles. I took everything into account when looking at materials and texture. I took ideas from the hyenas’ fur and the muzzle they wore on their faces. Inspiration also came from the clothes – the bold kilts paired with simple sports tops that they wore.
From this I looked into Scottish heritage as the kilts were linked. I took aspects from traditional Scottish wear and combined it with inspiration from the hyena men to create something avant garde. I also looked into different tribes in West Africa that use bold costumes for events.
Both Scottish and Nigerian culture is very personal to me, having a Nigerian partner and Scottish family, so I wanted to explore these cultures more and dig deep to find some golden treasures that not everyone would know about.
My collection made it to 2017 Vogue collection and was used in a music video by artist Cakes Da Killer, who really liked the style and colours I used.
Most of my work as a fashion designer comes from looking at cultures and I am drawn to pattern and colour within these, whether through the clothes worn or through their art.
Fashion is not for the faint hearted. You have to be very tough-skinned, take criticism on the chin and be very dedicated. If you are driven, hardworking and ready to put fashion as the centre of your life then you will go far.