When I found out I had an interview with Cohen and Wilks in February, I wanted to do all I could in preparation for this. I didn't feel confident about my interview techniques, and I was feeling excited but also nervous. Cohen and Wilks is situated in Leeds and this was where I wanted to stay to complete my placement year, and many students have recommended the company from their past experience there.
In my design development module, we were advised that if we had time to produce an extra project for the company, showing how your skills can be related to them. This, to begin with sounded like a lot of work but I wanted to be remembered at this interview and this seemed the best way. I did a little bit of research into the company when I was applying for the placement, and found out they supply clothing to a number of high street stores. George at ASDA was one on the list and I decided to complete a childrenswear project for them, as I haven't got much experience in this sector of fashion.
I started by looking into George at ASDA as a company; their history, website and future products were just a few sections I wrote about. This was very interesting for me to look into and I felt more prepared for the interview just by doing this small amount of research.
Next I looked at their current products for girls and boys aged 4-12 years. This allowed me to see shapes, style, colour, print and fabrics and also enabled me to get a feel for the childrenswear sector so that I could analyse trends and predicted shapes to see how well they would work in a collection for George.
After this I researched childrenswear trends for Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 on WGSN and began to look at colours, shapes, moods and concepts of these trends. This was quite different to menswear and womenswear trends as they were less about the world around them but the experiences and lifestyles that you lose as an adult. The predicted shaped I looked into were coats and jackets, which incidentally is the area Cohen and Wilks provide the most garments in for chidrenswear.
Next was the creative part, and the most fun part for me, creating moods for both the boys and girls collections. The boys collection was called "Nostalgic Nature", which inspired the mood for my current Design Development project for Burton Menswear. And the girls collection was called "Favourite Fantasy". I then designed a page of jackets for each collection, and analysed them by hand after they were printed.
All this was completed on Illustrator, to show my skills in using this design package. As simple as this project looks, it was designed this way. Each decision in terms of layout, colour and font were all thought about carefully to display the right feel for the project and to provide clarity in my work.
I was told during my interview that this was a really good idea to do in preparation for the interview and is something I will probably aim to do as part of my research for future job interviews. It creates a good starting point for a conversation and also allows the company to see research and skills based purely on them. I would advise other designers to try this in their interviews, it will definitely make you stand out!
All images are of my own work; trend images are from wgsn.com; information about George and the current collections are from http://direct.asda.com/george/clothing/10,default,sc.html.