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Volunteering In The Fashion Industry


Volunteering and offering help and guidance to others is something that is crucial not only in the fashion industry, but in many others.  We often learn best from those that have developed skills and are able to offer their time to help us to grow and expand on our knowledge.  This is something Melissa knows only to well.  Aside from her own education here at the FTA, Melissa has been volunteering on weekends to assist many projects.

When she was 16 years old Melissa had the opportunity to attend a workshop called Fashion Futures, led by the award winning charity F.A.D, which offers young people the opportunity to get ahead in creative careers and pathways.  Here the young student spent 10-weeks learning and mastering the basics of pattern cutting and garment construction.  Upon completing this, she was given the opportunity to showcase a design during London Fashion Week and since she has been volunteering as a tutor in a hope to inspire young people to get into the fashion industry.

Now an apprentice for Marks & Spencers, Melissa studies at the Fashion Technology Academy one day a week.  A collaboration with Fashion Enter, Haringey Council, DWP and global e-tailer ASOS.com, the FT was opened in 2015 offering level 1 – 4 courses.  The FTA is the first apparel manufacturing training academy in the country to operate alongside a live Factory and Fashion Studio ensuring that students gain exposure to real ‘Best of British’ manufacturing whilst training for their qualifications. The FTA has been created to train a new generation of skilled workers ensure that the UK apparel manufacturing sector continues to thrive.  

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Spending her weekends volunteering Melissa has been extremely busy over the last few weeks.

On Saturday 25th January 2017, Melissa was presented with the opportunity to speak to young people at the V&A.  Here she discussed the fashion industry and her personal experience with Fashion Futures.  Alongside four other Fashion Futures graduates, Melissa was able to answer key questions and share her tips for balancing school, college and other commitments to ensure her future is bright! 

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On Saturday 31st January, Melissa was asked to lead a workshop at Hackney Community College which outlined the basics of pattern cutting.  Here she demonstrated her skills, providing hands on experience for the young students in attendance by showing them how to manipulate a bodice block and skirt block.

On her volunteering experience Melissa comments;

“Volunteering and speaking to young people is an incredible experience! I want to inspire younger people to get into the fashion industry through teaching them the skills that I have attained over the years, giving advice from personal experience and encouraging future talent!”

To find out more about Melissa’s talk at the V&A click here

To read more about what the young students she has helped so far, click here.

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