What I really like about my course is the way it allows me to follow my personal interests, which has helped me a lot in developing my own style and voice as a designer.
More about Essi
What made you choose to study at NTU?
“When I was looking at the partner universities I could apply to for my one-year exchange, NTU really stood out with its high standard of education and links to the industry. The opportunity to study fashion accessory design meant an opportunity to become a more versatile designer, by expanding my knowledge of different materials, manufacturing methods and design thinking.”
What do you enjoy most about your course?
“I really enjoy the problem solving and creativity of fashion accessory design. I love the manufacturing process, and seeing my designs in their final form is really rewarding. What I really like about my course is the way it allows me to follow my personal interests, which has helped me a lot in developing my own style and voice as a designer.”
Has the course included any industry competitions, and if so can you tell us what you enjoyed about them?
“When entering the Student Glove Design Competition, I chose the sports glove category. As an archer myself, I was very excited to design a glove for a sport I’m really keen on; I felt like my passion for the sport itself gave the project a lot more meaning. Entering the competition was a great opportunity to show versatility as a designer by developing a functional product outside the fashion context.
“I also entered The Young and Adventurous Lifestyle Backpack by Guess Handbags category for the 2017 Independent Handbag Designer Awards competition. My design was inspired by travelling and sending letters and cards to your loved ones from the road while following your dream of exploring the world. As an international student living far from home, this was a very personal source of inspiration for me.”
Has the course included any live projects or briefs?
“We had a live project with River Island. It was a group project where we designed and pitched a collection to a River Island representative. I enjoyed the project because of its links to the reality of being a high street designer. Developing a collection in a group was a valuable experience because it taught me more about working in a group of designers towards a coherent collection. Presenting the final collection and getting feedback from an industry professional was also very valuable.”
What inspired your designs for your Degree Show project?
"My designs were inspired by my multidisciplinary background - I was a clothing artisan before university, and studied clothing design in Finland before transferring to NTU to study Fashion Accessory Design. I never felt comfortable specifically calling myself a fashion or an accessory designer, which led me into feeling homeless in the design industry at times. Inspired by this feeling I created my final collection 'Minussa' (Finnish for 'in me'). Minussa is a fashion / accessory hybrid collection that reflects my different sides as a designer by offering contemporary handcrafted leather products with functional twists."
How did you feel when you were announced as the winner of the YKK Accessories Award at Graduate Fashion Week?
"I felt good about the interview I had with the judges the day before the awards were announced, but it was still a shock when they called my name. I was overwhelmed and extremely grateful, especially because the award was sponsored by YKK, a worldwide fastening products group in fashion and accessories. I'm very excited to work with them.
"Applying for the award was a long process with lots of different stages - candidates were nominated by their home universities, shortlisted in the top 10, and later on cut down to the top 5 finalists. It felt unreal to be the one who made it all the way through and won the actual award."
What do you think about the course staff?
“The tutors and technicians are really friendly and supportive. When I first came to NTU, I had no experience in fashion accessory design, which made me worried about how I’d be able to keep up with my classmates. However, a few other students and myself who had transferred from textile design were offered extra manufacturing sessions, which made me feel a lot more confident, and helped me a lot in understanding the essential basics of manufacturing leather products. Even when there is an emphasis on independent learning, students can count on staff for help and guidance when necessary.”
As an international student, what do you like about studying and living in Nottingham?
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Nottingham. It has everything you need, but it is also small enough for you to get to know it really well. There is also always something going on for students.”
What do you think about the facilities available to you?
“The Bonington Gallery provides easy access to the ever-changing art exhibitions. The themes of the exhibitions I’ve been to have been very current and acted as a good source of food for thought. The Bonington shop has been a lifesaver when I’ve run out of small things like tape or blades. All the essential basic equipment for manufacturing can be found there and the fact that it is located in the same building is great. The staff working there are friendly and helpful as well. The City Campus is very lively and enjoyable to study at. All the services are close by, the SU is really nice and the library has a really good selection of books, and the latest journals for art and design.”
In a nutshell, why would you recommend your course / NTU to someone looking to study BA (Hons) Fashion Accessory Design?
“It is a versatile course with very good links to the industry, supportive and professional staff, and a creative atmosphere.”
What are you most looking forward to after you graduate?
“At the moment I´m very excited about the future collaborations that could come out of the contacts I made during GFW, as well as for having my collection showcased at the YKK London showroom. I`m looking to apply for a Fashion Artefact MA at London College of Fashion for next year and hopefully I´ll get to explore that side of fashion even more."