More about Alyssa
Why did you want to study at postgraduate level and why did you choose NTU?
I graduated from my BA in Textiles in 2015, and immediately went into visual merchandising. While this was an interesting career that took me to lots of places and taught me lots of skills, I knew I would always want to get back into knitwear design. Doing an MA seemed like the best way to get my foot back in the door and touch up on my skills and knowledge. NTU has an amazing reputation for knitwear, so for me it was an easy choice.
Why did you choose to study your course?
I have always been interested in fashion and textiles as my father was Paolo Gucci, the former vice-president and managing director of Gucci. I come from a very creative family, but until I started my BA I hadn’t ever really thought of a career in knitwear. Had I known I’d find such a passion for it I probably would have done my BA at NTU as well, as the facilities are amazing. There are not many knitwear specific courses around so to have that specific focus is only going to be a bonus and increase your skills and understanding further.
How have you found the course facilities?
The facilities really are very good. There is such a vast range of machinery and resources to use, you can really flex your skills. Being able to use Shima Seiki software is quite rare at student level as well, so that is a great opportunity to have. Plus, the technicians and lecturing staff are really supportive and very knowledgeable, it’s been great to have their guidance along the way.
Have you worked on any live briefs or competitions?
I worked on the Rebel Tartan Project set by Juliana Sissons, which is great for anyone with a passion for climate change as the outcomes will be showcased at the UN Climate Conference in Scotland. It has been a really collaborative experience, and we’ve even worked virtually with students at Bunka University in Japan. Collaboration and discussion is very much encouraged at NTU.
Has your course included any guest speakers or industry trips? What have you enjoyed about this?
Unfortunately, due to Covid there hasn’t been any trips this year. However, one bonus of life going online is that we’ve been able to have a wide variety of guest speakers give lectures virtually, that otherwise might not have been able to do it in person, for example zero-waste fashion designer Holly McQuillan who is currently based in Sweden. There’s been so many inspiring talks this year and opportunities to ask lots of questions. Some guest speakers also gave tutorials which was really beneficial to have that external viewpoint from someone in industry.
What three words would you use to describe Nottingham?
Vibrant, up-and-coming, diverse.
What do you think of the creative and cultural scene in Nottingham? Is Nottingham a good city for an Art & Design student?
Nottingham is quite a compact city but there’s lots to do and lots going on, meaning lots of opportunity for inspiration! The Contemporary has some really interesting exhibitions, but there’s some smaller galleries too, and in general there are so many independent businesses in Nottingham that it feels like there is creativity everywhere you go.
Where would you recommend visiting in Nottingham?
Sneinton Market is great for checking out some independent brands in Nottingham and they have a fab market every other Saturday. Hockley has some amazing foodie places and bars. If you want to get back to nature a bit, Wollaton Park is a really nice spot for a weekend stroll!
If you could give new students some advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to experiment or push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s hard to do and sometimes a bit scary, but you’ll learn so much more. Work hard and make the most of opportunities that come up but have fun and make sure to give yourself a break now and again too. Trust the process and be confident in yourself and your ability. You’re here for a reason!
What do you think of the course staff?
Everyone is very open and easy to talk to and full of ideas; tutorials have always been super helpful and inspiring. There is a great range of knowledge across the course from different staff so there is always someone whose brain you can pick! I think the staff are very supportive as well and their emails are always open.
Have you used any of the student support services or NTU’s Employability team? How have you found this experience?
I have used the employability team whilst here at NTU fairly recently, now that I’m thinking of applying for jobs and what my next steps are. It has been useful to get CV advice and support with job applications, and how to approach brands. The team are friendly and it is very easy to book appointments. They also have advice about other job options such as freelancing, and I have signed up to ‘Future You’ so that I can still access support after I leave NTU, which I think is a great service.
What’s next for you after NTU?
I am currently applying for knitwear design roles and keeping open minded about where those jobs might be. I’m also considering free lancing, if need be, so that I can continue to develop skills whilst working in industry and gaining experience. In the more distant future I think I would also like to get into teaching/ lecturing.
Has the employability team helped you plan for life beyond NTU?
Yes definitely, it has pushed me to start applying for things earlier than I initially planned to, so hopefully when I leave NTU I will have secured a job. It has also made me think about the transferrable skills I have from my previous employment and how I can use that to my advantage. I think it’s given me the confidence to continue the job hunt after my time at NTU and approach brands with speculative applications.